”Proverbs 30:27www.LetGodBeTrue.comThe Lesson of the LocustGod made the desert locust a special creature with a changing personality. It teaches you a valuable lesson about success and happiness in life. Ordinarily very reclusive and solitary, this animal minds its own business, ventures about only at night, and meets other locusts only for brief mating encounters. However, when the situation calls for it, they change dramatically in color and even more drastically in social behavior, becoming very friendly and group oriented, creating huge swarms for their mutual benefit.Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived. He could talk in detail about things like trees and insects (I Kings 4:29–34). He knew all about the desert locust, and he used it to teach the value of joining together with others. God created you to be a social creature, and you will only maximize your potential by using the societies he created for you, which are family, school, marriage, church, friends, business, and nation. He also said, “Two are better than one …and a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Eccl 4:9–12). He gave four glorious advantages to using your societies to your advantage.BBSRC’s website, “One of a Crowd.”Widipedia, the Desert Locust“Creature of the Month,” by No–PestProverbs 30:27The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands;Here is a fabulous proverb in fourteen words. It is simple, intriguing, and contains an obscure lesson of great wisdom. Locusts teach us that society is better than individuality, that there is power in numbers and unity. Without a leader, they travel in large, coordinated swarms that still frighten men today. Can you learn their wisdom?Four little creatures teach powerful lessons (30:24–28). Here is the desert locust, which inhabits the areas near Israel. The LORD Jehovah gave the desert locust a very unique trait to teach us wisdom, and our Preacher reveals this wisdom here for our learning.The desert locust usually lives a very lonely, quiet, individual, and solitary life. They are extremely shy except for their brief mating encounters. They fly at night and avoid each other, very content at being alone. Rather sluggish by nature, they are quite harmless. But when put in a crowded situation with other locusts, due to ideal ecological circumstances or the search for food, they drastically change to become very social creatures.This radical change in personality is their unique trait. In addition, their very physiology and color change to indicate their new temperament. They now want to swarm together, and they do so in very coordinated ways with sometimes billions of locusts involved. So great is this transformation, they were regarded as two separate species until recently!Scientifically, a locust with its individualistic and reclusive temperament is called solitarious. When it undergoes its great personality change and becomes a very eager social creature, it is scientifically said to be gregarious! We use the word ourselves to describe someone who is very friendly, social, interactive, and enjoying group activities!Only three inches long and weighing two grams, a single locust can eat his weight in food every day! They have a top speed near 20 mph, and they can cover 75 miles in a day. With a few others, they can ravage a country, devouring most edible things in their path.A swarm of locusts covering 2,000 square miles crossed the Red Sea in 1889, and was estimated to weigh 500,000 tons and contain 250 billion individual locusts. Swarms still occur today and are a serious threat to agriculture from North Africa to Asia.The blessed God calls these creatures His army, and He describes their character and destructive capability in great detail (Joel 1:4–7; 2:1–11,25). He sent this army into Egypt once to encourage Pharaoh to let His people Israel go to Canaan. The results were devastating (Ex 10:3–6,12–19)! They darkened the sun and ate every single green thing! He commands the locusts (II Chron 7:13)! And He created their great use of society!The wisdom to be learned is the advantage of numbers and unity. Society is better than individuality. Solomon taught, “Two are better than one … and a threefold cord is not quickly broken” (Eccl 4:9–12). Every person with a decent spouse knows that marriage is certainly better than being single (Gen 2:18; Eccl 9:9). This fact is obvious to wise men, regardless of the modern babbling about the blessings and virtue of the single life.There are four advantages to human society, or the gathering of individuals into a group (Eccl 4:9–12). First, they can share the rewards of labor and prosperity. Second, when one has difficulties, the others can help him. Third, their different abilities are synergisticand result in greater productivity. And fourth, they can defend against greater enemies.Loners are losers, for their choice of individualism guarantees their perpetual inferiority. God has chosen human society to maximize human potential. Marriage is a wonderful blessing to a single person; a family is a glorious social unit, and so it is with companies, nations, and churches. Careful regard for the vitality of the group is essential wisdom!We see the purpose of the local church from locusts. Saints join together into a common society for the greater benefits of the group. By Solomon’s four reasons, they can thrive spiritually, when they use one another. And the apostles taught this fact (Acts 2:42–47; Rom 15:1–7,13–14; I Cor 12:13–27; Gal 6:1–2; Eph 4:16; I Thess 5:14; Heb 3:12–13).Those who lightly regard God’s divine wisdom and neglect assemblies are selfish men and dangerous to the body. They should be excluded from its communion, for they are counterproductive deadbeats (Heb 10:23–25; II Thess 2:15; 3:6). Every true saint is needed to help maintain the integrity and vitality of the overall body.We also see the need for a close and unified church. What good is a church divided against itself? It will surely fall, as Jesus taught (Mat 12:25). Division in a family, city, or kingdom will bring certain ruin, so a church must be united (I Cor 1:10). God hates those who sow discord, and they also should be excluded (6:16–19; Mat 18:17; Rom 16:17–18).Regardless of how you feel about others, you cannot do nearly as much or as well by yourself, as you can with the assistance of others. And you will be a whole lot happier in the exchange, for there is great pleasure in the group dynamics of saints, especially when assisted by the power of the Holy Spirit (Ps 133:1–3). Let God and the locusts be true!Reader, do you have a locust’s wisdom? Do you understand the value of human society? Are you maximizing your marriage? Promoting your family? Building your church? Enhancing your company? Unifying your nation? Do you know how to modify your individual tendencies to serve the group’s needs? The locust teaches these things, and he does not need a king to force him to do them. He does them by obedience to his Creator!For Further Study:1.The sermon outline, “What Is a Church?” defines the nature and purpose of a church with the roles for members.2.The sermon outline, “Pillar and Ground ofthe Truth,” exalts the church’s role in defending the truth of God.3.The sermon outline, “Which Every Joint Supplies,” shows the important role of each member in church growth.4.The sermon outline, “Brotherly Love,” deals with the simple aspect of loving fellow believers in simplicity.5.The sermon outline, “The Purpose of the Church,” considers goals and objectives for churches and members.6.The sermon outline, “Blood Is Thicker than Blood,” shows the tight bond believers have through Christ’s blood.7.The sermon outline, “Am I My Brother’s Keeper?” refutes the lie that Christians can be reclusive individualists.8.The sermon outline, “The Life of the Church,” considers the true purpose for churches and their members.9.The sermon outline, “The Glory of the Church,” deals with the lofty reality of a New Testament church.10.The sermon outline, “Christian Liberty,” details freedom of church members from manmade rules of conduct.
Continuing with our theme on the Hebrew words for worship, let’s look at the three Greek words used in the New Testament for “worship”. Just as five of the Hebrew words had nothing to do with music, none of the Greek words refer to music either. The Hebrew words for worship primarily focused on the way the Israelites postured themselves before God: kneeling, bowing, raising of hands, falling prostrate, etc. God looks at the heart of a man; our worship must begin with our internal intimacy with God. The Israelites moved away from this intimacy, and their animal sacrifices became a ritual, just “going through the motions”. See how God reacts in Isaiah:
“The multitude of your sacrifices— what are they to me?” says the LORD. “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.
In the recently-published list, Bishop David Oyedepo, Pastor TB Joshua, Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, and Pastor Chris Okotie feature as numbers one, two, seven, eight and nine respectively. Nigeria’s evangelical clergymen are both wealthy and highly influential.
Apart from owning churches where worshipers have to pay 10% of their earnings, most of them also own businesses, including universities and media outlets. Most of them also own one or several private jets and are behind the rising boom of the private aircraft industry in Nigeria.
Often criticised for his emphasis on material wealth, Bishop Oyedepo owns four private jets, with a fifth recently ordered and also has buildings all around the world, including London and the US. He owns two private universities and a publishing house but has hit back at his critics in the past, saying God made him wealthy.
Bishop Oyedepo said: “Our church is for all the people who believe that Jesus already paid for them to be rich and those who don’t believe start believing when they see it happen in a lot of people’s lives. We are not ashamed to be called the church of the rich because if they call your family poor, will you be excited?
“Even when a family is poor, they hate to be called poor. No man in his right mind enjoys being called poor and nobody truly wants to be poor, although people may pretend.”
Several of these pastors have also claimed that they provide jobs through the various businesses, as their church buildings provide work for construction workers. They also claim to have helped a lot of people out of poverty.
World’s Top 10 Richest Pastors:
(10) Rev. Joseph Prince – Net worth: $5 Million (Singapore)
Annual salary of this Singaporean pastor is $550,000. Pastor Joseph Prince is the senior pastor of the New Creation Church in Singapore. The New Creation Church’s financial income was reported at $44.7m in 2008. He hosts a religious programme called Destined to Reign.
|Rev. Joseph Prince|
(9) Rev. Chris Okotie – Net worth: $10 Million (Nigeria)
Chris Okotie was a pop musician in the 1980s. He embraced the Bible and set up the Household of God Church, one of Nigeria’s most flamboyant congregations. He is an automobile lover and owns several posh cars which include a Mercedes S600, Rolls-Royce, Hummer and Porsche.
|Rev. Chris Okotie|
(8) Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo – Net worth: $10 Million (Nigeria)
Matthew Ashimolowo’s Kingsway International Christian Center is the largest Pentecostal church in the United Kingdom. It has assets worth more than $40 million and earns profit of more than $10m.
|Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo|
(7) Prophet T.B Joshua – Net worth: $15 Million (Nigeria)
Prophet Temitope Balogun Joshua is Nigeria’s most powerful, controversial and philanthropic preacher. He heads the Synagogue Church of All Nations, a congregation he founded in 1987. The Christian minister, televangelist and faith healer is a big giver; his humanitarian works include education, healthcare and rehabilitation programs. He is the owner of Emmanuel TV, a Christian television network.
|Prophet T.B Joshua|
(6) Bishop T. D Jakes – Net worth: $18 Million (United States)
Bishop T. D. Jakes is the apostle/bishop of The Potter’s House, a non-denominational American mega-church that has over 30,000 members. His ministry’s annual revival MegaFest draws more than 100,000 people.
|Bishop T. D Jakes|
(5) Evangelist Billy Graham – Net worth: $25 Million (United States)
Billy Graham is a southern Baptist. He earned celebrity status when his sermons were broadcast on radio and TV stations all over the USA. He founded the Billy Graham Evangelist Association in 1950.
|Evangelist Billy Graham|
(4) Dr. Creflo Dollar – Net worth: $27 Million (United States)
This American televangelist, pastor is also a Word of Faith teacher. He is a founder of the non-denominational World Changers Church International. He has built a multimillion dollar ministry on the message “It is the will of God for you to prosper in every way.”
|Dr. Creflo Dollar|
(3) Pastor Benny Hinn – Net worth: $42 Million (United States)
This Israeli-American televangelist earned wealth through his ministry and evangelical program. He is well-known for his regular miracle healing crusades, which are held in large stadiums in major cities and broadcasted in the TV.
|Pastor Benny Hinn|
(2) Pastor Chris Oyakhilome – Net worth: $50 Million (Nigeria)
Chris Oyakhilome’s church Christ Embassy has more than 40,000 members, several of whom are successful entrepreneurs and politicians. This pastor’s diversified interests include magazines, newspapers, a TV station, a record label, hotels, satellite TV and real estate.
|Pastor Chris Oyakhilome|
(1) Bishop David Oyedepo – Net worth: $150 Million (Nigeria)
Bishop David Oyedepo is the richest pastor in Nigeria and the world. He is the founder of the Living Faith World Outreach Ministry. Ever since he founded this ministry in 1981, it has grown to become one of Africa’s largest congregations. He hosts three services every Sunday in The Faith Tabernacle. This prosperous pastor owns private jets and homes in the US and the UK.
|Bishop David Oyedepo|