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Ant Empires

Romans 13:13: “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.”

Like an ancient empire, there is a species of ant whose entire society is built on slavery. In fact, raids to capture more slaves are about the only thing resembling work that western slavemaker ants do.

Western slavemakers are a species of red ant. Their survival depends on making slaves out of a related species of ant. Their slave- capturing raids are dramatic. After a scout finds a suitable nest to raid, an impressive raiding party is formed. As many as 2,500 individual ants swarm into an army that can be 3 feet wide and 16 feet long. When they reach the nest, the ants spray it with a chemical that causes the inhabitants to leave. Raiders then capture the pupae and return them to the slavemaker nest. The only life the captives will ever know is one of slavery. A single slavemaker colony may steal as many as 30,000 slaves a year.

A slavemaker nest may have 6,000 slaves to serve every need of 3,000 inhabitants. Scientists have found that hunger in the slavemaker nest is the primary cause of raids to increase the slave population. Well-fed colonies engage in fewer raids. If the slavemaker colony moves, the slaves must carry each slavemaker ant to the new location. We see a connection between the slavemakers, who work only to bring what we would regard as misery to others, and their failure to produce anything positive. This illustrates the Bible’s warning that unproductive lives and strife go hand in hand.

Prayer: Dear Father, I thank You that through the innocent suffering and death of Your Son, Jesus Christ, on my behalf, I am freed from slavery to sin. Help my life to be productive for You and free from the strife that results from our sin. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Notes: Miller, Julie Ann. 1985. “Slave-making ants rob the cradle.” Science News, Vol. 127, p. 164.

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