January 28, 2018

Victory Through Persistence, Part 2

“Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.”—Daniel 3:28 (KJV)

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The image above sends a powerful message. It shows a tree growing on a barren mountaintop. There are no other trees, and there is no soil at all. It makes absolutely no sense that this plant is able to thrive in the crevice of a rock.  

This is a powerful illustration of perseverance.

 Last week, I wrote about some examples of persistence here I will continue that theme in this article.

A Biblical Example

In Daniel, Chapter 3, we meet the three Hebrew young men: Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego. They live in Babylon, which is ruled by King Nebuchadnezzar. The king has a golden idol built. He orders that all residents who don’t worship the idol be thrown into a fiery furnace.

The three teenagers refuse to follow the order, and they are thrown into the furnace. It’s turned up seven times hotter than usual. It burns the guards who throw the prisoners in.

What happened next? Here is the list of victories:
  • A fourth being appears in the furnace.
  • The bonds are burned off the three friends.
  • The young men aren’t singed, and they don’t even smell like smoke.
  • Nebuchadnezzar decrees that everyone must respect the god of Israel

Weird Science” on National Geographic Channel

Honey Bees and Japanese Giant Hornet
We know that hornets are larger than bees. The Japanese Giant Hornet is even more awe-inspiring:
  • Grows to at least twice the size of honeybees
  • Has an exoskeleton that cannot be penetrated by bee stings
  • Kills over forty human beings a year in Japan

The hornets like to lay their larvae in honey bees, so they invade the hives. The smaller animals appear to have no means of defense, so they’ve come up with a unique way to get rid of the intruder.
One hornet enters the hive in order to scout it out. If all is well, he will return to his swarm and let them know they can attack. The bees know they cannot allow the scout to return and bring his friends, so they surround him. Picture this: 20,000 to 30,000 bees completely enclose him.
Next, the entire colony of bees starts vibrating, which generates heat. The hornet dies when the temperature in the hive reaches 117°. The amazing fact is that the bees would perish at 118°.  One degree is the slim difference between life and death!
We can assume some of the bees closest to the hornet die. However, in the process, they save thousands of their comrades.
Prairie Dogs and Rattlesnake

This is another case of groups of animals working together to protect themselves against one powerful predator. Prairie dogs are sociable animals. They live in colonies. They also have lookouts who warn the others of approaching danger.
In this story, a prairie dog group (coterie) is notified a rattlesnake is approaching. Their first defensive move is to send their young back into the burrow for safety.
Following this, about a dozen adults circle the snake and nip at him. I’m not sure how much they actually hurt the snake, but they certainly frustrate him.  The prairie dogs are quick and agile; they easily avoid the snake’s bite. The reptile decides this meal is too much trouble, and he leaves to find easier prey.
My Conclusion

Both nature and the Bible teach us methods for conquering the odds through perseverance. The scriptures show us faith is rewarded in the end. The animal kingdom demonstrates strength in numbers. Animals also illustrate how a few can make sacrifices for the sake of the whole group.

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