24 ¶ There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise: 25 The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer; 26 The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks; 27 The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands; 28 The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings’ palaces.
One of the things about these verses that I like is how the writer calls the ants a people and the conies (some say this is a rabbit, some say it’s a mouse of some type) are a folk. In any event, these four creatures are very small and physically weak in comparison to larger animals but they do amazing things.
They are, in order, wise, industrious, organized, and pervasive.
29 ¶ There be three things which go well, yea, four are comely in going: 30 A lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any; 31 A greyhound; an he goat also; and a king, against whom there is no rising up.
In these comparisons are found strength, speed, and agility, with finally the key to these comparisons being found by the mentioning of a king at the very end. All of these traits are then the ideal traits of a human king; wisdom, industriousness, organization, having his agents everywhere, with strength, speed of action, and ability to change direction at a moment’s notice. In Niccolo Machiavelli’s classic work, The Prince, he talks about how a successful ruler must think quickly and be flexible.
A ruler is also called to be a judge and at times in history has had to deliver his people from a great danger. Notice how these positions are all defined and linked in these verses.
Exodus 2:14 And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known.
Notice that a prince is a judge in the way the Bible is laid out for understanding. Now, when the martyr, Stephen, quotes this verse in Acts, ruler is substituted for prince, showing these are synonyms or having similar or like meanings. The concepts are then further explained by simple word substitutions. This happens all through the Bible.
Acts 7:35 This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush.
In this verse the parallels; ruler and judge, then ruler and deliverer, are made. Ruler is the hinge on which the self defining qualities of this verse are evident. A ruler is a judge, which explains the Book of Judges’ secondary characters (the main character is Christ, the physical image of God, acting on the Godhead’s behalf). A ruler is also a deliverer, which also helps explain that Book. So, the Judges were rulers and deliverers of their people, which is also evident by reading the book.
In the Law of Moses there were conditions for a king’s rule laid out;
Deuteronomy14 ¶ When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; 15 Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother. 16 But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way. 17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. 18 And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: 20 That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.
In 2nd Samuel we find a further qualification;
2Samuel 23:3 The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.
Even a casual reading of the Old Testament can show you just how the kings of Israel and Judah failed to live up to those qualifications.
In the Bible we find the three branches of our government; the judicial, the legislative, and the executive;
Isaiah 33:22 For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.
By what criteria do you judge the person you would elect as chief executive of your own country? And is there any way to even judge a modern, secular government office with the theocracy of the Hebrew Kingdom of the Old Testament?
What about you, men and women, as the rulers of your families? Do you share the qualifications for kingship as co-heirs in the grace of life?
1Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
What about your standing with each other?
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
Or is one of you a petty tyrant (and that can be either male or female?) These character traits of a ruler can easily be applied to Christian parenting, much more easily than they can be applied to a secular elected president. What kind of a leader are you in your home? We tend to try to put off the standards of God to people as far away from us as we can get, to our political leaders or to some person in prophecy, but all I am asking you to do is to apply them to yourselves and see where you stand in the order of things. Consider it, please.