Monday, May 20, 2013

Proverbs 30:24-28, Little Things, Part IV

24 “Four things on earth are small,
    yet they are extremely wise:
25 Ants are creatures of little strength,
    yet they store up their food in the summer;
26 hyraxes are creatures of little power,
    yet they make their home in the crags;
27 locusts have no king,
    yet they advance together in ranks;
28 a lizard can be caught with the hand,
    yet it is found in kings’ palaces.

The next "little thing" is a bit of a mystery . . . some translations call it a hyrax, some call it a coney.

The best I can tell from studying this, is that the early English translators knew about conies, which are also called rock rabbits. They probably thought they had it correct, since the verse mentions that they make their home in the "crags" which are rocky places. Hyraxes are tiny hoofed mammals -- they have short bodies and plump heads, and they live in groups among the rocks. They are active during the day  (except for their cousins the tree hyraxes, which are nocturnal in habit) and are vegetarians in their diet. 
They are not very powerful; they are not very strong. They survive by knowing where to take refuge -- they live among the rocks and burrow into them when a predator comes looking for them. In order to get at them, you need to knock down a mountain of rocks!
You can see from the picture that the hyrax is a cute, soft, cuddly-looking animal. But what makes them so attractive, also makes them vulnerable. There's that issue of them not being powerful or strong, right?
We Christians are sometimes weakest at our strong points, too. Let's look at some examples:
You can speak well in groups. Now, that is indeed a gift, but it can be a problem, too, if your mouth gets you into trouble! Perhaps promising more than you can deliver is your Achilles heel. Or perhaps talking more than you are listening to others is your downfall.
Our best attribute can be our biggest liability.
Let's look at another example:
Do you have the gift of a wonderful memory? Super! Nice thing to have . . . except when it makes you unable to forget your shortcomings and sins -- or maybe those of someone else.
Do you have an outgoing personality? Wonderful! It's nice to be able to make others feel comfortable and valued, and to reach out to others in friendship . . . except when you get hurt easily, when someone rejects you.
Since the hyrax realizes its own weaknesses, it has an advantage. It knows instinctively that it must depend on something greater, larger than itself for safety and security. It goes to the rock!
Are we aware of our own weaknesses, as well as our strengths? What sins trouble us most often? What things get us off the path, and sidetracked from God's will? We need to depend on something greater, larger than ourselves for our safety and security . . . we need to go to the Rock!
Ps 62:6-7 He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.


Belinda said...

I think I can relate to the Hyrax. Even though I am basically shy, I have an outgoing personality. Seems like an oxymoron, but it is true. And I've had to run to the rocks for safety countless times to hide my hurt. I'm so thankful that The Rock is always there to cover me.

CATachresis said...

Wonderful post! Ps 61:2 "From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I."