Lesson from the Locusts (Proverb 30:27)

The Locusts

Proverbs 30:27 “The locusts have no king yet go they forth all of them by bands.” The Locusts speak of “the Mystery of Unity and Power.” The Locusts lack leadership collectively, yet they march in rank. What an amazing exception they are! It is not their work of ruin, but the wisdom of system by which they do it, that is commended in Proverbs 30:27. They have no leader and lack strength, individually, yet work in amazing unity. Locusts demonstrate the Mystery of Unity and Power.

Work of Locusts

The Locusts are known for the immense numbers that suddenly swarm upon a district, and for the vast devastation they accomplish in vegetation in a little while. “Vast bodies of migrating Locusts, called by the oriental the Armies of God,” lay waste the country. The Locusts observed as regular order, when they march, as an army. At evening they descend from their flight, and form, as it were, their camps. In the morning, when the sun has risen considerably, they ascend again, if they do not find food, and fly in the direction of the wind – Proverbs 30:27 “The locusts have no king yet go they forth all of them by bands.

  • The Locusts go in immense numbers – Jeremiah 46:23 “They shall cut down her forest, says the LORD, ‘Though it cannot be searched, because they are innumerable and more numerous than grasshoppers.”
  • Occupy a space of ten or twelve miles in length, and four and five in breadth, and are so deep that the sun cannot penetrate through them; so that they convert the day into night and bring a temporary darkness on the land – Exodus 10:15 “For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they ate every herb of the land and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left. So there remained nothing green on the trees or on the plants of the field throughout all the land of Egypt.”
  • The sound of the wings is terrible, when the Locusts descend upon the earth, they cover a vast track a foot and half high; if the air is cold and moist or if they be wet with the dew, they remain….till they are dried and warmed by the sun – Nahum 3:17 “Your commanders are like swarming locusts, and your generals are like great grasshoppers, which camp in the hedges on a cold day; when the sun rises they flee away, and the place where they are I not known.”  
  • Nothing stops them. They fill the ditches which are dug to stop them with their bodies, and extinguish by their numbers the fires, which are kindled. They pass over walls and enter the doors and windows of houses (Joel 2:7-9).
  • The Locusts devour everything which is green, strip off the bark of trees, and even break them to pieces by their weight (Exodus 10:12-19).

Wisdom in Action

Though the Locusts have no king, yet they are able to make successful marches over miles of country, and to completely devastate the lands they visited. It is an accepted principle, in life/management, that a Leaderless Group is a weak Group. Yet in the Locusts, is an example, or an exception to the rule of life/management; here the Locusts, doing well and survive but has no leadership in command. What is the secret of the Locusts’ success and survival?? How can we see “Wisdom,” in action? – Locusts’ limitations have been overcome by their wisdom:

  • The Locusts compensate for the lack of the leadership, by means of band together for a common purpose/strength – stripping the land of its vegetation!
  • Locusts do not waste their time by flying hither and thither, and by opposing one another. Locusts all move on in solid phalanx (group). Each Locust subordinates his individuality to the Group; this is illustrated, when the Locusts come to a small stream, they will move into the stream in such numbers that the Locusts created a causeway of bodies, that can be used by other Locusts. This instinctive order secures success. Thus, the Locusts success is insured by the strength of the total organization, build-up by the strength of the individual insect!

Locust a creature, as an individual, easily crushed, yet gaining immense force by union with others. Joel gives a splendid description of the raid of locusts under the figure of the invading army, with which the accounts of travellers in tropical lands may be closely compared (Joel 1:4). It is an essential part of personal equipment that a man be able to cooperate with others. And in the great majority of cases this means readiness to fall in with the suggestions of other people, to forego our own preference and adopt another person’s advice. It means listening and learning, conciliation and concession, punctuality, and politeness.

Lessons to be Learned

It teaches us that the welfare of the Individual must be subordinates to that of the Community. This speaks of the banding of the Members of the Body of Christ, for common good – this is the strength that comes from unity/diversity, in the Body of Christ:

Psalm 133:1-3 “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like a precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of the garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there the LORD commanded the blessing – life forevermore.”

Ephesians 4:16 “From whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”

For the Lord Jesus Christ and His Kingdom, the Individual Member of the Body of Christ is in subordination of the Individual’s will to the whole Plan and Purpose of Christ and His Kingdom. It is the finding and functioning, with the calling and gifting, in our place in the Body of Christ (Romans 12:1-8; Romans 11:29; 1Corinthians 12:8-10; 1Corinthians chapters 13 & 14). It is the recognition and functioning in unity and diversity of the Members of the Body of Christ that makes it possible for spiritual growth and development. The order and subjection to each other that the Body of Christ grows and prospers.

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