Andy Hollifield 4-28-17

Judges 14:1-3 And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines. (2) And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife. (3) Then his father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all thy people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well.

I have heard a lot said lately about people trying to straddle the fence and the fact that there is no fence to straddle. That is right but there is a line of right and wrong. It is true that there is no fence but having raised cattle for several years, I do want to use that fence as an illustration. Now this article may be a disappointment to some because as the title might suggest, it may not be too deep theologically. I preached a message years ago about “Some Things I Learned In The Barn.” After all these years, as I watch various animals, God has been able to show me some things that I have not forgotten and they have a spiritual application. It is amazing what God can use to teach us if we will just pay attention.

I was watching the cattle the other day and I knew the electric fence had gotten tangled and shorted out because I seen one of the heifers manuever her head through the fence and begin to pick grass. The grass on the outside of the fence was the same grass as on the inside but the cow wasn’t satisfied with the grass right where she was standing. All of that got me to thinking also about some goats I had. I have often thought about how we do the same thing with God. I once had goats that would belly-crawl under the electric fence to eat the same grass they were eating on the inside. As soon as I would start to approach them, they would belly-crawl right back into the pasture and continue picking. Goats do not grow as large as cattle and can get out a lot easier. The thing that neither of them realize is that the fence I had in place was not put there to be mean and keep them from getting good grass, it was in place for their protection. That fence is what turned them back from getting in the road where they could have been hit by a car. That strand of electric fence was designed to keep them in but also to keep predators out. The fact is that outside of that fence there were other animals that would have loved to attack and destroy them. Inside the fence was also the place where food was provided. I have never seen a cow, goat, or anything else that didn’t prefer grain over grass. I didn’t feed them where they were, I fed them where I wanted them to eat. God does that very same thing with us. You can be content to feed on grass if you want to but if you want the best God has to offer, he will give it to you when you are where he wants to feed you. Gods grain is where the nourishment is at. You can’t get the good grain of God from anywhere else except in his pasture and in his trough. All you get when you try to poke your head through is scratched up by the barbs of Satan that seeks to destroy us. What those goats didn’t realize is that in the world outside of the fence, there were dogs and coyotes that could easily have killed them. That electric fence that was designed to keep them in and to protect them, was put down low enough to where a dog wasn’t likely to be able to get inside the pasture. The shelter and safety were both inside their pasture. How many times have you poked your head through trying to get some of what is out there only to be swatted across the nose by the devil. How many times have you belly crawled under the fence only to have to come back to where the shepherd wanted you to be to get the good stuff he has for you.

When it comes to us as Christians, it is never that we are starving or there is anything wrong with where we are because there is always plenty with God and it is always the best you can get. It is just that we like to push just as far as we can and see what we can get away with. We are never satisfied with the goodness of God. According to Psalms 68:19 “He daily loadeth us with benefits.” Why would we want to get out of his pasture. Just for those who may think this is a ridiculous comparison, Psalms 100:3 says that we are “the sheep of his pasture.” The difference is that there is no fence. Just the line of right and wrong that we like to hop over from time to time.

I read the story of Korah in the wilderness when he gathered together folks that were discontented and began to complain about Moses. They had even forgotten how bad Egypt was and were wanting to go back. In case you don’t remember how that ended in Numbers 16, the ground clave under them and all that pertained to them went down into the pit. Proverbs 12:15 says that “the way of a fool is right in his own eyes…” We better not jump too quick. And here is some sound advice for you; don’t be looking for a fence to straddle between right and wrong because you’ll never find it. You are flirting with destruction when you do. Samson’s life ended not as a great warrior but as a blind men being led every where he went. Yes, he slew more at his death by pushing the pillars down in Judges 16:28-31, than he slew in his life. But I personally believe he died before he had too if he had not poked his head through the fence and seen that woman he would have been far better off and lived a lot longer. Be content in the pasture where God put you and quit looking for a way to get out. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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