Sermon: A Lizard In The King’s Palace Proverbs 20:24–28 -- By: Daniel I. Block
JBTM 13:2 (Fall 2016) p. 80
Sermon: A Lizard In The King’s Palace
24 Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise:
25 the ants are not a strong people, yet they store up their food in the summer;
26 hyraxes are not a mighty people, yet they make their homes in the cliffs;
27 locusts have no king, yet all of them march in ranks;
28 a lizard can be caught in your hands, yet it lives in kings’ palaces. (Prov 20:24–28, HCSB)
Some things in life do not make sense, but this can be for many reasons. Sometimes the senselessness arises because there is no apparent connection between cause and effect. We have a saying for this: “There is no rhyme or reason” to account for the phenomenon. Sometimes things don’t make sense because they are incongruent; an element in a picture does not belong. You see, life is supposed to be regular, ordered, predictable. If an element is inserted into the picture that does not belong we are disturbed, puzzled, amused, or stimulated. Just before I sat down to write this sermon, what made the television news in Chicago was a pizza squirrel.1 Responding to a previous report of a rat in New York that had carried off a slice of pizza, we saw images of this squirrel up in the tree eating his loot. There is something wrong with this picture: pizza is human food; pizza is not eaten up in the tree in the middle of apartment blocks; pizza is not actually healthy for humans or squirrels. How did this happen?
The Chicago Pizza Squirrel
When I was an undergraduate I took an introductory course on Physical Geography. Here I learned a new word: erratic. We often use this word of behavior that deviates from the normal, or of people who are eccentric. In geology the word is used of a boulder or rock that a glacier picks up and transports often hundreds of miles and deposits in an area where it stands out from the native bedrock. It does not take a rocket scientist or even a rock geologist to notice that there is something odd about this picture. And that is also the
JBTM 13:2 (Fall 2016) p. 81
case with Prov 30:28: “A lizard can be caught in your hands, yet it lives in kings’ palaces.”
How Do Proverbs Like This Work?
I have an idea that the biblical author who penned Pro...
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