I had never seen a woodpecker until living in France. There was one who frequently visited our yard and with his red markings he was easy to spot. There was one fruit tree that he especially liked to peck for insects. I was always happy to see him, not realizing what he was doing to that tree. One night we had an huge windstorm and with an impressive crack, that tree came down, snapping at exactly the very place that woodpecker had been working! I feel differently about woodpeckers now. I missed that mirabelle plum tree!
Today’s verse is a loving warning. After describing the failures of the Israelites in the wilderness, Paul cautions that falling is a real possibility. We can think that we are standing firm while at the same time being slowly weakened by compromise. Like the small attacks by the beak of a woodpecker, our resolve can slowly erode leaving us vulnerable. A strong wind of temptation can come along and knock us flat. We fall to the ground and we no longer bear fruit.
No one wakes up in the morning and decides to give in to temptation. Being drawn away from Him is usually a slow sneaky process. And it can come from something normally beautiful or agreeable. The next verse is such a comforting promise. God will not allow me to be tempted beyond what I can bear. He provides a way out. I have a choice. That enticement to sin is never so strong that with His help I cannot resist!
Don’t let me fall, Lord. Keep me firmly standing and bearing fruit.
(Look familiar? This is a re-post due to summer ministry schedule.)