Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise: Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer; conies are creatures of little power, yet they make their home in the crags; locusts have no king, yet they advance together in ranks; a lizard can be caught with the hand, yet it is found in kings’ palaces. (Proverbs 30:24-28)
Lizards Are Persistent and Persevering
The Hebrew word for this animal is semamith which the King James translated as spider. Newer translations use lizard and I follow them. One Hebrew dictionary says “gecko.” These little creatures can move fast and get into all kinds of strange places—your shoes, your clean coffee cups, your car. They go almost anywhere they want and some change color to fit their environment.
Verse 28 says, “A lizard can be caught (and crushed) with the hand.” They can be stomped on with your foot or killed with a fly swatter, so that makes the gecko vulnerable. They are not fearsome like bigger reptiles—crocodiles, alligators, or gila monsters. The gecko is almost defenseless except for their speed. They can get into king’s palaces, fancy hotels, offices, and homes where the rest of us can’t enter. The gecko is not easily discouraged. It just keeps at it. When it seems to be locked out, it gets in somehow someway. It is small, unrelenting, enduring, never giving up. That’s the point.
Jesus Call Us to Endurance
Proverbs 24:16 says, “The godly may trip seven times, but they will [with the Lord’s help] get up again.”1 Christ says through James, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”2 And seven times in Revelation, Christ promises blessing in Heaven to all His followers who overcome obstacles, by His grace.3 Here is just one of them, “To the one who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on His throne. Whoever has ear, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.4 God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit guarantee to get us to Heaven and urges and enables us to press on in faithfulness to Him.
A Modern Example
The lizard here in Proverbs 30 reminds me of Emma Gray who died in 2009, at age 95.5 For 24 years she was the woman who cleaned the office of the President of the USA. She served six presidents until she retired in 1979. Emma Gray was a devout Christian and prayed over the President’s chair each time she dusted it. She prayed for God’s blessing, wisdom, and safety for our presidents. Emma reminds me of 2 Chronicles 7:14:
If my people, who are called by my name, Will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, Then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
Emma Gray was born in 1914 in South Carolina and raised by her grandfather, who had been a slave and was sold three times. But Emma didn’t dwell on the sad aspects of her past. By God’s grace, she was an over-comer. She looked at life through the lens of God’s word and Jesus’ promises. She didn’t pity herself, but always found reasons to be happy in Christ. She had a way of boosting the spirits of everyone and set the tone for her environment. Emma was committed to following the Lord and everyone in the White House knew exactly what she believed. She was like Paul the apostle who made it clear throughout the whole Roman prison and to everyone else that he was committed to Christ.6
Proverbs 30:28 says, “A lizard can be caught with the hand, yet it is found in kings’ palaces.” Emma Gray got into the Oval Office at the White House by being the cleaning lady. And she used that opportunity to pray for presidents and tell the staff of God’s goodness. Who knows how much good was done by this little lady? Who knows how much worse it would have been without Emma Gray interceding?
What about us, beloved? Will we be cheerful, persistent, and persevering in serving Christ where He has placed us? Will we overcome obstacles and inconveniences to shine for Jesus in this warped and crooked generation?
Prayer: Lord, make your light to shine through us to others, that they may see our good deeds and glorify you, our Father in Heaven. Help us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Use us like you used Emma Gray. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.7
Notes (various translations): 1 My added words reflect the theology of Job 5:19; Psalm 34:19, 37:24, 63:8 and many other passages which teach that we recover only because God rescues us. 2 James 1:12. 3 Revelation 2:7,11,17, 26-29; 3:5-6,12-13,21-22. 4 Revelation 3:21-22. 5 See Obituaries, Washington Post, June 22, 2009 by Patricia Sullivan. 6 Philippians 1:13. 7 Prayer based on Matt 5:16; Gal 6:9.