Wise Badgers, Locusts, and Lizards
“The rock badgers are a people not mighty, yet they make their homes in the cliffs; the locusts have no king, yet all of them march in rank; the lizard you can take in your hands, yet it is in kings’ palaces.”- Proverbs 30:26–28
Besides the ant, there are other creatures that fall into the category of small but “exceedingly wise,” namely, the rock badger, the locust, and the lizard (Prov. 30:24–28). As we look to these three animals, we can discern lessons that will enable us to succeed in everyday life as well as in our service to God and His kingdom.
Rock badgers (v. 26) are small creatures about the size of a hare. They live among the rocks surrounding the Dead Sea and in other rocky locales in Palestine and Syria. God has specially designed them for this habitat. Ordinarily, their small size would make them quite vulnerable to predators, but their clawed, almost weblike feet and footpads enable them to scurry about the rocks with ease, hiding in holes and small caves that are inaccessible to larger creatures that might want to make these badgers their food. Since the Bible often compares God to a rock for His people (for example, Deut. 32:24), the lesson seems to be that the only shelter we can find from our enemies is in the Lord Himself. In light of the great obstacles we face in the world, the flesh, and the devil, we are exposed and defenseless if we rely on ourselves. Yet if we take shelter in the Rock who is higher than we are (Ps. 61:2), we will find protection from all that seeks to destroy us.
Locusts (Eccl. 10:27) can form vast swarms that wreak incredible havoc and destruction in a matter of minutes. Such a feat is incredible when, according to the naked eye at least, we cannot find a king or other leader among these insects. Clearly, each individual locust knows its place and is content to do the task for which it was created. Such discipline prevents jockeying over position that would make the formation of locust swarms impossible. The parallel lesson for us is to be content with where the Lord has placed us and to avoid the jealousy of other people’s gifts and positions that can cause destruction (James 3:16). After all, if the locusts can be so successful because they are happy to be where God has placed them and they have no king, how much more successful will we be under the kingship of Christ if we are content where we are?
Lizards (Eccl. 10:28) are reptiles so small that we can easily hold them in our hands, yet their ability to stick to walls means that no place is off limits to them, not even the king’s palace. Those who live by God’s wisdom will go far in life, and those who trust in Christ, who is the wisdom of God, will dwell in the Lord’s heavenly palace forever (Eph. 2:6; Col. 3:1).
The various creatures described in Proverbs 30:24–28 drive home the point that if we are content with where God has placed us and are happy to be under His leadership, we will enjoy success both now and in the life to come. Indeed, it can be hard to remain content, but the Lord has given us His Spirit to help us and to prepare us for any task to which He has called us. Let us be content to serve Him where we are and under His all-wise lordship.
Passages for Further Study