Once again they have taken over my kitchen. I spray, but they merely change route and continue their work. Hard as it may seem, these tenacious little creatures are not driven by the single purpose of trying to drive me crazy, but rather providing a storehouse for their future. Once again, God takes a moment to make a point. This time it is an important illustration He makes in Proverbs.
Go to the ant, you sluggard; observe its ways and be wise!
It has no commander, overseer, or ruler, yet it prepares its food in the summer;
it gathers at the harvest what it will eat.
Proverbs 6:6-8 NLT
Sluggard? Ouch! That part hurts a little. I must admit I have spent more than my fair share of time watching House Hunters International, Say Yes to the Dress and Chopped. And aside from Chopped (I pick up some good cooking techniques there.) I must admit that although entertaining, there is not much information useful to an already married, rooted in California woman found in these programs.
As I looked farther into the passage, I found the actual word prepares is the Hebrew word kuwn, which means ‘be established, be secure, be enduring’. That takes the little ant’s activity to another level. The single-minded activity these animals have is impressive. Their focus is really like no other, and it has all to do with what the definition states: keeping the colony established and secure, allowing it to endure in the future.
So, how does a study on ants apply to the human condition? Since we know the author of Proverbs 6 is speaking to us, we should pay attention. If we take time to read through this chapter, we see the very next statement he makes is “How long, you sluggard, will you lie there? When will you arise from your sleep?” [Proverbs 6:9] How long do we to plan to put off the things we need to do in order to endure whatever the future holds? But what should we do to prepare? It all comes down to storing up large amounts of God’s word in our heart.
This reminds me of when my mother would preserve all of the extra fruit from our backyard orchard. The kitchen smelled delicious as she stirred steamy pots of goodness. Jars, filled with beautiful color, lined the counter before she was finished. They would eventually find themselves tucked away in the pantry. It was a very beautiful sight to see those jars waiting for a time when we wanted something sweet with our meal.
God’s word is that something sweet we need when we’ve been served up a healthy portion of discouragement and disappointment found in life. When times are hard, it is good to be able to go to the storehouse and find that God has already given you hope and strength through His promises and instructions. Proverbs 6:21 tells us to bind His word to our hearts continually, because—
When you walk about, they will guide you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; when you wake up, they will talk to you. For the commandments are like a lamp, instruction is like a light, and rebukes of discipline are like the road leading to life. . .
So, consider the ant that doesn’t take NO for an answer. Practice the ways of the enduring little creature and let nothing get in the way of storing up the Bible and its wisdom.
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.