Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Yield Not To Temptation"1 (Lyrics)
Have you ever thought of God as our heavenly beekeeper? I never did — until I had a visit with a beekeeper.
I'll never forget that day, sitting with the beekeeper in his home and hearing him talk about his bees. He owns a few hundred hives and is losing his bees — millions of them — mainly due to pesticide use. But it was not the gruelling facts or statistics that gripped me that day; it was the way he talked about his bees. I sensed his deep empathy for them. He felt both sorrow and joy. He said, "When I open a hive and I hear the sound of those bees all humming, I feel very happy. I know they are happy too, busily doing what they are made to do."
Then, as he described their suffering, I saw him suffer too. I heard it in his voice; I saw it in his eyes. He shared how he'd watch them stumble around with wobbly legs in a confused stupor. They were too sick to fulfill their duties, too weak to care for their young.
For this beekeeper, their loss is his loss. Every bee matters, each one of those millions, all those who are sick or who have left the hive never to return. This beekeeper feels agony for his bees in ways that they can never know. And I could not have known this either, until I was in the presence of this beekeeper and listened to him share his heart.
That reminds me of God. God cares for each one of the seven billion people on earth in ways that they can never know — certainly not when they are distanced from His presence. Here is how God is much more than a beekeeper: God can restore people to Himself through repentance and faith. Their salvation gives Him great joy; and we are privileged to enter into His joy.
The first question in the Westminster Shorter Catechism is this: "What is the chief end of man?" The answer: "Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever."
Of course we must remember Christ's suffering, but I believe that God's highest desire is that we know and experience His joy. Jesus said, "I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." (John 15:11 NIV) Our heavenly beekeeper rejoices to hear us "humming" together, being who we were made to be: filled with the full measure of God's joy. That's our God-given destiny.
If you sense that your life is not empowered by the joy of the Lord, you may wish to pray this prayer:
Prayer: Dear heavenly beekeeper, I want to experience Your joy over me. Show me what habits or barriers are pushing me away from You and keeping me from being who You called me to be. Purify my heart from all uncleanness, and restore to me the joy of Your salvation. Amen.