June 10, 2017

Milk and Honey (and Bees)

Exodus 3:1-10

I have come down to rescue them . . . and to bring them . . . into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey.

—  Exodus 3:8

One of my sons and I keep bees. We have learned a great deal about these fascinating creatures in God’s garden. Bees are an intricate part of the ecosystem, especially for the pollination of fruit trees and vegetables. We have developed a deep respect and love for bees. So I was bothered to see that bees are mentioned in the Bible—in passing or negatively—only a few times.

But our verse for today does mention “milk and honey” to describe the bountiful promised land to which God would bring his people. That phrase crops up again and again in the history of God’s people. A land flowing with honey signals a great harvest of fruit and vegetables made possible by bees pollinating plants and trees. And the honey they produce is really their food, but they “share” it with us and other creatures.

I don’t think it bothers bees that they don’t get more credit for how they benefit the ecology of God’s garden as they produce their sweet honey. They are “fearfully and wonderfully made” creatures that simply go about the work God has given them in his world. The bees teach me also to simply go about my work and “not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).

Lord, thank you for bees and for their work that blesses us with fruits and honey. Teach us to be like bees in your kingdom, sharing the bounty of your creation. Amen.

About the author — Don Byker

Don Byker has been a pastor since 1984 in various churches and institutional settings. Don and his wife, Donna, are the parents of four adult children, two of whom are married. Donna and Don are also the glad grandparents of three granddaughters. Currently Don is serving in a rural church in Michigan full of gardeners.

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