Stinging nettles

My last post had stinging in it. (See Scorpions.) This one does to, of a different nature. So it’s time once again for another tale from the ranch!

Back in 2012, we were working on putting in a french drain for one of our springs on the ranch. Along the backside of the hill where the spring was located, were a bunch of weeds that needed to be pulled, so we could lay the pond liner down. Since the guys were moving the dead fall trees, the weed pulling was my job. They covered a 25 foot length of the hillside. It was a lovely July day, and I was wearing a t-shirt.

About 5 feet into it, my arms were getting covered in welts and burning something fierce! Turns out those weeds were stinging nettles! Luckily, there was a bunch of gray clay-mud right next to me, so I covered my arms in it to relieve the pain and burning. It worked!

Stinging nettles have sharp hairs on its leaves. These hairs contain chemicals, such as formic acid and histamine, which can irritate the skin and cause stinging, itching, and redness. I was reminded of my ranch “adventure” after we watched a nature show recently.

On this show, they showed a big crow setting down on an ant hill trying to eat some of the ants. At first the ants swarmed around and began nipping his legs. Then the ants began spraying the bird, and it flew off. Why? Because several species of ants defend themselves and their colonies by spraying formic acid from their abdomens directly into the eyes of predators (or any animal in their way.) Though harmless to humans in low concentrations, the acid can burn the skin of small animals and cause blindness, and victims generally end up starving to death.

Same acid as found on stinging nettles! You can learn something new everyday!

So when I found stinging nettles in the Bible, I had to know more. Stinging nettles and thorns grow up where the land is either deserted, abandoned, or neglected. The patch of land that I had been pulling them out of had not been tended to in decades. When we bought the land, it was vacant property. We purchased the absolute water rights for the springs which had been originally filed on in 1952. But the owners lived in another state, and had not done any work on that particular spring since the 1970’s.

“I walked by the field of a lazy person, the vineyard of one with no common sense. I saw that it was overgrown with nettles. It was covered with weeds, and its walls were broken down.” (Prov 24:30-31)

“Even if you escape destruction from Assyria, Egypt will conquer you, and Memphis will bury you. Nettles will take over your treasures of silver; thistles will invade your ruined homes.” (Hosea 9:6)

“Now, as surely as I live,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, “Moab and Ammon will be destroyed—destroyed as completely as Sodom and Gomorrah. Their land will become a place of stinging nettles, salt pits, and eternal desolation. The remnant of my people will plunder them and take their land.” (Zeph. 2:9)

“Thorns will overrun its palaces; nettles will grow in its forts. The ruins will become a haunt for jackals and a home for ostriches.” (Isa. 34:13)

If you neglect your walk with God by not spending time in His Word, praying, and meeting with fellow believers, your soul will be deserted, and abandoned. It will be desolate and overgrown with stinging nettles that hurt and burn until you realize your neglect, and pull them out by the roots. As one who has literally lived through such an example, I don’t ever want to do that to my soul. I want to keep it fresh and alive. Which is why I had hope when I found this verse.

“Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow. Where nettles grew, myrtles will sprout up. These events will bring great honor to the LORD’s name; they will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.” (Isa. 55:13)

In ancient Israel, cypress represented healing, uprightness, and evergreen eternal life. They are long living trees that are able to endure harsh climates and poor soil. The myrtle is a slow growing fragrant tree, that is always green, with big beautiful blossoms and a strong root system. Even when it is cut to a stump, it’s roots cause it to sprout again.

What a wonderful word picture of how God wants us to be. This is the option I pray we all choose. Then we will not have to cover ourselves with mud to relieve the pain of neglecting God! Because, trust me, once that mud dried on me, it was awful to get off! It is much easier to tend your soul in the first place.

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19 thoughts on “Stinging nettles

  1. Wonderful parable but the stinging nettles are definitely what we do not want. May none of our land become desolate but fruitful and covered with wonderful trees and produce. I speak this over our land and over each one of our lives. Hallelujah!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this post about nettles…I remember them well from my childhood. Falling in nettle patches was a painful business, which sent you plucking dock leaves which when rubbed on soothed the rash. It made me think how great it is that the Creator also provides such medicine for ailments. Incidentally nettles make a therapeutic tea said to be beneficial in the treatment of many things such as muscle pain, arthritis, IBS, and lowering blood pressure. What an amazing Creator we worship and serve!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I so love this and did not realize how many scriptures had stinging nettles in them. Where I lived in Oregon, there were stinging nettles along the ditch banks of the canals. You always had to be careful of them.

    Liked by 1 person

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