Proverbs 24:13-14(NKJV) My son, eat honey because it is good, and the honeycomb which is sweet to your taste; So shall the knowledge of wisdom be to your soul; If you have found it, there is a prospect, and your hope will not be cut off.
I have friends who are beekeepers. They have several hives hidden out in a bee yard. The hives are not doing well. The queens currently ruling the hives are not doing their job. The queen is the most important bee in the entire colony. She lays the eggs. She determines the overall health and productivity of the colony as well. She influences how hygienic her daughters are toward mites and disease. The queen is the real beekeeper in the organization. A queen only lives a few years. Over time her productivity decreases. It is time to re-queen the hives in order to repopulate the hives with a new generation of good bees that will do what they are created to do.
The process is a bit violent in my opinion. My friends found new queens that are being shipped to them. Now that the new queens are coming, something must be done about the old ones. To put two queens in one hive would start a war and only one would survive. So they must remove the existing queen. If she were just removed, the bees would look for her. Their loyalty is fierce and unrelenting. So the beekeeper pops off her head, and drops her to the bottom of the bee box. Why? Why so violent? Why so barbaric? I asked if the bees swarm or try to defend their queen. They do not. The moment she dies, the queen releases a scent in the air that tells her colony she is dead. The bees immediately flock to the dead queen. They stop everything just to take care of her. I find that fascinating. Hope deferred makes the heart sick. (Proverbs 13:12) When things don’t turn out the way we planned or how we have decided they will be in our devastation, how many times do we also run to the dead thing and try to revive it? We do not think about what may be coming next or the fact it may have not been producing that which God planned and purposed in our life, because we “want” it. We can visualize it. We can touch it. We are familiar with it. We are comfortable in it. The Lord has something more but we have become completely overwhelmed with what has been taken.
When the new queen arrives, she comes in a little box with a candy plug. If the new queen were released directly into the hive, the bees would likely “ball” her leading to swift and immediate death. So she is introduced slowly, the bees must eat through the candy plug to get to the new queen. This process takes a couple of days and by the time they reach her she is accepted. With the demise of the old queen, the bees desire a queen but their zeal might destroy that which they long for so a process is created to acclimate the new queen and prepare her throng. We have longings and desires. There are things that the Lord has promised and we wait for them to come. Could it be that this process of waiting is much like the bees? So we will not rush in killing the dream or overtaking the promise without proper timing which aborts the purpose altogether. We have been given hope in the Lord. How does it work? Where do I find it? What do I with it?
Knowledge and wisdom are often discounted in the midst of sheer enthusiasm and overwhelming zeal. We lose ourselves in the elation and excitement of the prospect, anticipation, expectation of that thing we can now visualize and see. We feel its closeness and have a need to overtake it. Control it. Produce it. Make it happen in our life. But sometimes… most of the time… the Lord makes us wait. There is a prospect. God has a plan for us that includes a future and hope. We must be ever so careful that we do not become like the bees who serve a dead queen. The Lord is good and He aids in this process – it’s called waiting. Waiting stretches us and teaches us in the midst of an ordinary life to serve an extraordinary God who does more than we could even think to ask for.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NKJV) “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.”
Blessed is the man who trusts the Lord. Do you trust the Lord? If so, you understand that He gives and takes away. He has placed Eternity in our heart, yet there is still a time for everything under the sun. Good or bad. Happy or sad. There are seasons of life designed to plant us in the Love of God and grow our wisdom so that we can be productive in every season of life. Just as beehives must be re-queened on a regular basis, we must be pruned by the Lord to increase our productivity in life. We cry out for growth and prosperity not desiring the process but end result. The Lord desires to plant you in His Presence burying your roots in Living Water so no matter what you are going through – you do more than survive but learn how to thrive. God’s Standard of Living is much greater than our comfort zone and complacency allows so He allows us to become uncomfortable and unsettled so we are forced to move.
Jeremiah 17:9-10 (NKJV) “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings.”
Soul searching starts and heart testing begins when things do not turn out as one expected. Before that moment, most people do not think past that very moment or what they are doing. This morning as the sun comes up there are hives filled with hopeless bees. Their queen is dead. They cannot survive without a queen. Desperation is born of lost expectation and they are beginning to think of ways to live and not die. What happened when things didn’t turn out the way that you planned? What happens when the Lord doesn’t do it your way? What happens if your dream dies? Our heart is deceitful. No, it really is. Sometimes we think we are serving the Lord, but somehow get tied up in what we are doing rather than remaining committed to what He is doing in our life. We lose sight of forever getting caught up in today, this moment, this time and this season.
God is a good father who will not let His Children fall into harm’s way. He searches our heart for insufficiencies. He tests are minds for anything less than trust. He inspects the fruit of our life and allows what is necessary to produce the kind of fruit that He desires. The Fruit of His Spirit that nourishes and satisfies our soul. The kind that feeds our desire until completely satisfied. Just because you and I are willing to settle for less than God’s Best doesn’t mean that He will do the same. Praise the Lord!
Jeremiah 29:10-13 (NKJV) For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
Most of us know the verse, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Or maybe you have heard it like this, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” How exciting! God has big plans for us. He is giving us a future and a hope. Both of these words imply waiting yet we ignore that tiny part, at least I do sometimes. When I think of all the times, I started and abruptly stopped waiting on the Lord, it makes me ill. I did so in ignorance and omission. I picked out the parts of God’s Word that I liked and left the rest on the plate. There is a problem with this mentality. You cannot have God’s Plan without going about His Way, according to His Word, and doing His Will. You can’t make God’s Way happen in your own life but it is accomplished by placing your whole life in Jesus Christ.
Look at verse 10 which proceeds the Plan of God for your life, it says, “AFTER SEVENTY YEARS ARE COMPLETED…” The Lord promised to visit the people and DO His Good Word to them after seven decades. Talk about waiting on the Lord. This is the problem. We want God’s Prosperity, His Future and His Hope but no one is willing to wait for it. I used to be the most impatient overbearing person who you have ever met. There was a right way and a wrong way. Lord, help those who did not understand and conform to my ideology of what those two ways looked like. I didn’t look at people just purpose. How do I get from point A to point B. Then, cancer paid a visit to our life. Talk about waiting. I had to wait on the diagnosis, the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, appointments, tests, treatments, results, approvals, and more. I had to wait on remission for three long and tedious years. I had to watch our son fight a battle that I could do nothing but pray and hope in the Lord that His Word would come to pass. With a tissue in one hand and my Word from the Lord in the other, I spent countless days waiting for His Word to come to pass. Now if this had been something superficial or small, I would have continued in my cycle of abandoning those things that took patience and perseverance to obtain but this time what I valued most was at risk. The price of failure was too high. I wasn’t going to leave because God took too long or didn’t do it as I planned. No this would be a fight to the finish.
The second part of this verse, right after God makes us His Promise, He delineates His Plan. There are not a series of steps for me to tread upon or hoops for me to jump through. No, He tells me that I can have His Promise if I do only one thing – “you will call on me, go and pray to me, and you will seek me Me and find Me when you search for Me with all of your heart.” The pursuit of God’s Purpose and Plan is all dependent on my passion for the Lord. Do I want Jesus above all things? See those bees would kill their promise of new life if she was released to them directly. Their allegiance was to the dead queen. It is in the process of waiting that their attention is redirected to the new thing that is happening in their life. Sometimes we get caught up in the things that God does for us and pursuing the promise more than the Promiser. So we must wait.
Romans 5:1-5 (NKJV) Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
Romans 5:1-5 can be broken into three pieces for consumption sake. The first is “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” Let’s stop here for just a minute. God’s Plan and Purpose for our life is predetermined. God does not lie or change His Mind. He wrote the entire plan of your life so it is prerecorded. We only must make peace with God through the remission and repentance from sin to follow Jesus to have it. There really is nothing else to do above and beyond that because Jesus did something for us that we cannot do for ourselves. No matter how hard you “work” for the Lord or how long you “serve” Jesus Christ, it does not influence the future and hope that you have been given. It is already there.
“Not only so, but…” Please understand that God’s Goodness involves a process. The process has a purpose so don’t give in to the thought of abandoning the discomfort or desperation of such moments. We boast in the times of trial and testing that the Lord is our refuge and strength. He is our hope, but do we really mean it. It is by our “sufferings” in this life that we discover the contents of our heart and whether our faith is sure and hope confident. Peace with God produces certain pressure in the world around us. This world is at odds with the Lord for He is its Judge and Destroyer. It is in our discomfort that we discover perseverance, character, and confident hope. As we wait even when the world says, “Let it go.” We watch as the watchman waits for dawn. It is times like this that we are being changed, renewed, revived and restored. It’s hard to wait. We do not like to suffer. We hate inconvenience and complain about discomfort.
Finally, “and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s Love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” It is the moment that the Lord finally reveals His Plan and His Purpose and we step into the future to see that He works all things together for us that we decide it was worth it all. You will never know true satisfaction until you can say, “Look what the Lord has done” and mean it. This comes through suffering, discomfort, brokenness and constant undoing as the Lord shapes and molds us to fill us with His Glory.
Lamentations 3:21-24 (NKJV) “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
I know what you are thinking…how did she know that I was just about to give up? How did she see that my faith is tired and expectations unmet? How could she even know that my dream lay slowly dying? Friend, I had no idea. I only know my own heart and the things I struggle with myself. There are days that I want to give in. There are days that I have given up just to have the Lord pick me up, dust me off, and set me on my way again. I have made it to the end of the race of faith and been disappointed that it was not like I thought it would be or how I determined I might finish. See it is our human nature to take the Word of the Lord and try to make it our own. Yes, we are to own it but it is never our choice of fulfillment or the outcomes in our life would be uncertain. God has a plan for you and for me. It includes a future and hope. I have been allow it through my relationship with Jesus Christ. I accept it by surrendering my life (all of it) to doing God’s Will, God’s Way and according to His Word every single day. Peace with God opens His Right Hand releasing every pleasure in it. On those days that I am not the Child that I should be, He has already provided the mercy that I need to overcome my doubt and fear. The Lord is all I want and all that I need to live a rich and satisfying life. I must tell my heart that sometimes. I must remind my soul. I must sing and not be silent of His Goodness until all of me hears it and is glad. Those poor bees think their life is over today. They are struggling to do “something” about their situation. What they don’t know is that joy is coming in the morning? If it is coming for them friend, how much more for you and me?
Hebrews 16:17-19 (NKJV) Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”