Matthew 26:41 - (Jesus said) "Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
Every year a couple million people wander through Yellowstone National Park.
This they do so they can see some interesting peculiarities of nature. Geysers, paint pots, and acid pools all contribute to the mystical, magical, wonderful look of the place. In spite of the summertime crowds, it's a wonderful location for an individual to get close to nature.
Unfortunately, it is possible for people to get too close to nature.
Consider 59-year-old Kim Hancock of Santa Rosa, California. She, along with a number of friends, was on the boardwalk, a wooden sidewalk which makes it easier for visitors to walk through a difficult area, and keeps them from trampling rare vegetation. The National Park Service shares her story. The group was walking along the boardwalk when that came upon a bison. Now the Park Service has some recommendations for people when they find themselves in such a situation.
In this case, the rangers would have recommended backing away from the bison until there is 75 feet of separation. This particular group of tourists didn't give that wide a berth to the bison. When some of the folks got about 15 feet away, the bison crossed the boardwalk and became "agitated."
The bison charged at Hancock and gored her in the hip. Her hospital says she is in "good condition."
Hancock is one person who can tell you that it's easy to get too close to nature. This year, at Yellowstone there are a number of others who would echo the sentiment. For example, there was a 72-year-old woman who was butted by a bison she hadn't seen. Then there were two people who had unfortunate -- and painful -- encounters with some elk.
So, class, what have we learned about nature today?
* Hopefully, you have learned that while nature may be beautiful and fascinating, it can also be dangerous.
* We should also have learned that if we are truly going to be safe, we would be wise to keep plenty of distance between the more dangerous parts of nature and ourselves.
Those same two sentences can also be applied to the sinful seductions of the devil, the world, and our flesh.
You see, every year the world turns out new variations on its old seductions. Every year people take a look at these temptations, and they find themselves intrigued. They know it might be dangerous, but they take a gamble. They want to get a little closer; they want to see a little better; they want to try the temptation to see if it is just as good as they think it will be.
The next thing they know BAM! some sin has nailed them real good.
When dealing with temptations to evil, it is far better we listen to Jesus. He, who carried our sins to the cross, and gave Himself for our redemption, encourages us to watch and pray so we may avoid temptation. It is his way of saying, "Temptation may look good, but it is too dangerous to mess with."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, there has been only one Person in this world who has successfully resisted temptation, and that is our Savior. I rejoice that His sacrifice forgives me when I fall into temptation, but I also ask I follow His words and try to avoid temptation. In Jesus' Name, I pray. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by Kate Seasons for Newser on June 8, 2018. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written: http://www.newser.com/story/260366/she-got-within-30-feet-of-a-bison-foolishly.html
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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