Many years ago, when we lived in a Highland Glen, we used to keep chickens. They had a warm and dry home in a little run, but during the day they got a chance to enjoy the garden, pecking and scratching in the earth; they just loved the freedom! By day we could watch over them and by night we had provided them a place of safety.
But there was a problem. Sometimes one would decide that the freedom she had, was so good, that surely, more freedom would be even better. So, she would choose not to return at dusk to her safe home. She didn’t know why she needed to! However with greater knowledge we understood why this wasn’t a wise choice: the area was also home to several fox families and chicken was their favourite supper snack, especially when there were cubs to feed.
The chicken had assumed she could make herself more happy by having more freedom to ‘do her own thing’, but sadly, on these occasions we usually found a tell-tale pile of feathers the next day…not such a happy ending! Her life was gone; her fruitful, egg-laying potential was lost and no joy in greater freedom had been found. All that remained was a very tragic reminder of her vulnerability, because of her limited understanding.
The moral of this tale is clear. Many of us choose a sort of ‘freedom’ by leaving the protection of God’s watchful eye and caring boundaries, which would keep us safe. We desire the freedom to ‘do it our way’ because we don’t know what He knows! He has made a way for us to live safely, but sometimes we want more freedom, to satisfy our own desires. Perhaps we enter into wrong relationships, tell lies to cover our guilt, or watch lustful things on TV. Surely, we reason, I am free to try to get more happiness, aren’t I?
But we are moving out from the protection of the One who wants to watch over us and protect us, our Heavenly Father. He knows the consequences that we may not know…but He wants us to learn that He always knows best. We live in evil days (Ephesians 5:16) and men and women are now vulnerable to the attentions of the evil one, Satan. He has authority over this fallen world, as Jesus tells us (John 14: 31) and according to Peter, in our verse today, he prowls around like a ‘roaring lion’ - or maybe a hungry fox - looking for whom he can devour.
The good news is that God sees and knows our plight. He, Himself, is our place of safety and refuge by day and by night. He watches over us and never slumbers nor sleeps. Our obedience to His ways keeps us safe: our ‘going our own way’ makes us very vulnerable. I don’t want to end up like a pile of feathers – do you?
Prayer: Father, thank You that You watch over me by day and by night. I ask, that Your Holy Spirit would convict me when I am in danger of ‘going my own way’ so my potential is not eaten up by the work of the enemy. In Jesus name, Amen.
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