It is hunting season. It’s time to grab the guns, buy some ammo, head to the fields and forests, and kill something. At least for some of us. Others of us prefer to drive to the store and bag something up to bring home for supper. Some of us hunt for game while others hunt for bargains.
Personally, I have no problem with hunting, but I didn’t grow up in a hunting family so it has never been a large part of who I am. I’ve sat waiting for some passing deer (didn’t get one). I’ve listened intently for a clucking turkey (heard them but didn’t get one). Both were enjoyable experiences. But in my opinion, no hunting beats hog hunting.
The first time I went hog hunting, my friend Danny and I set out early one morning with a few friends and a few dogs. They put their guns on their belts. Then they put GPS collars on their dogs. They showed me the GPS screen we were following and we set off. There was no need to whisper or be quiet, because you want the hog to come out of hiding. There was no sitting and waiting, because you let the dogs do most of the work. We walked briskly through waist high grass, climbed over fences, and searched loudly for some hogs. After about 30 minutes of walking, one of the dogs howled. They had found a hog. We set off running after the sound of their barking as they chased the hog through the fields. We couldn’t see the dogs, and definitely couldn’t keep up with them, but we tried. After about 10 minutes of chasing the dogs, they quit barking. Danny told me that meant they had a hog waiting for us. We followed the directions on the GPS screen and quickly found the dogs pulling a hog out from a large gathering of palmetto bushes. Those dogs had a hog by its ears and were pulling its head down to the ground so it couldn’t get away.
At this point, Danny tells me to jump on in there. My face must have looked frightened since Danny laughed at me and then gave me some instructions. I was supposed to jump behind the struggling hog, grab its hind legs, yank them up in the air and turn them to the side so the hog would fall over and quit struggling with the dogs. Then I was to climb on top of the angry, 100+ pound hog, place my knee on its neck and pin its head down to the ground. Easy right? Actually, it was much simpler than it sounded. We got the hog, we saved the dogs, and someone got their Thanksgiving wild hog to eat.
All of this reminds me of a passage of Scripture. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you” (James 4.7-8a). All of these imperative seem like hunting words: submit, resist, flee, draw near.
I had to submit to the instructions. Even if it meant doing something incredibly outside my comfort zone. Before this point, I was scared to even pet a barnyard piglet, yet here I was jumping on top and wrestling a wild hog. Similarly, if we want to live life right, we have to submit to His instructions.
The hog resisted us. This hog knew how to flee. She ran as if her life depended on it, and it did. We are to run from the devil in the same way. We are to run vigilantly, tirelessly, and as if our life depends on it. We are not to flirt with sin, dance around spiritual danger, or play peek-a-boo with the devil. We are to run, fast and furious. It’s the only way we can avoid danger because the devil is running after us with a GPS tracker (cf. 1 Peter 5.8).
The one thing the hog did not do, which probably would have saved her, was run to safety. She tried to hide from dogs who could sniff her out of the overgrowth. If she instead ran to the safety of a larger hog, with dangerous tusks, and more strength and weight, we would have had to run for our safety. This is what James tells us to do. Don’t just run from the devil and hide. Don’t try to go it alone. We are to flee from the devil and run to the One who can save us. If we will run from the devil into the arms of God, He will draw near to us and protect us. There no place safer than being wrapped up in the arms of our Father.