Ants, Palms and Thrones

04/14/2011

 

Ants

 

The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer Prov 30:25 KJV

 God was playing with the thermostat the other day--after a seemingly endless succession of cool, dreary days, He parted the clouds and turned the dial to eighty degrees. Plants seemed to grow as you watched them and people streamed out of their houses like schoolchildren at recess. Yard work provided a pleasant change of pace from snow shoveling and the unseasonably hot day felt like a gift. All seemed right with the world.

Then I looked down and noticed that a furious ant battle was raging on the curb. As a child, I was always fascinated by these fights and would watch them for long periods of time since there were only five TV channels and no internet back then.   Two similar but easily-distinguishable kinds of ants were always going at it. I named one of the them “Victorians” and the other “Abdomenians.” (Hey, I never said I had a particularly interesting childhood!)

 The Victorians earned their name because they always won. They seemed to outnumber their opponents by a considerable margin every time. The Abdomenians were so named because they were smaller through the head and thorax but had larger abdomens. Since all the fighting seemed to involve pinchers, I always assumed that this latter group was hampered in battle by their bodily construction. Whatever the case, it was like the Harlem Globetrotters vs. the Washington Generals—the outcome was never in doubt.

 A beautiful, rejuvenating sunny day to me was a day of death and woe to the Washington Generals of the ant kingdom. Every day is like that, really—joy and triumph for some and pain and loss for others. How often are we bursting with good news that we just have to share and then realize that the recipient of our burst is bravely just trying to get through a terrible day?

 Palm Sunday approaches and, to be honest, the account from the Gospel of Luke feels a little like that. I picture Jesus enjoying the cries of “Blessed in the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” and “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” When the Pharisees call for quiet, I love Jesus' response: “I tell you if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” (Luke 19:40) Creation itself welcomes the king and for a couple of seconds, all is right with the world.

 Then Jesus sees Jerusalem and weeps for its future. And I wonder how he felt accepting praises from the same people whom he knew would turn on him, reject him and abandon him. And then I think about Revelation 21:3,

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.”

 When God dwells with us there will be no wars raging at our feet, no Savior's tears turning to dust along the road to Jerusalem, no rape, abuse or hatred. This is the inheritance promised to God's people, who so often feel like Abdomenians—overwhelmed, constantly under attack and seemingly ill-suited to prevail in a hostile world. It is to them that God says:

“He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.” (Rev 21:7)

 Sounds pretty good to me.

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 When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

 “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!”[a]

“Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”

“I tell you,” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” – Luke 19:37-44

 

 

 

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There are 2 comments

Kent,Thank-you for the devotional. I like putting part of God's creation, ants, in as a lesson or story. I am always amazed how Jesus had just the right answer to all those who tried to stop his ministry of grace. Thank-you for the words of encouragement thru your writing. What a promise from Revelation!
Blessings to you.

Rich Bushong
April 16, 2011 - 13:26

What a fabulous reminder of that ridiculous week...highest praise, weeping, betrayal. But Sunday's on the way!

Deb
April 15, 2011 - 16:30
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