When we lived in March, Cambridgeshire, one of the places we visited with the children was the Butterfly Park in Long Sutton. There was a room there where they had thousands of ants. They were housed in a bog box with Perspex sides, so visitors could observe the antics of the ants. But the interesting thing was that they had connected to the top of the box a series of ropes. On the other side of the room there was another enclosure full of a special type of leaf. The ants weren’t the common ant we have in our gardens, and sometimes in our homes (Oh no!!), they were much larger, each one probably about 15mm long. There was one route for them from their nest to the leaf enclosure, but a lot of possible dead ends! And the ants nest just had to have these leaves! Every few minutes an ant would leave the nest and start the long journey (for him) to the leaves. He would take the correct route, despite all the possible wrong ones, and eventually arrive at the leaf store. He would then cut himself a piece of leaf about a square cm in size, and proceed to find this route carrying his leaf back to the nest. And he had to pass other ants travelling in the opposite direction, before finally arriving back at the nest. Each ant knew exactly which route to take, when to leave, what to collect, how to carry his piece of leaf, and what to do with his piece of leaf when he got back. We could have reached up and touched the ant as he made his way along the ropes. He knew what he had to do, and was not distracted by us or by anything else. He could have taken another route altogether and escaped from the nest to make a new life for himself! But no, there was just one thing on his mind. He didn’t have a foreman telling him what to do, or inspecting his leaf when he arrived with it, or complaining about how long he had taken. Each ant knew his job and got on with it.
Isn’t God amazing to have designed such creatures to live together and achieve such unbelievable results? And the writer of the Proverbs chose to use the example of the ant to show to those who were a bit slow and reluctant to take up their responsibilities. It is a great example for us, is it not?
In Proverbs chapter six there are several paragraphs and the example of the ant is in the second paragraph, verses 6 to 11. “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider his ways and be wise …”
The first paragraph, verses 1 to 5, deals with unwise commitments. Do not be hasty in signing up to anything. On the internet, very often to get information or a service we have to ‘register’. Commit your details to the organisation. Be careful! If you do find yourself in a commitment which you discover is wrong, or could cause untold problems, get out of it honourably.
The third paragraph, verses 12 to 15, describes the character of a worthless or wicked man. Very interesting! “Calamity will come upon him suddenly!” (Verse 15).
What does Yahweh hate? You will out in verses 16 to 19.