A Study of Joshua 24:12
“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.”
Some of the preacher brethren have been criticized as being “extreme” on the doctrine of predestination, just because they believe that God predestinated and controls the whereabouts of chiggers, fleas, flies and gnats, and these preachers are neither afraid nor ashamed to say publicly that they believe it. I wonder if the critics, bless their hearts, think it is any harder for God to send a chigger up someone’s leg or a fly into the apothecary’s ointment, than it is for Him to raise sand in Egypt by turning the dust into lice, or for Him to send hornets before Joshua’s troops to drive out the Canaanites?
Now, dear reader, please bear with me a moment. Shall a semi-predestinarian be allowed to speculate and I not? Shall their speculation be all right while my speculation must be considered too speculative? Personally, I don’t think what I am about to advance is nearly as speculative as a semi-predestinarian’s trying to decide what is significant enough for God to predestinate and what is so insignificant that He will not predestinate it; so, please bear with me.
Where does the insignificant end and the significant begin? People have died from wasp and hornet stings. A person could die from the poison of too many chigger bites or mosquito bites. Condemned murderers, escaping for their very lives into the Everglades, have been driven back into the waiting arms of the law, not by bloodhounds and shotguns, nor even alligators and water moccasins, but by mosquitoes and chiggers. If God cannot or does not control chiggers, then I suppose either devils or angels must, or else chiggers control themselves. We know for certain that man cannot control them. Now, if God doesn’t control a chigger and man can’t, then it is doubtful that angels or devils do.
We know devils can control hogs because of what they did in the case of the demoniac of Gadara; but I suppose the critics, bless their hearts, would say hogs are far more important than chiggers because there’s more meat on them, and you can sell hogs for more dollars a pound than chiggers. So, being big and important like hogs are, the semi-predestinarian critic, bless his heart, would figure God and devils could control hogs, but God would not waste His time controlling a chigger or a hornet, because He is too busy running the “important things” of the world.
So, that would leave the chiggers in control of themselves, according to the non-predestinarians. Now, suppose this was true; and, suppose all these chiggers, in control of themselves, all attacked a man in sufficient numbers to poison him to death, or at least make him scratch himself to death. There would be nothing to keep chiggers in full control of themselves from killing multitudes of people before their time, would there? Which would mean that chiggers, as insignificant as they are, could cause people to die before their appointed time. This would lead to the conclusion that a person’s appointed time to die is very insignificant indeed, more insignificant than a chigger, if God’s appointment could be thrown off schedule by a few chiggers in full control of themselves while God was busy controlling “the good things.” Now, if the appointment of God were thus rendered insignificant, null, and void by a measly chigger in complete control of himself, then why would not a chigger be the semi-predestinarian’s real object of worship?
After all, if a chigger is too insignificant for God to bother with, but it could upset God’s appointment, then why could not other insignificant things upset other appointments made by God? Job could never have said that God “performeth the thing that is appointed for me, and many such things are with Him,” if he had been a semi-predestinarian. And Paul said, “No man should be moved by these afflictions, for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.” The ones to whom Paul wrote knew more than a semi-predestinarian knows, because semi-predestinarians do not know that God’s children are appointed to afflictions. Would there be any end to insignificant things interrupting God’s appointments, until He could not get anything done, if the critics, bless their hearts, had their way? So, the un-predestinarian logically would have to worship only the things which he reasons are too lowly for God’s consideration, predestination, and sovereign control. If the critics would do this, this would be fine with me, if they would just go on and do it and not try to bother the preacher brethren who have the God-given grit, grace, and gumption to preach predestination as it is.
Further, though, I wonder if the quasi-predestinarian would also say that some of God’s appointments are important enough that they must be kept, while other appointments of God are not? Because, if an infra-predestinarian could tell a little child of grace how to avoid an affliction he is appointed to (1st Thessalonians 3:3), then he could just as easily show the child of grace how to avoid the salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ to which he is appointed (1st Thessalonians 5:9); for, how could it be possible to thwart one and not another of God’s appointments? The issue is that serious! And, make no mistake about it; we all meet folks almost every day that avow they believe a person can die before his time if he misbehaves, and he can avoid the afflictions if he will “just behave right.” If the marketplace isn’t full of such folks I haven’t written a word of truth.
Now, about the hornets. God controls hornets. Joshua said God controls hornets, to the extent that God sent the hornet before Israel, and the hornet drove out the two kings of the Amorites from before Joshua and Israel. Joshua and Israel did not do it with sword and bow; God did it with the hornets.
We sometimes hear it said that someone stirred up a hornet’s nest. This usually means that someone really made a group of folks angry, angry enough to attack and sting. It is interesting to see who gets angry when predestination is set forth clearly by our preacher brethren, or who gets their stinger up when someone points out the one who says, “I believe in predestination, but I don’t believe God is concerned with controlling little things like chiggers, gnats, fleas, or flies.”
Now, if pointing out such simple things stirs up a hornet’s nest, so be it; but, who sends the hornet? Would God send the hornet in Joshua’s day but leave it for others to send it in the twentieth century? For my part, I thoroughly doubt He would, as I am persuaded that He changes not.
It is for reasons like this that I rejoice to meet with others of the persuasion that God does all things well.