Tuesday, January 09, 2007

All Shall Be Well

I'd have to put hunting on the list of things that I thought I'd never do, thought I'd never enjoy, but have taken great pleasure in. I went on my first hunt about 7 years ago with David King, Todd Howard, Steve Barrett and Corky Traylor. The morning after our first hunt (an evening hunt), I went out and sat in a tree stand not far from the hunting cabin. It was a cold, wet morning and the stand wasn't particularly comfortable. Truth be told, I wasn't particularly comfortable. The night before was only the 2nd time I had ever shot a hunting rifle, and when I pulled the trigger, I landed a doe at about 200 yards. Not a bad shot for a beginner. So here I was, all alone, cold, in unfamiliar territory, waiting for a large buck that Corky said had been in the area.

After being in the stand for about 3 1/2 hours I was about to pack it in and head back to the cabin when I heard some rustling leaves behind me. Now, if you've ever been hunting, this isn't an unfamiliar sound. As a matter of fact, I had spent most of the morning contemplating blasting a couple of squirrels with a high-powered rifle who had kept me on pins and needles all morning as they played in the leaves behind my stand. Every time I thought I was hearing an approaching deer actually turned out to be those two little tormenting squirrels.

But after 3 1/2 hours I was finally able to discern the difference between a larger animal and those pesky little squirrels. The rustling I was hearing behind me was different. Unfortunately, the animal was coming up from behind me and I found it difficult to get a good look at the approaching beast without exposing my position. So I waited patiently. My heart rate began to accelarate. I was getting anxious. I could tell the beast was getting closer. I finally decided to peak over my left shoulder. As soon as I did the deer bolted off into the thick woods. I briefly had a shot at the bounding white-tail, but the best I could have done was injure the deer, so I relented. It was a big deer. And it lived to see another day. But don't feel too sorry for me. Later that night I shot a nice little 6-point buck. On three hunts I saw over 13 deer and shot a buck and a doe. Not bad for a first-timer.

I thought of this hunting experience this morning as I read Genesis 9. After God sends the wind to dry out the world He had flooded, He establishes a covenant with Noah. He promises to never again flood the earth, even though God is grievously aware that the condition of man's heart has not changed since the earth and heavens opened up and flooded this planet. Notice that God makes the covenant and promise never to curse the ground again because of man, even though "the intention of man's heart is evil from his youth" (8:21). Nothing has changed within man as a result of God's judgment. As a matter of fact, even righteous Noah is later exposed as a drunk (9:21).

God blesses Noah and his sons and gives them specific instruction: "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth" (9:1). And then we discover why my potential trophy deer ran away. "The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every bird of the heavens, upon everything that creeps on the ground and all the fish of the sea. Into you hand they are delivered" (9:2). Sin ruined my hunt! Of course I am being facetious, but the reality is that the spooked deer that picked up my scent and scatted off into the forest is a reminder that all is not well in this world. The sin of man affected not only man, but all of creation. Creation has been subjected to futility (Rom 8:20) because of the intention of man's heart is evil.

But Jesus has come to set humanity free. And not only humanity, but all of creation. Creation has been waiting for the revealing of the sons of God with "eager longing" (Rom 8:19). Creation is "groaning in the pains of childbirth" (8:22). And we will both find fullness, in Jesus Christ, as the redemption of our bodies (8:23). It will be then that the Son of God, Jesus, will reign in the fullness of His righteousness over the earth and the heavens. And at that time, "The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze; the young shall lie down together; the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall lay over the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child shall put his hand into the adder's den. They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah 11:6-9).


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