Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Learning From Groups

Proverbs 30:18-33

“There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not: The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.  Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness.” (Proverbs 30:18-20)

Despite all his wisdom, there were some things Solomon couldn’t fully understand.  How can an eagle fly, just soaring on the wind currents with no apparent effort?  How can a snake move across a rock, climbing into seemingly impossible places with no legs or arms to propel them?  How can a ship loaded with hundreds of thousands of tons of cargo float?  Though we have scientific explanations today, they are still amazing.   Science can explain attraction between men and women as part of the evolutionary survival mechanism, but they cannot explain what happens when a person falls in love or the complex emotions that are involved. 

It is just as hard to understand how a person can claim to love another person and go out and cheat on them sexually and insist they haven’t done anything wrong or that their mate has no right to be upset.  People can maintain amazing levels of denial in the face of obvious guilt and  despite serious problems. 

“For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear: For a servant when he reigneth; and a fool when he is filled with meat; For an odious woman when she is married; and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress.” (Proverbs 30:21-23)

There are some things that result in people becoming unbearable.  A servant or slave who feels he has been taken advantage of often treats those who are under him even worse than he was treated, taking out his anger on innocent people.  A fool who has everything he wants may feel he has the solution to everyone else’s problems and try to force them to do things his way.  An obnoxious person has to pretend to be nice if they are to find a partner, but once they have the wedding, they no longer have to pretend and become even more obnoxious and abusive.

“There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise: The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer; The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks; The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands; The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces.” (Proverbs 30:24-27)

There are some little things most people never notice that have some important lessons to teach.  Though they are very small, ants are able to survive the winters in good shape because they work all summer getting ready.  Conies, marmots an rock squirrels are small and fairly defenseless and are sought as food by fierce predators.  They are able to survive because they make their dens among the rocks where the predators can’t easily get to them.   Alone locusts are easily caught by birds and other insect eaters.  In huge swarms, the birds and other predators can only kill a few, ensuring that many survive.  By careful planning and keeping out of sight, spiders are able to survive and thrive in even the most hostile environments where every effort is made to dislodge them.

“There be three things which go well, yea, four are comely in going: A lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any; A greyhound; an he goat also; and a king, against whom there is no rising up.” (Proverbs 30:29-31)

There are some things that are impressive to watch.  A lion walks confidently through the forest with no sign of fear or concern, making him an impressive sight.  A greyhound runs so fluidly and effortlessly that is is a joy to watch him run.  A mature goat is stately and magnificent to watch.  In the same way, a king who is confident that his followers support him has an easy assurance that less popular rulers can’t match.   He doesn’t have to worry about defending himself, nor does he take the offensive, believing the best defense is a good offence.

“If thou hast done foolishly in lifting up thyself, or if thou hast thought evil, lay thine hand upon thy mouth.” (Proverbs 30:32)

If you’ve bragged about knowing or doing something, or have thought evil thought s about somebody, put your hand over your mouth to keep it from saying things it shouldn’t and getting you into trouble.  Some things are better left unsaid.

“Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife.” (Proverbs 30:33)

Vigorous stirring and shaking of natural whole milk will eventually cause the particles of fat to clump together and produce butter.  Twisting somebody’s nose will eventually cause their nose to start bleeding.  In the same way, constantly doing things to irritate and annoy people will eventually result in them getting mad.  Don’t blame them for what you caused.

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