Locusts

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” Ecclesiastes 4:12

In the late sixties I was travelling with my parents through the Karoo, the semidesert in the Western Cape of South Africa. As dusk crept in we were approaching a dorp (village) when regiments of locusts swarmed down. Darkness immediately enveloped us as the tiny insects blotted out the last of the sun’s rays. Turning on the car’s headlights, we made our way toward the hotel where we had planned to spend the night. By the time we’d parked the car the locusts had settled. There was a solid carpet of insects as far as we could see. It presented a dilemma. How were we to get from the car to the hotel? Mum immediately refused to budge, as far as she was concerned she would rather sleep in the car than get out and walk through the writhing brown sea.

Frazer and I were braver, or perhaps our hunger, and the thought of a comfortable bed seemed better than an indecisive night on the back seat. In a flash we were out of the car. As our feet touched the pavement there was a crunching sound accompanied by little clouds of locusts that rose up as we made our way to the lobby.

The following morning we were up at the crack of dawn. Full of bravado we ran outside as the locusts were lifting off and being borne away on a gentle breeze. Within 15 minutes most of them were gone. They had eaten everything. All that was left was dirt and stones. There wasn’t a shred of vegetation anywhere. It reminded me of pictures that I’d seen of the lunar landscape and I remember thinking that taken singularly, the locusts weren’t much of a force to be reckoned with, yet as a swarm they were amazingly powerful.

God’s Word provides a similar insight. In Proverbs 30:27 it points out that locusts are extremely wise because they “have no king yet they advance together in ranks.” That’s a big lesson from a little thing. The locusts have the ability to accomplish something because they stick together. They don’t have much power individually but they have strength in numbers.

In our individual capacity you and I are restricted in what we can accomplish for the cause of Christ. We have limited energy, a quotient of brainpower, and there are only so many things we can do with the skeleton and muscles that make up our body. However, when we get together in a group our corporate abilities are vastly superior to the sum of our individual abilities. As we’re reminded in Ecclesiastes 4:12, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

That’s why we need to pull together. When God’s people get united behind a common vision and task there’s power to accomplish great things. So, like the locusts, stick with one another. Don’t go it alone. It’s united we stand or divided we fall.

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