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Why Did God Create Wasps?
by Peter L. Meney
Why Did God Create Wasps?

And I sent the hornet before you, which drove them out from before you, even the two kings of the Amorites; but not with thy sword, nor with thy bow. - Joshua 24:12        

    At this time of the year, along with strawberries and ice-cream, picnics and barbeques, butterflies and the drone of honey-bees in blossom on a balmy summer evening, there comes a question: Why did God create wasps?

    If ever an insect could spoil an idyllic moment a wasp can. And that is outside! Inside the house or worse, the car, wasps must be dispatched with utmost haste. A wasp in a classroom or an office, or in a subway carriage can generate untold nervous energy. An appearance in a church service can spoil the finest sermon and distract the most attentive congregation.

    Why would God create such an insect? Bees serve a purpose, we use flies for varnish and ants even help us make clothes. The dragonfly enthrals us, the butterfly enchants us, but the wasp just makes us want to run away!

    And that may be the answer! Perhaps God made the wasp to scare us. There have been particular instances when the Lord has employed the humble wasp to great effect.

    In the book of Joshua for example, God deployed wasps, or hornets, to defeat not one but two kings and their armies. The Amorites were an accomplished and formidable foe. They lived in walled cities and planted olives and vines. They were ensconced for the duration. They prepared to defend themselves against Joshua with swordsmen and archers but in the event, not a blow was struck. While people sometimes wish they could rid the land of wasps, God sent wasps to rid the land of people.

    This amazing incident in the history of the Children of Israel demonstrates several things about our Lord who changes not. First, He is in control of all things, even the insects that fly! He tells them where to go, when to go and how many of their friends to take. It is worth pausing to reflect on this. We often comfort ourselves with the thought that God's hand of purpose is to be seen in the big events of our lives. We say that all things work together for good to those who love the Lord and are called by His purpose, yet intentionally or not, we rather overlook God's involvement with something so basic as a well targeted wasp. Yet, God often brings His will to pass in the simplest and most inconspicuous of ways (Cf. Exodus 8:21-23, Exodus 8:28).

    Another lesson to be learned is that God's care for His people may often occur without their involvement and perhaps even without their knowledge. We do not know if Joshua was aware of the Lord's hand in this matter as it occurred. Perhaps only years later was the providence of God revealed. This ought to teach us to be humble. We may think we have solved a problem or overcome a difficulty, but we cannot tell what arrangements are already in place to enable our accomplishment! Joshua may have credited himself with occupying an enemy stronghold on the basis that his fearsome reputation had gone before him - he did not take into account the plague of hornets that God sent through in the first wave.

    A third message here is this. What perplexity must have filled the minds of those Amorite kings as they saw first their people flee, then their army, and finally their royal household. What kind of fight was this? What tactics of war? Who was this God of Israel? Other kings in other times would also learn things about God's power as He whipped up the wind or threw down hailstones. Pharaoh learned some things during the plagues of Egypt. The people of this world with all their wisdom and sophistication imagine themselves to be able to pass judgement on God. Let them go to the king of the Amorites and learn what is his experience of Almighty God!

    I remember as a child hearing the following story which I understood to be a true account of a witnessed event. It concerned a man who was a vocal atheist and wanted to prove to his neighbours that there was no God. He declared publicly that on a set day he would challenge God to a fight and show all present that there was no God. Come the day a large group followed the man out into the fields to a clearing in some trees.

    The man removed his jacket, carefully rolled up his sleeves and proceeded to rail at God to show Himself and fight. As he circled around shouting at God he was seen to rub his eye. Of course, nothing happened and after a short time, vindicated in his own opinion, the man returned home. But, within a week the man was dead from blood poisoning resulting from a septic midge bite incurred as he rubbed his eye in the wood the previous week.

    God's commitment to His own glory should not be understated. Nor should we underestimate His willingness for direct intervention, by the most innocuous of means, for the preservation of His people.

    Perhaps the next time we encounter a wasp on a picnic or have to rid one from the house we will be a little more thoughtful of why it is here, and respectfully remember what its relatives did to an ancient king and his people.