RELIGION: Infuriated by insects

Two weeks ago, I wrote a column entitled "Intimidated by Insects." This week, I submit to you part 2 of this series on bugs: Infuriated by Insects.

When we lived in Georgia our family fought Argentine ants every spring and summer. Before I go any further, I must make one giant disclaimer: one thing you should know about my wife, Samantha, is that she keeps an immaculate house. Our kitchen floor is so clean a doctor could perform surgery on it. I love that about her.

Every year, as sure as the calendar flipped from May to June, these ants would find their way in, drawn by one small, minuscule crumb that had fallen to the floor. The most likely culprit was our 4-year old's penchant for Oreos. We discovered she and Argentine ants have voracious appetites for them.

I would usually be working unassumingly at my desk at the church, and Samantha would call me up to inform me the invaders had shown their ugly face and they were marching like an army toward the pantry. I would come home from the office and arm myself with Windex and Terro and vanquish my foes back from whence they came. I would spray and wipe and spray and wipe for an hour until not a single black speck moved in our pantry or on our walls. I would stand victoriously at the end and shout out, in my best Gandalf voice, "You....shall not...pass."

I had eliminated every trace of them. I had upended the pantry, I threw out the sugary cookies, the half-eaten bags of chips were tossed, anything that might prove to be a lure for those cursed ants was removed. I had conquered my foes. Their reign of terror was no more. We were free of the wretched marauders.

A week later, I'd get a call at the office that the trespassers had, once again, found their way in and had set up shop -- and zeal for my house consumed me. Those ants just didn't get a clue. The Windex and Terro came back out and I got back to work kicking them out.

In John chapter 2, Jesus performed His first miracle. That miracle marked the beginning of His ministry. One of His first actions is to make His way to the Temple only to see sellers of animals and money changers making money hand over fist, ripping off the poor and clogging the Court of the Gentiles with commotion -- which inhibited their ability to worship God -- and this angers Jesus. He runs them all out and chastises them for making the Temple a marketplace. The scene reminds the disciples of Psalm 69:9: "Zeal for your house consumes me!"

Fast forward three years and Jesus enters Jerusalem to the sound of praise (we call this the Triumphal Entry). With the cross before Him, He walks into the Temple and sees the invaders have made their way back in -- just like those Argentine ants in our house in Georgia. Once again, he runs them off, knocks over the tables, turns over chairs and money goes flying. He reminds them, "The Scriptures declare, 'My Temple will be a house of prayer,' but you have turned it into a den of thieves.'" (Luke 19:46)

Jesus was angered that they didn't heed His words the first time -- that they had disregarded the true worship of God and allowed greed to infiltrate the Temple. Is there anything that has infiltrated us, His Temple? If there is, call on and trust in His grace to show it to you, let Him rid you of it -- and rest in His love.

Listen to "When Love Sees You" by Mac Powell.

Jeremy DeGroot is Lead Pastor at FBC Siloam Springs, a husband, daddy, and musician. You can contact him via email at [email protected] or reach out on Facebook.