Children’s books often entertain and educate young readers with stories and illustrations of animals. Sometimes the animals depicted are realistic in appearance and the lesson or message is made with the circumstances and surroundings. In others the animals are cartoonish, having human like characteristics. Anthropomorphism—attributing human characteristics to animals—is very popular. As a result, there is a generation of young adults that have very unrealistic attitudes toward animals and their place in the food chain and social order.
People love their pets, and many spend a lot of money to acquire them and to maintain them with food, veterinary care and exercise. Farmers and ranchers carefully tend and keep the valuable livestock that is so important to their livelihood.
As a part of the incredibly intricate Creation, we can learn lessons from all of these animals, and even insects. For example, consider the lowly ant. This insect is used by Solomon as an illustration of wisdom by being industrious and gathering food for survival. “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise, which, having no captain, overseer or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep—So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man” (Proverbs 6:6–11). The lesson is very plain. We should work hard and provide for the future. The Apostle Paul put it this way, referring to able bodied people: “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10).
Later in the Book of Proverbs, we find these colorful observations from which we can learn life lessons:
“There are four things which are little on the earth, but they are exceedingly wise:
The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their food in the summer;
The rock badgers are a feeble folk, yet they make their homes in the crags;
The locusts have no king, yet they all advance in ranks;
The spider (or lizard) skillfully grasps with its hands, and it is in kings’ palaces.
There are three things which are majestic in pace, yes, four which are stately in walk:
A lion, which is mighty among beasts and does not turn away from any;
A greyhound, a male goat also, and a king whose troops are with him”
While these verses may seem to simply be folksy sayings, they contain valuable lessons for mankind.
Again, we see that the ant is shown to be a good example of industriousness and planning. The rock badger or hyrax is a small furbearing mammal that dwells safely in places that predators can’t reach. Locusts illustrate how something small and insignificant can be formidable when highly organized in its movement. The spider (or lizard) dwells unnoticed in kings’ palaces, showing that rulers aren’t aware of everything that goes on in their domicile. And then we have the description of animals known to project a dominate, fearless, strutting demeanor, like a king confidently backed by his army.
While mankind has intellect and free moral agency to determine a course of action, whether good or bad, God uses the animals and insects, which are guided by instinct, to teach us by observation principles of wisdom and insights into why things happen as they do.
The closer we examine the Creation the more obvious it becomes that there is a great God who has a plan for all mankind, and He uses physical the attributes and characteristics of the Creation to reveal Himself and His truth.
If you want to know more about what the Bible reveals on many important subjects, we recommend ordering the free booklet The Bible: Fact or Fiction. For a more in depth study, our 24 lesson Bible Study Course is available in print or on line at www.lcg.org.