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It’s sort of like the fable that evangelist D. L. Moody used to tell. It seems there were two eagles. One of the eagles won every race and the other eagle was jealous. One day, the jealous eagle overheard a hunter say, “I’d bring down that eagle if I had decent fletching on my arrows.” The eagle eagerly pulled out some of his own feathers and dropped them in front of the hunter. The hunter saw what had happened and smiled. He quickly fitted the feathers into his arrows, took aim at the faster eagle, and moaned, “Oh, that eagle is so fast that I’ll need more fletched arrows to bring that one down.” Hearing this, the jealous eagle pulled out some more feathers, so many more that he could no longer fly. This time, the hunter notched his arrow, turned around, and killed the jealous eagle instead of the fast one. (from Moody’s Anecdotes, pp. 44-45)

In Moody’s fable, it was the eagle’s jealousy that brought him down, but the tragedy is that the eagle brought disaster on himself because he was oblivious to his danger. This is what has happened to Ephraim (Israel). Like an athlete who doesn’t know when it’s time to retire and seems to have made a parody of his own persona without realizing it, God’s people are ineffective without realizing it. When we lose our sense of God’s presence, God’s purpose, and God’s power, we lose our ability to truly serve God.

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