From Beauty to Beast

Though I'm not a "nature boy" or wildlife expert by any means I've always been fascinated by animals, both domestic and in the wild. My first dog, Penny, a Springer Spaniel, was a beloved friend. Over the years I enjoyed other dogs and cats as pets. As a child I remember enjoying watching the many varied birds fly around in our back yard, eating from the feeders, and bathing in our bird bath ... and squirrels playfully scurried around brought great entertainment to my watching eyes. As I grew older I encountered other fascinating critters - raccoons, possums, snakes (yes ... I hated them back then too), ducks, and whatever else was common in north Florida. Occasionally we would spot something exotic like a deer or turkey out in a field or some geese flying overhead. One of the highlights of my childhood was going to Lion Country Safari in south Florida - lions, zebras, giraffes (one of whom tried to eat the luggage on top of our car), monkeys, rhinoceros, etc. all in one place. To this day I love watching Jack Hanna!

Ok, so deer and turkeys and geese aren't so exotic anymore but it's still pretty cool to see deer or turkeys.  Geese, on the other hand ... I now hate them! They have to be among the most annoying creatures in the entire animal kingdom. They're rude, aggressive, loud, gross critters that are trying to take over civilization. And they're not afraid of us ... they just laugh at our attempts to run them off. A few years ago I thought it was sort of cute when a couple of geese would land in our neighborhood ... now they come in by the dozens, honking their way into my yard, leaving a trail of poop everywhere. They are a certified nuisance.

As we've been studying Leviticus, have you wondered why God seems so serious about sin, imperfection, impurity? Why won't a lame or imperfect animal suffice for the offering? So what if there's a bit of leaven or honey in the grain offering? Is it the end of the world if some of the fatty meat ends up in tonight's stew? Why make such a fuss if I inadvertently brushed against a dead mouse with my foot? Is it really the end of the world if I put off paying for a service rendered because I have some other expenses?

Sin is like geese ... it seems so innocent, even rather cute, when it's small and seemingly manageable. But consider two things: First, when seen in the light of God's stunning holiness, no sin is innocent, cute, or manageable. Second, sin never stays small. One day you think everything is okay and the next you wake up to loud sounds of honking and poop everywhere. And when you try to run off this sin in your own strength, it just laughs at you and continues to grow in number and strength. Only Jesus Christ is sufficient and capable to deal with the sin and impurity in our lives. 

I (we) need to get serious about identifying and dealing with sin ... not hypothetical or theoretical sin, but actual sin. I need to get serious about clinging to the cross of Jesus Christ because that's where sin is dealt a death blow ... I don't defeat sin, but Jesus did and does as I run to Him in faith and trust in the powerful, cleansing, atoning blood He shed for me.

Now, if I could get Jesus to do something about these geese in my yard!