November 24, 2011
Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. James 1:15
I blame Noah for not going slap, slap and getting rid of the mosquitoes, which carry malaria.
If he had, the animal that is responsible for more human deaths than any other would have been eliminated.
But Noah didn't go slap, slap and as a result over 800,000 people die of malaria each year. The ones who are most affected are children under the age of five. Their undeveloped immune systems make it easy for the parasitic illness to get a foothold.
For over 40 years scientists have been trying to get a vaccine that would do something to halt the illness. Now it appears an answer, at least a partial answer, has been found. Rather than trying to stop the illness, an inoculation of RTS,S will try to develop the immune system.
Preliminary trials have shown that the vaccine RTS,S can probably cut malaria cases in half. Further trials are going to take place next year when the vaccine is given to 15,000 children in seven African countries.
Now there are a number of ways this devotion could go. We could talk about thanking God for the breakthrough. That would at this time of year be right and proper.
Instead, I would like to go back to slap, slap and point out that all of these deaths and all of the suffering caused by malaria have come from a small -- a very small culprit.
It occurs to me that Adam and Eve might have looked at the forbidden fruit and said, "What harm can taking a little bite do?" They didn't, and we see the tragedies that first sin has produced. I know there has been more than one time in my life when I've thought this little temptation can't do much damage. I can handle it. I'll be all right.
Does that sound familiar?
As far as the Lord is concerned there isn't such a thing as a small, manageable sin. From His perspective a little temptation is pretty much like knocking down the first domino in a long line of the black blocks. Once they get going, it's pretty hard to stop them.
This is why when it comes to temptation His advice is simple: slap, slap!
Get rid of those temptations right away.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, forgive me when I think of myself as being good enough, smart enough, strong enough to defeat temptation and sin. I can't. Send Your Holy Spirit so I may avoid temptation and grant me the presence of the Savior for forgiveness when I fall and fail. This I pray in my Savior's Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries