Herald Journal Columns
Dec. 6, 2004 Herald Journal
Pastor's Column

A case of pheasant forensics

By Dr. Tom C. Rakow, Pastor, Grace Bible Church, Silver Lake

The ringneck rooster burst up out of the standing corn. I swung my 20-gauge Beretta single shot to my shoulder – Boom! The bird folded and fell to the ground.

My dad, older brother Mick, and I were hunting public land with a little black terrier named Smokey. Now, Smokey worked well as a flush dog. You could always tell when he was getting close to a pheasant because he would start yipping.

My brother and I both arrived at the downed pheasant at the same time. But, to my surprise, Mick claimed “my” first pheasant as his.

“What!,” I said. “You didn’t even shoot!”

To my dismay, he said the same thing to me. Both of us were convinced we had brought down the same bird.

Our dad pointed out that he heard us both shoot. In fact, our weapons went off so simultaneously that it was barely distinguishable that two different rounds from two different shotguns had been fired.

Eventually, Mick (who was six years older and far wiser) remarked that perhaps both of us hit the bird. He then suggested that when I cleaned the pheasant, an examination of the angle of the entrance of the lead shot would make it obvious who made the kill. After all, he had shot from directly behind the bird, and I had fired from a quartering direction.

In essence, Mike was suggesting that I do some basic forensics on the pheasant.

After dipping the rooster in scalding water, I started pulling feathers. The more wet feathers my 13-year-old fingers plucked, the clearer it became that my brother was the one who had shot the pheasant. In fact, not a single BB from my pattern had even touched the bird.

In addition, I came to realize that my brother had slyly suckered me into cleaning a pheasant he had actually shot.

According to the Bible, unlike us, God sees and knows everything. This is the case whether it is a ringneck pheasant with all its feathers or a full-clothed human standing in darkness.

As the book of Hebrews states, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13)

And, as King David acknowledged in one of the Psalms, “If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like day, for the darkness is as light to you.” (Psalm 139:11-12)

I don’t know about you, but realizing that God sees and knows everything can be both a bothersome and a comforting thought. For example, it is bothersome and convicting to realize He sees our “secret” sins, but also comforting to know that He is aware of all our silent and unseen suffering.

Furthermore, in the future, there is coming a time when everything we have ever done and why we did it will be exposed. Indeed, there is coming a day “when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ.” (Romans 2:16)

Ultimately, the curtain to each of our private lives and plans will be pulled back. All our excuses will be plucked away.

Yes, God will do His forensics. Nevertheless, if we know Christ as our Saviour, and are walking in fellowship with Him, we need not be terrified.

And knowing that someday everything is going to be exposed, we should be encouraged to live every day in a way that is pleasing to Him.

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