Thus, in a continuation of my thoughts from my last post, I thought I would share another animal related incident that occurred as I was out walking this morning. I was a couple of miles from our home and headed down a road that leads to a nearby lake when I noticed a small animal about a hundred yards ahead of me.
I soon realized that it was small black house cat. It was not a kitten, but rather a cat. However, it did not appear to be fully grown. I’ll call it a teenage cat. In any event, it was on the edge of the pavement and intensely preoccupied with something in the tall grass in the ditch by the side of road. In fact, it was so engrossed that it did not notice me as I slowly advanced down the road toward it.
I managed to get within about twenty feet or so of it before it suddenly looked up and caught sight of me. Apparently, it was jolted to its senses upon discovering just how close I had gotten. Immediately, it bolted upright and then darted up the road about fifty feet before turning and then heading across to the other side of the road where it quickly disappeared into the woods.
I then walked forward to see if I could discover whatever had the little cat so preoccupied. I assumed there would be a small rat or something in the grass. As I myself was peering intently into the undergrowth, I suddenly heard a commotion in a tree directly overhead. I looked up to see a very large bird of prey as it launched itself out and away from the spot.
I do not know if it was an osprey or a very large hawk. Both are fairly common here; and so it had to be one or the other. Its cry pierced the air as is swooped out over the roadway and quickly ascended above the treetops. It appeared quite agitated, as if I had interrupted its meal plans.
As I have studied on this brief episode, I have concluded that I must have interrupted a hunt within a hunt. One hunt was happening up high and the other was happening down low. In the process, I inadvertently saved one or more animals from a terrible fate, while leaving one or more other animals frustrated at the loss of their next meal.
I am confident the little cat was hunting a mouse, vole, mole, shrew, baby rabbit, or something to that effect. But it was so intently focused on its own quarry that it failed to realize that it was being hunted itself! Clearly, whatever species of predatory bird was overhead was preparing to swoop down and snatch the little cat up for its own dinner.
Of course, neither predator probably factored me blundering into the equation and ruining their hunt. Nonetheless, I did; and though some went hungry as a result, at least others lived to see another day.
As I walked on down the road reflecting on this matter, the Lord brought a few things to my mind. To begin with, the Bible makes plain that we can learn a lot from nature. All through the New Testament Gospels, Jesus alluded to nature in His teachings. He talked about the wind and the rain and the flowers and the birds. He also answered questions raised by His disciples pointing to nature, as in the case of the fig tree and the color of the sky.
In other parts of God’s word, we see the same approach. The Old Testament Psalmist references many different species of both flora and fauna as he finds way to praise God and declare His glory. The Old Testament Book of Proverbs does the same. For instance, it bids us consider the ways of the ant as it works diligently to prepare for the future. Many other examples could be cited; but these few suffice to make my point. We can learn a lot from nature.
And I learned a good lesson from it today. In his First New Testament Letter to the Corinthians (chapter 10, verse 12), the Apostle Paul cautions us to be careful when he says “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.”
While stalking its hapless prey, the little cat I encountered earlier today was no doubt feeling “large and in charge”, to quote a common phrase. Little did it know, however, just how close it came to being “small and in trouble”!
Surely there is a lesson here for all of us. We can be riding high one moment; and taken down the next. We can be in complete control one moment; and be utterly defenseless the next. We can be supremely confident one moment; and worried and afraid the next.
It behooves us all, therefore to “take heed”. In the original “Koine” (or common) Greek in which the Apostle Paul first wrote this verse, the term he employed here was “blépō”, which in its simplest form means “to see”. But scholars tell us that it means much more. It means not just “to see”, but “to be observant”, “to be watchful”.
It is the sort of thing Peter had in mind when he wrote in his First New Testament Letter (chapter 5, verse 8) for us to: “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” He says this no doubt because the one individual above all others who delights in seeing men and women go down is the devil!
In the incident I described above, the little cat was anything but alert, watchful, or observant. Instead, he was absorbed in his own world. As such, he was so preoccupied with own intentions that he failed to see the bigger picture and/or to sense the danger that came with his situation.
I didn’t have to hunt high or low to find this little lesson from nature illustrating a profound principle from God’s word. He provided it by placing it right in front of me. I just had to be alert enough to see it. I hope you have seen it as well.