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It was a beautiful November morning. The air was clean, clear, and crisp. The hunter sat motionless in his stand twenty feet above the ground. He felt the bite of the wind on his exposed face. His eyes began to water, but he dared not move in order to wipe them. He needed to cough, but by shear willpower suppressed it for he could not afford to make any noise. The hunter was here for the purpose of harvesting a magnificent buck. The hunter had well chosen this spot from which to hunt this deer. He knew from extensive scouting that the buck would cross the trail below him. It was not a matter of "if," rather a matter of "when." The hunter's equipment was in excellent condition. His rifle operated smoothly and his scope was adjusted to near perfection. He had only to wait for the inevitable.
The buck was moving at first light. Upon awakening he had laid very still listening intently to the sounds around him. Once convinced that all was as it should be, he stood and tested the air for any scent of danger. Now reassured that no danger was present, he cautiously made his way to a nearby water source where he satisfied his thirst. The buck then alertly headed down the trail which led to his favorite acorn trees where he would spend the morning grazing.
Because the hunter knew where to look, he saw the buck coming from a great distance. Because the hunter was a student of the nature of deer, he knew what the buck would do. Five hundred yards from the hunter, the buck suddenly froze. He lifted his head and tested the air. Something was wrong, but what? The buck turned and walked back into a little thicket of small trees and briers. Hidden in this thicket, the buck waited. After thirty minutes, the buck's hunger overrode his instinctive caution. He again headed for his favorite acorn trees where the hunter sat patiently waiting.
It is true that the buck proceeded with caution, but still he proceeded. He walked into danger not knowing that this would be the biggest mistake of his life. Within two hundred yards of the desired acorns, the hunter fired his rifle and the buck lost his life. How different it would have been had the buck identified the danger he faced. He would then have run from this danger as fast as his legs could have carried him. He may have been hungry for a short time, however, he would have been alive and safe. But, in reality, how could he have recognized the danger he faced? The hunter was well prepared; the hunter had gained a position above the buck's normal line of vision; the wind was in the hunter's face, therefore, the buck could not smell him. By placing his stand in the acorn trees, the hunter had exploited the buck's greatest weakness. The hunter knew that the buck would take chances in order to reach a food source. The buck followed the nature of his species and lost his life. If the buck could have employed the reasoning power of humanity, he would not have been such easy prey, or would he have been? There is another hunt in which humanity is the prey.
It is a day, just another day. The hunter is not concerned with the quality of the air, nor with its temperature; this hunter is not concerned with remaining motionless or quiet, in fact he is always in motion. ". . . your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8b). This hunter has felt the bite of eternal damnation. ". . . Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41 b.) The passion for the hunt is strong in this hunter, for he has little time remaining in which he may hunt. "Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the seal for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time" (Revelation 12:12b). The hunter knows the nature of humanity and has chosen his weapons well. Greed is well-oiled and slips easily into the minds of men. Lust is a high-caliber bullet which easily penetrates the hearts of men. The hunter is armed with greed, lust, and other equally powerful ammunition. The hunt begins.
Humanity awakens and the hunter smiles as he observes the lack of caution on the part of his prey. Upon awakening, they dash headlong into the world never checking for signs of danger. The world is the hunter's domain, for he is the prince of this world (John 12:31; 14:30). For the most part the hunter only observes, for the bulk of humanity is already his. This prey has already been tagged, never recognizing the dangerous presence of the hunter. Through observation, the hunter knows what they will do. It is not a matter of "if," rather a matter of "when." They follow many paths but the hunter is the master of all paths, and the paths all lead to destruction, all except one. Jesus, the Son of God, the hunter's greatest adversary, said, ". . . strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matthew 7:14). The Son of God defeated the hunter, for all of the hunter's weapons are designed to cause man to sin and to keep him on the path of sin. But the Son of God provided an alternative road. He provided the strait and narrow road which overcomes sin and leads to eternal life. " . . . Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:9-11).
The hunter hates that path, for he has little power over those who walk upon it. He does what he can by tempting those on the path. He tempts them with that which appeals to each individual, but they too are well-armed. "And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall. For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:5-11). He continually stalks the edges of that path because once in a while someone becomes blind and they do forget, and they step off of that protected path. When this occurs the hunter attacks with fury and determination. This one who had been beyond the hunters reach, this one who has now exposed himself to the rending claws of the hunter, this one receives special attention. Once the hunter has spiritually mauled this coveted prey, he knows that repentance is the only thing that can reclaim the erring one. The hunter loses some of his prey in this way, but not many, for man is a prideful being.
Satan is a determined and ever-active hunter. He tempted Jesus, our Lord, to no avail. Jesus gave us a great example in dealing with the devil. Notice one temptation and the Lord's reply to the evil one. "And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve" (Luke 4:5-8). In this confrontation the Lord employed the Word of God. He also resisted Satan and said, "get away from me." We must react to temptation in the same way. We must employ the Word of God in every facet of our lives and we must resist the devil. "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7).
If you have stepped off the strait and narrow path and you have not, through repentance, stepped back on again, Satan has you right where he wants you. If you rush about this world and have not humbled yourself in obedience to the will of God, you are in the devil's snare. In either case you can escape the grasp of the hunter only by making yourself right with God.
If you are an erring child of God, come back to the Father. Do as Peter instructed Simon to do. (Acts 8: 21b-22) ". . . thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee."
If you have never been obedient to the will of God, escape the evil one and his fate by becoming a child of God. If you do not know how to be saved, this is the only way. You must not only listen but you must really hear what God's Word teaches. "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). The truth of the Bible is evident. You must not fight the truth, rather believe it. "And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe" (Acts 15:7). You must turn away from sin and pursue godliness. "And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now, commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained, whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead" (Acts 17:30-31). You must recognize the source of salvation by confessing Jesus to be the Son of God. "And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God" (Acts 8:37). You must be immersed in the waters of baptism. "And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16). You must then remain faithful to the Lord all of your days (2 Peter 1:4-10).