Squirrels and Justice

Red SquirrelOne day, heading out of my neighborhood subdivision, I found a squirrel blocking my path.  Or, more accurately, I found a squirrel about to become part of my tire.  I slowed down, to give him time to move out of the way.

Why the squirrel hadn’t realized my car was coming is anyone’s guess–maybe he was daydreaming about acorns.  The sound of my tires woke him up out of his nutty bliss, however, and he immediately started panicking.

I thought the problem was over.  The squirrel had woken up, he was surely going to move out of the way now, and I could use the road built for my car (and not for the squirrel).

Uh uh.

Mr. Squirrel had an ingenious plan: outrun my car.

I slowed down the car to inching along.  In front of me, loping along in frightened one-foot leaps, bounded the squirrel.  He tried with his best effort to outrun my car.

His best effort was totally pathetic.  Had I accelerated anything above about 2 mph, he would have been instant roadkill.

There we went, down the road, the squirrel running like a fugitive of my tire, but unable to make any getaway . . me mercifully keeping my foot on the brake so as not to kill him.

In a matter of seconds, Mr. Squirrel figured out that something had to change, and it wasn’t going to be the path of my car.  After all, however much I didn’t want to run over him, I couldn’t responsibly drive on the sidewalk.

So what did he do?  Rather than keep running in front of my tire, he turned to the right, got off the road, and raced into the yard.  At first, he fully expected me to chase him.

I could drive at a normal speed again and the squirrel could tell horror stories to his friends about how I had tried to run him over.

It’s a funny story–and it’s a commentary on how many of us live our lives before God.  We are so afraid His Law is going to run us over, that we run as fast as we can away from Him.  After all, we know we’ve sinned and we know the judgment of God is coming.  But outrunning God?  Not gonna happen.  No matter how many good things we try to do, we’ll never do enough.  In fact, the Bible tells us we can’t even do one thing good apart from God, much less “make up” for a lifetime of sinning.

What we don’t often see is that God is applying the brakes.  He is inching along.  Every word of Scripture is a warning to try to get us to see what a predicament we’re in.  God isn’t trying to run us over.  He is trying to get us off the road!

In the old covenant, people got off the road by waiting on God to bring something to take away their sins.  They lived their lives trusting that He would find a way to save them from the judgment they deserved–and they were saved.

In the new covenant, people don’t just get off the road and wait on God’s wrath to pass them by.  Jesus has taken God’s wrath on Himself. He is the payment for God’s judgment.  We don’t have to race to the side of the road anymore.  Now, we can get in the car!

We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.  (Romans 3:22-26, NLT)

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