Learning Your Lesson
August 10, 2016 • By Ed Wrather
Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years, and the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel. Because of the Midianites, the children of Israel made for themselves the dens, the caves, and the strongholds which are in the mountains. So it was, whenever Israel had sown, Midianites would come up; also Amalekites and the people of the East would come up against them. Then they would encamp against them and destroy the produce of the earth as far as Gaza, and leave no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep nor ox nor donkey. For they would come up with their livestock and their tents, coming in as numerous as locusts; both they and their camels were without number; and they would enter the land to destroy it. So Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord.
And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried out to the Lord because of the Midianites, that the Lord sent a prophet to the children of Israel, who said to them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘I brought you up from Egypt and brought you out of the house of bondage; and I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out before you and gave you their land. Also I said to you, “I am the Lord your God; do not fear the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell.” But you have not obeyed My voice.’” – Judges 6:1-10 NKJV.
Noah Elkins and Priscilla Simpson were driving along looking for a place to swim when they had a close encounter with a power pole and some tiny little creatures. It all happened in a rural area of Laurel County, Kentucky. Noah and Priscilla were high on some drugs (Suboxone, neurotin and Klonopin), but I digress. What were those tiny little creatures that viciously attacked these two thirty year olds? Bees! It was bees that immediately swarmed after them when they crawled out of their wrecked vehicle. The bees were stinging them all over; they grabbed a water hose from a home nearby, and tried to wash the bees off. Gary Anderson who lived in the home said the two were, “screaming and squalling, and running around about like a chicken with its head cut off.” Gary didn’t realize at first that the bees were stinging them, and just thought they were high on drugs.
Noah and Priscilla were taken to a hospital for treatment of injuries from the accident, and from the numerous bee stings. Noah is facing a charge of Driving While Intoxicated and Priscilla a charge of Public Intoxication. Gary Anderson, the home owner, was also stung several times on his leg attempting to rescue the two. Gary says, “Everyone around there hopes the two learned a serious lesson. I'd say by today they are learning their lesson. If they feel like my leg feels, I'd say they're learning. I'd say they're itching real good because my ankle's itching. I think it's that poison from them bees.” (CBS WKYT Lexington 07.27.16 and various other news venues)
Wonder which lesson Gary and Priscilla learned? Don’t drive around while you are high on drugs? Don’t crash your vehicle into a pole with a beehive on it? And if you do crash into a pole with a beehive, make sure you are not wearing a bikini? That had to be an unpleasant lesson they received, but I doubt they actually learned anything from it.
This reminded me of the Book of Judges where the children of Israel had a hard time learning their lesson. The cycle of sin, repentance, and deliverance kept repeating itself in their lives over and over and over. They would sin, they would be oppressed, they would cry out to the Lord for help, and God would send a deliverer, a judge to lead them to freedom. In the passage in Judges 6 it is Gideon that God raised up to lead them in throwing off the oppressive yoke of the Midianites. Failure to learn their lesson was a continual problem and eventually led the children of Israel to be carried into captivity to Babylon.
It is easy to condemn those who sin, those who have some kind of moral failure. God knows I have had many painful lessons and have not always learned them. “There but for the grace of God go I” is a saying I have heard all my life. Many of us are familiar with this saying and google gives more than two million results for it.
When we are caught in the Judges cycle with our own lives what should we do? How can we learn our lesson? The problem is a lack of focus on what is most important. The most important of all in our lives should be Jesus. “…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…(Hebrews 12:1b-2a). “…consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls (Hebrews 12:3).” “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5).” Discipline is necessary, and there is no way around the need for faithfulness in applying the resources of God to our lives so that we might have the mind of Christ: Prayer, Bible, Church. May we all learn our lesson!