Summary: Temptation is a fight for all Christians.

Judges 5:24-27 KJV Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent. [25] He asked water, and she gave him milk; she brought forth butter in a lordly dish. [26] She put her hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workmen's hammer; and with the hammer she smote Sisera, she smote off his head, when she had pierced and stricken through his temples. [27] At her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay down: at her feet he bowed, he fell: where he bowed, there he fell down dead.


-I recently ran across a provoking story that Richard Exley wrote in his book Deliver Me. He wrote it after being inspired by an essay called “Southern Flight” by Robert James Waller. It is very thought provoking.

We have been flying since the first hint of daylight and the sun is now far down in the western sky as we circle the body of water far below us. Though we have ridden a fierce north wind most of the day, weariness makes our wings heavy. Twice we have bypassed promising lakes after being alerted to danger by our experienced leader. He is a magnificent bird well past his prime, but he can still fly with the best of the young geese. He has been my mate for many winters. For the most part we have had a good life—flying north to Canada in the spring to hatch our young, and then back south with the first hint of winter—but twice we lost offspring to the deadly guns of hunters.

Through the driving snow I now see a cluster of geese huddled against a marshy bank at the far end of the lake. Being surrounded by grain fields, it promises not only a sheltered resting place but sustenance as well. We will not find a better place to spend the night, or that I am sure.

Mordecai leads us in a wide circle around the end of the lake and the adjoining field, alert for signs of danger. Though I see nothing to cause harm, I cannot shake a nagging sense of dread. Form the lake below comes the faint honking of geese at rest. It is the “all clear” signal, but I take no comfort in it, nor does Mordecai.

Well do I remember another day not much different from this one. We had ridden a cold front out of Canada and as the sun slid far down the curve of the earth we set our wings and began the long glide toward the water below. We were about to touch down when two hunters emerged from beneath a sheet of white canvas with guns blazing. Instantly Mordecai veered left, his wide wings clawing the heavy air as he fought for height. Our firstborn was flying on his right wing, just behind him, in tight formation. When Mordecai veered left he followed, taking the full load of shot intended for his father. I watched in helplessness and rage as his lifeless body folded and plunged into the water below. Other birds were dying, too, five in all, but I had eyes only for my firstborn.

The hunters’ guns continued to boom a moment more, spitting orange flame and deadly shot into the indigo sky above the slate-colored lake. I took a couple of pellets in one leg, sending a flash of burning pain to explode in my brain, but it was nothing compared to the awful ache in my heart. Riding the winds I followed the others into the safety of the wide sky, but when they turned south I lingered behind. After they were gone I continued to circle overhead, just out of the range of the guns below. I watched as the hunters began slapping each other on the back and shouting with glee before splashing through the frigid water to collect their prey.

This is on my mind as Mordecai leads us in ever tightening circles, and on his as well, I am sure. He has never been able to forgive himself for that earlier debacle, though what he could have done differently, I do not know. The fact that our firstborn took the shot intended for him has been nearly more than he can bear.

Although everything appears to be in order, Mordecai hesitates still, generating a rumble of protests from some of the young males. They resent Mordecai’s caution, but those of us who have known the terror of the hunters’ guns appreciate it. Suddenly Absalom, a two-year-old goose of magnificent proportions, breaks formation and begins a long glide toward the water below. For a moment no one follows, and then four or five of the younger birds give chase. Mordecai hisses a stern warning while the flock emits a scolding chorus. Both are ignored.

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