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Whoever truly fears God has no legitimate reason to ever fear anybody or anything else

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Ron McMullanI don't much like insects, especially those who eat my garden, like grasshoppers and their evil cousins (aphids, whitefly, etc.). I really dislike those insects that try to eat me when I'm working in the garden, like hornets and their evil cousins (wasps, bumblebees, fire ants, etc.).

You may be wondering by now what my views on entomology have to do with the Bible. In Deuteronomy 7:17-21, Moses is writing to encourage the children of Israel, after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness of the Sinai Peninsula, to go in and occupy the land that God had promised to Abraham more than 400 years earlier. He is concerned that they might believe this is an impossible task, since the land was already occupied by various Canaanite tribes. He encourages them not to be afraid but to remember well what God did to Pharaoh in Egypt. He reminds them of the great signs and wonders, which were the source of their deliverance. Curiously, three of the 10 plagues in Egypt involved insects: plague #3, lice; #4, flies; and #8, locusts. He then gives a final word of encouragement by saying that He will send "the hornet" before them as they go into the land of promise. The omnipotent God Who created the universe deigned to use insects to secure the release of His people from Egypt and another insect to ease their entrance into the Promised Land.

However, insects had already played a significant role in this drama. Rewind 40 years. A different generation of Israelites was standing in the same place, waiting to conquer the Promised Land. God instructed Moses to send a group of men to spy out the land in order to develop the best plan for conquest. Unfortunately, like many committees after them, they mistook their responsibilities. Some wit once said, "A camel is a horse put together by a committee." This committee did an excellent job of spying out the land. They brought back with them a single cluster of grapes so large that it required two men to carry it between them on a pole. They brought back figs and pomegranates. They reported that the land was flowing with milk and honey, but then they shifted gears in their report. Here things got dicey. By the time they had described the fortified cities and the "giants" they had seen, they had entirely reversed their view about the land itself, and said that it was a land "that devours its inhabitants." You really can't have it both ways. The land can't produce giants and devour its inhabitants at the same time. What had really happened is that their fear had begun to speak. By the time they finished talking, they had thoroughly discouraged their brothers by saying, "We were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight." The only thing that was actually true in that statement was that they were like grasshoppers in their own eyes. In reality, the Canaanites were terrified of them (Joshua 2:11). Joshua and Caleb were dissenting voices of faith, but their voices fell on deaf ears. How many times have we as believers failed to obey God because of "grasshoppers of unbelief"? Often those grasshoppers are only figments of our unbelieving imagination. Whoever truly fears God has no legitimate reason to ever fear anybody or anything else.

Have any rivers you think after uncrossable?

Have any mountains you can't tunnel through?

God specializes in things thought impossible.

He does the things others cannot do.

The children of Israel got the promise of the literal insect. For the child of God who rejects the grasshoppers of unbelief, and walks in faith and not by sight, God sends the hornet of His Presence, His Power, and His Peace. If you need any more encouragement to obey God in a hard situation, go online and read or listen to "The Hornet Song."

May God give grace to all who trust His words and seek to obey them.

Ron McMullan is the pastor at Prineville Bible Church. He can be reached at 541-233-6268.

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