I recall one hot summer afternoon when I was about 8 years old my dad, mom and me, went looking for some chokecherries so mom could make some chokecherry jam!
There were a few chokecherry trees not far from our property, so we took a couple of small buckets and off we went. We found a tree loaded with them, but the first few branches were high of the ground, so dad hoisted me up, then handed me the bucket, and I scurried up into the tree.
I was carefully plucking chokecherries, when suddenly; I felt a sting on the back of my neck, then another, and another! In a matter of seconds, I felt stung repeatedly!
I dropped the bucket and started yelling to dad as I made my descent as quickly as possible. When I got to the last branch, I jumped into dads arms and we ran away as fast as we could!
When we got home, mom attended to my stinging wounds; stung about a dozen times or more.
A hornets’ nest, tucked in the tree; unnoticed by us, and disturbed by my presence, the hornets attacked me!
Watch out for Hornets in the wild
I am so glad that my parents rushed me home and took care of my stinging wounds, applying pain-relieving ointments and cold cloths to the afflicted areas. I am sure the temptation was for my dad to knock down that hornet nest and make them “pay” for what they did to me.
The fact is, we have hornets in the wild, and when we get too close to their nests, they react. It is best to be a little more careful when investigating the great wilderness surrounding us, and when we locate a hornets’ nest, give it a wide berth.
It is an entirely different situation when the hornets decide to build near our home; we simply cannot permit it, so we take measures to ensure that does not happen. When we spy those aerial stinging insects, attempting to build a nest on our house, we knock it down and destroy it swiftly.
Furthermore, we remain diligent, keeping close watch, inspecting our homes and properties often, making sure they are safe from these stinging critters.
We are born with a fatal sting
While remembering this almost forgotten event from my childhood, it dawned on me, that we could make an important spiritual application from this story.
We know that, spiritually speaking, we are all born with a sting in our soul, a spiritually fatal sting; we know only one cure for this lethal condition, and that would be Jesus.
Jesus went to the Cross embracing every sting of every person; you could say on the Cross-, He was swarmed. The fierce stings of sin penetrated His flesh, burning deep.
Even after He had given up His Spirit to the Father, one last “sting” for good measure given, as they pierced His side! It was finished!
Of course, we know that the Father raised Jesus up; Praise God for that! The Bible now declares . . .
“Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?”
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
For those who have come to Christ Jesus, the “sting” of death, now erased, and all our “stings” forgiven; this is great news!
On a mission to remove the sting of death
Now, as followers of Jesus, we are on a mission to show people everywhere, how to get that “sting” of death out, and replaced with the River of Life!
Early in my Christian journey, as I wandered through our community, I noticed all these “hornet” nests established throughout our town; cults, bars, secret societies, and the like. I recall standing in front of these establishments praying against them, invoking the power of God to come and destroy these places of iniquity.
Almost every time I did this, I would feel swarmed by “demonic hornets” throughout the following week; some spiritual attacks were quite vicious and painful; I got the feeling the devil was out for blood!
I began to wonder what I was doing wrong, so I began to examine Jesus’ life and His tactics; and my eyes opened.
During the time of Jesus’ ministry, certainly one HUGE hornet nest, was the Roman Empire. The folks following Jesus, wanted Him to eradicate that nest; to tear it down and bring freedom, political freedom from the oppression everyone felt from that ungodly regime!
Jesus did not go to Rome, standing there praying against it; rather He went to people, offering to remove the “sting” of death from their heart. He knew advancing His Kingdom would happen, one heart at a time!
He focused on His mission; Isaiah 61:1-3
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
His mission has become our mission; we would do well to follow it!
Do not permit hornets to build in your house
Jesus did not go to the “hornet nests” in the wild; rather He left them alone. However, He would NOT tolerate the building of “hornet nests” in His household; He tore them down quickly, and so should we!
It is one thing to encounter a hornets’ nest in the wild, and another thing to discover one in your house. The ones we find in the wild, we avoid, and give wide berth to; the ones we find in our home, we quickly exterminate, so it is in the Kingdom of Christ!
When Jesus encountered the money-changers, Pharisees, and false teachers of the Law, doing business in His Father’s house, He let them have it, and called them out; even driving them out with a whip!
In light of these truths, I have decided to change my tactics a bit; rather than looking for spiritual hornet nests in the wild, and standing there shouting at them. I have decided to concentrate on identifying hornet nests inside the church (His Body) exposing and knocking them down!
I intend to be intentionally helping persons remove the sting of death in their soul; then warning them to stay away from known hornets nests in the wild.
Now, don’t get me wrong here, if the Holy Spirit directs me to stand in front of a hornet nest and shout at it; I will do so without hesitation, fully expecting that the nest will fall, just like the walls of Jericho fell when the Israelite army shouted at it!
Meanwhile . . . there are stings to remove, soothing salve to apply, a Kingdom to advance . . . one soul at a time!
Get your gear, let’s get at it!