“And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts,
in that day when I make up MY JEWELS.”
To my dear grandchildren,
The Praying Mantis
“The Lord is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all His works.”
Late in the fall, the female praying mantis lays a mass of 100 or more eggs, which she glues to a tree or shrub with a sticky substance from her body. This sticky substance covers the eggs and protects them throughout the winter months.
When spring warmth arrives, the eggs hatch and the larvae begin lives of eating insects. Sometimes the stronger ones even eat their weaker brothers and sisters before they get away. Exposed to the air, the larva skin promptly hardens, but as it grows, the skin splits open and drops off. This process, called moulting, is repeated several times, until by mid-summer the larva has finished its growth and its wings appear.
The praying mantis prefers to catch its prey alive. Its green or brown colour camouflages it to look just like part of the plants on which it rests. It holds its front legs up, making it look like it is praying, and remains perfectly still until some unsuspecting victim comes along. With a head that can turn 180 degrees, it usually doesn’t have to wait long before seeing a beetle, caterpillar, fly, aphid or other insect coming close, which is quickly captured. The front legs of the mantis have sharp hooks, and once the victim has been grasped, it has no chance of escape. God has given it an instinct to bite through the nerve center at the back of the victim’s neck, bringing instant death. A praying mantis has only one ear, on the underside of its belly.
Its way seem cruel, but since it destroys many harmful insects, it is a friend of every farmer and gardener and should not be harmed by anyone. Since they are so beneficial, egg cases (each with many eggs inside) can be purchased to place in fields and gardens to control many harmful insects.
In observing the ways of this insect, we see another example of the way God has arranged for the care of one more of His creatures and at the same time providing a necessary means of helping to control harmful insects.
As the mantis appears to be praying but is actually waiting to catch its food, its manner of life makes us think of those who do not really know the Lord Jesus as their Saviour, yet they appear to be religious. The Lord saw many people like this and on one occasion said, “Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing . . . and the chief seats in the synagogues, and . . . which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers” (Mark 12:38-40).
But to those who sincerely seek the Lord, He promises them, “The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him, to all that call upon Him in truth” (Psalm 145:18). He will always hear your prayer when you speak to Him with a true heart.
Love you all,