Deuteronomy 7:20 “Moreover, the Lord your God will send the hornet among them until even the survivors who hide from you have perished.”
Hornets. They sting. No one likes them. Most people try to avoid them. Hornet hunting…not a favorite pastime of anyone. Yet, here we find these wicked wasps in the book of Deuteronomy as instruments used by God to help Israel.
God promised the Israelites he would deliver them from all the enemies they encountered in the Promised Land. The seven nations inhabiting the land, although “larger and stronger,” did not stand a chance because God would give his people the ability to drive them out, destroy their gods and wipe their names off the face of the earth (Deuteronomy 7:23-25). Anyone today talking about the Hittites, Girgashites, or Amorites? God kept his promise.
For those who tried to escape Israel’s wrath by hiding….God would send hornets to surface them from every cleft and cave in Canaan. Once exposed, Israel could and would take them down.
But today I’m thinking of other kinds of enemies, other kinds of hornets. The Psalmist said, “Forgive my hidden faults” (Psalm 19:12). We are human, fallen people. Christians are redeemed human, fallen people. Weaknesses, faults and sins lay buried sometimes so far below the surface we don’t even detect them. Yet, they have a profound effect on keeping us from walking in the full victory of the Lord. Hidden enemies…prideful-ites, selfish-ites, begrudging-ites, jealous-ites…must be rooted out before they can be destroyed.
So sometimes God sends in the hornets.
I’m sure you’ve encountered them. You’re feeling pretty good about yourself, then someone treats you disrespectfully. It stings as painfully as those hornets in the Judean desert. But what surfaces in our reaction can be even more painful. Self-righteousness? Anger? Condemnation of the contempt with our own cache of the very same thing? We have the opportunity to welcome the hornets for revealing our hidden enemies or wallow in the pain.
Make no mistake. We need help to root out the enemies of our souls. Don’t be surprised when God sends hornets in the form of husbands, wives, sons, daughters or friends as well as the person who cuts in front of us in the passing lane.
When those hornets come, don’t try to squish them. They may just make it possible for you to enter the Promised Land.