Friday, August 18, 2017

"Put Your Hand Down There and Find Out"

Psalm 101.3-4 NASU

“I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; It shall not fasten its grip on me. A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will know no evil.”

Once while hiking with my wife and kids, I noticed a hole in the ground just large enough to house a small animal. I thought aloud, “I wonder what lives down there?” My wife responded with a smile, “Put your hand down there and find out.”

It frightens me to imagine what might “fasten its grip on me” in the bottom of that hole. I’m not putting my hand in there. I have a mental picture of a stupidly curious guy coming up with a rock badger or rattle snake or giant spider fastened to his hand. I’m not afraid to go hiking. It’s a perfectly safe and fun activity... as long as I refrain from poking my hand in active critter dens. I have no control over what a wild thing might do when I go feeling around in his dark and private residence. If I stay on the trail and keep my hands to myself, chances are excellent that nothing harmful will “fasten its grip on me.”

King David, the author of the psalm at the top of this post, was bold enough to state, “no worthless thing [will]... fasten its grip on me.” He would “know no evil.” How could David be so sure? He probably knew better than to stick his hand in “worthless thing” holes.

I pass a variety of holes each day of my hike through life… conversations guaranteed to go nowhere, business opportunities sounding ‘too good to be true,’ so-called friends who want to “invest” my money or waste my time, activities and relationships I know will lead to sin, most television shows, a provocative trail of web links and click-bati, and a whole host of other distractions. Some of these holes seem harmless enough... at first. But experience tells me most are homes for creepy things that will not benefit me in any way. Of course, I won’t know for sure until I “put my hand down there and find out.”

Sometimes my stupid curiosity gets the better of me. I’ve stuck my hand in more than my share of dark and foreboding holes. As a result, I’ve been bit by one or two nasty people and suffered through a few “worthless” activities. It was difficult to wrench myself free from their “grip on me.” These unfortunate experiences have redemptive value. They dissuade me from the temptation to blindly explore other dangerous holes. There’s no telling what kind of evil lurks down there and what might “fasten its grip on me.”

It would be best for me stay on the path and avoid unknown holes altogether if I want to “know no evil” and sincerely intend that...

“…no worthless thing… shall... fasten its grip on me.”

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