Lizards, Spiders, and Wisdom

Brent Niedergall, July 9, 2021
Lizards, Spiders, and Wisdom

Which of these intruders would generate more of a ruckus in your home: a lizard or a spider? The Book of Proverbs asks us to imagine one of these critters in a king’s home—his palace. And Proverbs doesn’t stop there. It asks us to go even further and envision one of these creatures in our own hands! Depending on your feelings towards lizards or spiders, the thought of holding one of them in your hands might be enough to make you cringe. But Agur, son of Jakeh, the human author God used to pen a portion of Proverbs, wants to use this picture for good when he teaches us in Proverbs 30:28 how we can learn from one of these small, yet wise, creatures.

After using ants, rock badgers, and locusts as object lessons, Agur offers one more by writing “the lizard you can take in your hands, yet it is in kings' palaces.” Up until this point, I’ve been waffling on the identity of this creature that appears only here in the Bible. And I’m not the only one. Depending on which English version you read, your Bible might say “spider.” Or it might say “lizard.” If on the off chance you were reading the ancient Aramaic version of this verse, you would find the Aramaic word for “spider.”And if you were reading in ancient Greek or Latin, you would see the equivalent word for “lizard.” Today, modern sources across the board seem to be fairly confident that the underlying Hebrew word semamith means lizard.


Either way, the principle from God’s Word remains the same. A small and vulnerable creature, be it a lizard or spider, can enjoy a flourishing existence through the proper exercise of wisdom. Wise living brings blessing. And the purpose of our Wise Up: Wisdom in Proverbs study is to teach students, vulnerable humans living in a sinful world, how they can enjoy spiritual flourishing through the proper exercise of wisdom.

Written for grades six through eight, this 35-week study teaches that blessing and success refer to contentment over pleasing God and not worldly pleasure. Among other topics dealing with wisdom, students will also study how God has ordained a pattern of promises, principles, proving, and provision for His children. The Lord makes promises to His people who follow His principles. At times, He proves or tests us along the way, but He always provides His blessing.


Scripture does not require us to invite lizards (or spiders) into our home. Nor does it ask us to hold them in our hands. It does charge us to learn wisdom from them. Choosing between foolishness and wisdom has real-life implications. That’s why this helpful curriculum covers practical topics like friendship, finance, work ethic, and speech. Like the unwary critter who fails to exercise caution, the Christian who chooses foolishness over wisdom flirts with the danger of getting caught in unwelcome consequences. But the Christian who chooses to walk on the path of righteousness honors God and finds true satisfaction. Consider using Wise Up: Wisdom in Proverbs to impact the lives of your students with the Word of God.

Wise Up
Grades 6–8
Wise Up
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