Hornets, wasps, yellow jackets – they are all related, and all BAD. We don’t like to think we are making a home for these creatures. But hornets of various kinds come uninvited, and build elaborate nests for their families, often in obscure, hidden places. Like among the branches of a large tree. This was the experience of one of our members, and right now many Americans on the West Coast are worried about giant “murder hornets” from Asia invading the American landscape.
The Asian giant hornet is the world’s largest known hornet, measuring 1.6 to 2 inches long, with a particularly large yellow-orange head. Bee keepers especially are worried, and watching, because these giant hornets can quickly decimate a whole hive of healthy honey bees, and take the baby bees or larvae to feed their own young.
But regular hornets are bad enough. Only an inch long, but that is enough. A few weeks ago, Brother Steve took a picture of a hornet nest in a tree near his house. It was a case of Hidden Hornets REVEALED. While the leaves were on the tree, no one knew they were there. But after the wind and rain brought the leaves down, their carefully concealed paper nest was no longer hidden.
These common bald-faced hornets have special skills. They construct a paper-covered nest by chewing up pieces of wood, mixing it with their saliva and turning it into a papier-mâché structure that they attach to a limb. Notice also the tight closure at the top of it.
Not good residents. Nothing good about them. Treacherous. Unfriendly. And no changing their nature!
What do you do when you see a nest? The best advice from the experts is: “Social distance”—stay away! Let them have their space. If you threaten their nest, hornets can bolt out the bottom opening like rapid machine-gun fire headed toward what they consider to be the source of the problem. It could be you if you happen to be nearby.
They sting when they get angry. And once isn’t enough. Unlike a honey bee that will sting and then die, hornets and wasps can sting, and sting, and sting again.
Brother Steve says he was stung on the lip by an angry hornet after his neighbor touched the branch the nest was attached to.
Hornets have their day and are gone. The wind has largely dismantled this nest. Survivors? Among the bald-faced hornets, the males all die. But the young new queens will winter in protected areas under tree bark or even under the siding on our houses, or inside if they can find an opening in.
Come spring, they will be out, building new nests to start new hives.
Isn’t it an illustration of the evils around us, even IN us? Yes, evil is persistent!
Can you see the lessons for us?The Psalmist had his own enemies, not hornets but the same nature. He said,
Psalm 57:4 4My soul is among lions; I lie among the sons of men Who are set on fire, Whose teeth are spears and arrows, And their tongue a sharp sword.
Not friendly. Not any you want to trust. These enemies are not named, but Saul was among them, with a jealous nature at the animal instinct level.
Remember what caused it?
1 Samuel 18:5–9 5So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and behaved wisely. And Saul set him over the men of war, and he was accepted in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants. 6Now it had happened as they were coming home, when David was returning from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women had come out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with joy, and with musical instruments. 7So the women sang as they danced, and said: “Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands.”
Young David hadn’t touched Saul’s “nest,” but Saul’s jealousy was aroused when the people praised David above him. Saul’s response? Truly hornet-like.
8Then Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him; and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed only thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom?” 9So Saul eyed David from that day forward.
A vicious hornet, ready for hot pursuit of David, ready to sting, even to death if God had allowed it.
David continued to run into hornets (his enemies). He prayed:
Psalm 69:18 18Draw near to my soul, and redeem it; Deliver me because of my enemies.
David trusted God to be His protector.
Psalm 143:9 9Deliver me, O Lord, from my enemies; In You I take shelter.
The prophets often encountered hornets, angered because they did not want to hear the word of the Lord—which they were pledged to proclaim. Jeremiah had enemies. He said,
Lamentations 3:52 52My enemies without cause Hunted me down like a bird.
Also Ezekiel. And he was told to speak, even if it made the people furious.
Ezekiel 2:5 5As for them, whether they hear or whether they refuse—for they are a rebellious house—yet they will know that a prophet has been among them.
We do not have enemies like David and Jeremiah and Ezekiel had, but we can avoid a lot of grief by keeping our distance from evil and its corrupting influences. It is not always possible, but the nearer we stay to anything or anyone who dishonors God, the more likely we are to get “stung.”
What are some of the Scripture reports? What did Hosea say about Ephraim?
Hosea 7:8 8“Ephraim has mixed himself among the peoples; Ephraim is a cake unturned.
Mixing among the people would pull him down. We know the Proverb advice against mingling.
Proverbs 4:14–15 14Do not enter the path of the wicked, And do not walk in the way of evil. 15Avoid it, do not travel on it; Turn away from it and pass on.
What is the real danger of mingling? We can pick up that “hornet” spirit, that “hornet” nature.
Proverbs 22:24–25 24Make no friendship with an angry man, And with a furious man do not go, 25Lest you learn his ways And set a snare for your soul.
Social distancing is safer! The danger of associating? “Lest you learn his ways, and set a snare for YOUR soul.”
We disregard the effects of influence at our own peril!
Joseph avoided the hornet influence by keeping separate. What was said about him?
Deuteronomy 33:16 …Let the blessing come ‘on the head of Joseph, And on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers.’
When we think about the account of his life, we can see where this principle governed him, even when he was very young. We might not expect the vengeance of his brothers, but didn’t they very soon show themselves to be hornets in nature? Joseph kept separate—likely why his father favored him.
People do not always respond positively to us when we separate. They think we are being strange, superior, or unfriendly. They do not realize we are committed to a higher loyalty.
Because Joseph set himself apart from them, they were jealous of him, and what is the character of jealousy?
Song of Solomon 8:6 6…Jealousy as cruel as the grave; Its flames are flames of fire, A most vehement flame.
Jealousy breeds the “hornet” nature.
The hornets (Joseph’s brothers) STUNG. Seriously. Repeatedly. How could they be so cruel as to throw him into the pit when he displeased them—actually because he went on an errand for their father?
Why would they turn their brother over to merchants who would take him to Egypt and sell him as a slave on the market there? What dreadful hornet nature, and all because he separated from them, because he would not join in with their wicked ways. They had that hornet nature: Retaliate! Give him the worst of it!
And they did.
Even then, Joseph did not turn on them, or accuse them, or become like them. Joseph kept entirely away from the hornet behavior. When he saw them years later, he even forgave them!
Keeping separate is a clear command from Paul..
2 Corinthians 6:17–18 Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean,
For what benefit?
And I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
There are plenty of hornets in our world today, people who have no appreciation for God, or goodness, or virtue. If we get too close to them, they will sting. Good reason for separating. Good reason for “social distancing.” We don’t want their furor, and we don’t want their end.
But the hornets and their nests are short term. What is the prophecy in Revelation about the end of Babylon (our world today) and its nests of hornets?
Revelation 18:4–5 4And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. 5For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.
Get too close, disturb their nest, and we are sure to get stung. And when they are swept away, we will go with them.
God will have the last word with the hornets. Jeremiah had the same verdict from God, and the same command to keep away!
Jeremiah 51:6 6Flee from the midst of Babylon, And every one save his life! Do not be cut off in her iniquity, For this is the time of the Lord’s vengeance; He shall recompense her.
Now the hornets can hide, among the leaves and branches of a broad tree world-cover, a world which includes them and sometimes even “likes” them?
But what a wonderful promise that soon God will take action against the evil. Their hiding place will be swept away. Isaiah predicts their end in a different simile, but the result is the same. The hornets and their nests will be GONE!
Isaiah 28:15, 17 15Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death, And with Sheol we are in agreement. When the overflowing scourge passes through, It will not come to us, For we have made lies our refuge, And under falsehood we have hidden ourselves.” 17…I will make justice the measuring line, And righteousness the plummet; The hail will sweep away the refuge of lies, And the waters will overflow the hiding place.
The hornet nests will be gone. Nothing will remain to hurt or destroy. No evil for that new world God has designed. The promise is:
Isaiah 11:9 9They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord As the waters cover the sea.
No more hornets, no more sting.
Let’s be sure we get rid of all the hornet traits in our hearts, so we will not be taken away with the hornets!