Sunday Sermon 2.6.21
No, not the amazing story of Remi Adeleke and his unlikely path to becoming a Navy Seal. (although it is worth the read, 2019), and definitely not pertaining to alien pods arriving in Hong Kong as portrayed in the 2017 movie.
Sorry, Chris Brown, this is not about your song “Transform Ya”, nor a spin off of Michael Bay’s movie franchise “Transformers”, either.
Transformed, it’s what is expected of believers, those choosing to walk with Jesus. Transformed, it is what happens to make a lowly grasshopper into a powerful swarm of locusts. Let’s put them together to get a picture of what could be happening in these days in the lives of those who are pressing into what God is doing. They are being transformed.
God’s Word is clear that if any person is “in Christ”, that is, wrapped in His love and forgiven of their sin, that person is a new creation. They are still human, of course, but they are now a spiritual creation not just a physical creation. They are a new creation in Christ, the old is gone and the new is come. 2 Cor. 5:17
The Word further tells us, that the new creation involves a transformation, one in which our mind is transformed, our thoughts and worldview is changed. Rom. 12:2
Keep reading- the grasshopper, locust part is coming up and very cool.
It is clear throughout the Word that Christians (those in Christ) are expected to grow, change, and mature in their relationship with Jesus. We become born again, start like babies, but then need to grow up to spiritual adulthood.
- 1 Cor. 3:1 -infants in Christ
- Heb. 6:1 – move beyond the elementary teachings… go toward maturity
- 1 Pet. 2:2-3 – like newborn babies crave spiritual milk
- Heb. 5:12-14 – solid food is for the mature
- Col. 2:6-7 – rooted and built up in Him
As Christians, our mission is to be like Christ, that is the transformation that we seek. To be transformed into His image. This cannot happen with the waving of some magic wand and poof, we are miraculously transformed. It is a daily process of choosing and deciding to do what He wants, live His way, rather than our own.
In doing so, we are transformed, “metamorphoo” – changed into another form, inwardly, permanently by the work of the Spirit, all the while our daily, earthly, transformation is preparing us to take flight with Him one day to heaven, where we will see Him face to face, because we will be like Him – transformed.
Now onto the grasshopper and locust, because there is a connection, I assure you.
I don’t know if I knew and forgot, or didn’t know (age has it’s drawbacks), but grasshoppers and locusts are related. In fact, Wikipedia tells us that there is no taxonomic distinction between locust and grasshopper species. What?? The basis for definition is whether a species swarms or not.
Locust are grasshoppers that have entered into a migratory phase, swarming phase. Grasshopper and locust look alike but their behavior is different.
Why is this important to me, you ask?
Well, 1,400 years before Jesus, a report was given in which God’s people were said to be like grasshoppers in the eyes of their enemies; and in fact in their own eye site. Numbers 13:33
God’s people saw their enemies as giants, and they were right, (they were over 9 feet tall!), but they saw themselves as grasshoppers and therefore projected that view onto their enemies.
700 plus years later, the people of the earth are described as grasshoppers. Isa. 40:22
Later in Joel, 600 years before Jesus, we read about a locust army which God calls “his great army.” Joel 2:25
And the prophet Nahum, another 63 years after Joel, talks about guards and officials being like swarms of locusts. Nahum 3:17
To clarify – God’s people are compared to grasshoppers and locusts. Not just the Israelites, as in Old Testament days, but believers today. All of God’s people.
If that is so, then what in the world do we as believers, new creatures in Christ have to learn from these invertebrates?
Transformed. That’s what.
Big groups of grasshoppers, prompted by drought conditions, actually transform into migratory locusts, which have developed a new brain chemistry, by having rubbed together when crowded on grass. Their bodies harden, they eventually develop wings and fly off in a swarm a billion strong.
They are transformed into a new creature.
In a crowded place of limited grass, the grasshopper shifts from “solitary life” to a group lifestyle called the “gregarious phase”. In the solitary phase, he doesn’t collect in groups, has a low metabolic rate and is sluggish. During the gregarious phase the grasshopper gathers in large groups, has a high metabolic rate and is active and nervous. He transforms many times in this state -first to a non-flying nymph or hopper, molting 5 times until he transforms into a strong, flying adult and ready to join a swarm.
The solitary phase is normal for the species. The gregarious phase is a physiological response to “violent fluctuations in the environment”. Reread that. He transforms from solitary to gregarious in response to the violence in the environment. (I feel like a locust now.)
This massive group of now mature, gregarious flying locust become a swarm. A swarms size can pack into a 1/2 square mile, but are as large as 40-80 million locusts. Locust can eat their weight in plants daily, so a swarm could eat 423 million pounds of plants every day. They have been known to devastate countries in Asia, Africa and the middle East.
So swarms of locusts are serious business.
The locusts ability to transform in response to serotonin being released is amazing. That serotonin triggers their Central Nervous System and the process of development from a solitary grasshopper, to strong flying locust swarm is mindboggling. For over 4 hours, the back legs of the grasshopper rub against the others in that packed space until eventually his entire inward system is transformed. He has become gregarious, no longer solitary. He is no longer a hopper but can fly, albeit not yet strong. Talk about a transformation?!
A gregarious locust/grasshopper will continue to mature and become stronger and larger and eventually join a band.
Terms worth mentioning about locust. When the gregarious bands get together, they are called outbreaks. And when outbreaks join together that is an upsurge.
These bands, outbreaks and swarms do not form where growth is favorable, no that would be too easy. Instead they actually grow where suitable habitats are scarce. When the bands expand, individuals are actually forced into marginal areas. (Are you seeing parallels here?)
Additionally, the sound of a locust swarm is deafening. The humming is overwhelming and in itself is an alarm that they are on the move. You hear them before you see them.
It is important to point out that locusts navigate using the sun. When individuals at the front edge of the swarm settle to feed, others fly past overhead and settle in for their turn leading. The whole swarm moves like a rolling unit with an ever changing leading edge, following the sun.
No wonder King Solomon said, “the locust have no king, yet they advance together in bands.” Prov. 30:27
Finally, at any point a grasshopper can become gregarious, if the conditions are right. Additionally, their transformation can be reversed or persist, and be passed on to their offspring. It all depends on the conditions. Now think about that! Wow!
Putting this all together.
I believe God is calling His people from the solitary, sluggish, grasshopper phase of being small in our our sight and only seeing insurmountable giants. He is calling us to grow, change, mature and be transformed into a gregarious, active, swarming and powerful Body of believers.
This transforming, maturing process has not been in favorable circumstances, but dry and violent ones where we have been pressed together and rubbing against one another. But in it and from it emerges a new creature seeking to follow the Sun as His mighty swarming army.
And the sound of His mighty army, is a sound of praise, and worship; the heavenly sounds of humming, singing and praise to our God. “The sounds of many rushing waters”.
The Kingdom of God is about to explode on the earth in outbreaks and upsurges. I feel it, I sense it, and by faith see it. That is why we are being transformed during these “unfavorable” and dry times.
Will you be a hopper or a flyer?
It’s time to be transformed.
Go with God.