As a kid growing up in the country around Poyen Arkansas, I was familiar with the sport of “coon hunting”. My neighbor, Vernard Webb, took me coon hunting one night. Back then they used a carbide headlamp to shine up in the trees to locate the raccoon the dogs had treed. It was quite an adventure for me to go out into the darkness of the woods with just that little light bouncing around on the trees and vegetation. There was no path. You made your own path by finding the way of least resistance through the woods. Once you hear the dogs trailing and treeing, adrenalin kicks in to get there quickly and find out what they’ve got. At that point you just fight your way through whatever you encounter to get to where the dogs are. I remember fighting my way through all kinds of tangles of vines and low-growing brush. I remember crossing a creek with no hesitation or mind that now the water will be sloshing in my boots with pants legs wet. As we approach the dogs at the tree, Vernard, with the brightly shining carbide headlamp looks up in the tree revealing two eyeballs reflecting the bright light. It was an easy target. The 12 guage quickly put out the two little blinking lights with a bang, then a heavy thump on the ground. For a young guy who had never experienced such adventure it was an exhilarating time which I will never forget. Yes, it was a good time. But, two days later a case of poison ivy started developing on my body that I also will never forget. I did not know the vines and growth I fought my way through in the thrill of the moment was loaded with poison ivy. For me, that was not good. We got the coon, but the coon got me. Sometimes we get ourselves involved in a situation that is a great adventure and thrill for the moment. What we don’t bargain for are the consequences that come out of that “thrilling hunt”.
God’s Word gives us bright light, telling us sin will without fail find us out. It tells us the wages, the payment for sin, is death. If we would just understand that life is filled with poison ivy, and with the headlamp of the Word we can shine on our path and avoid the contact. We might enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, but there will always be a price to pay in some way. The good news is that by turning from our way and going God’s way of knowledge, understanding, and guidance given to us in the person of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, we can avoid the pitfalls. If we have gotten ourselves into a case of the ivy, we can follow the Lord in faith and obedience to heal and restore. By following Him, we learn of great pleasures in Him with no ill consequences.