Sunday, August 23, 2015

God's "hornet' help

Hornet - Photo from
TODAY'S SPECIAL: Joshua 24:1-18

" 'I sent the hornet ahead of you, which drove them out before you—also the two Amorite kings. You did not do it with your own sword and bow.' " Joshua 24:12

Near the end of his life Joshua assembles the whole nation and delivers a farewell speech. In it he builds a persuasive case for why the Israelites should choose to worship God alone.

He reminds them of how God has helped them from the beginning of their history as a nation. He:
- led Abraham and their forefathers - Joshua 24:3.
- grew Abraham's family - Joshua 24:4.
- performed miracles like sending the darkness that shielded them from the Egyptians when they crossed the Red Sea - Joshua 24:7.
- nullified the curses of Balaam - Joshua 24:9.
- intervened on their behalf with other nations - Joshua 24:12.

The ways God used to work on Israel's behalf internationally are interesting. Here we see that God "... sent the hornet ahead of you, which drove them out before you" - Joshua 24:12. My Bible's study notes explain: "This term ("the hornet") is used here to describe fear or panic" -Ronald Mehl, notes on Joshua, New Spirit-Filled Life Bible, p. 308.

Joshua was reflecting back on the promises God had made to Moses. Exodus 15:14-16 and Exodus 23:27,28 predict that God will intervene on their behalf with other nations.  Exodus 15 tells how the chiefs of Edom will become terrorized and seized with trembling. The populace will be non-resistant: "... the people of Canaan will melt away."

Exodus 23:27,28 introduces the hornet metaphor to describe how God will plant the fear of them in Canaanite nations, throw these peoples into confusion, infect them with cowardice, and drive them out of the land God has deeded to Israel.

Joshua asks these people—who have seen come to pass exactly what God promised as they conquered Canaanite nations—why would they want to worship any other God?

In our day we have no fewer competitors for our worship. We may not be tempted by actual pagan worship (or we may; I have heard a modern theologian say that one of the main belief systems in our postmodern world is paganism). However, the list of idols that draws us away from God is long. They may include:
  • Materialism - causing us to be obsessed with things.
  • Popularity - causing us to compromise beliefs that are politically incorrect.
  • Success - causing us to choose careers that will help us achieve worldly prestige instead of building God's kingdom.
  • Entertainment - causing us to choose the good, relaxing, enjoyable life instead of kingdom work.

What I find particularly encouraging here is how God helped tiny, insignificant, minority Israel became formidable. I believe He is still able to act on behalf of Christians—who are increasingly a minority in today's secular culture—achieving His ends by similarly sowing fear, confusion, non-resistance, and cowardice into enemy ranks.  

PRAYER: Dear God, may Joshua's challenge to serve You alone continue to ignite resolve in my heart to do just that. Amen.

Unless noted otherwise, all Scriptures quoted in this meditation are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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