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Devotionals 2006

Stealing the Crocodile
March 31, 2006 • By Ed Wrather

03.31.06

You shall not steal. - Exodus 20:15.

The Rockhampton Zoo in Queensland, Australia is missing a crocodile. If you happen to see a crocodile, 1.2 meters in length, weighing approximately 40 kilograms, and meaner than a barnyard dog...it may be the missing croc. Call the zoo; do not try to attempt a rescue yourself! The croc did not make the escape by itself but apparently had some help from three or four from the Homo Sapiens species. The thieves attempted to steal a koala, but gave up after it proved to be even meaner than a croc. 

The zookeeper, Wil Kemp, said about the thieves, “I don't know what makes someone go, ‘Oh we tried to steal a koala and that didn't work so let’s go and steal a croc.’”

It is thought by authorities that the croc nappers originally planned to trade the koala for drugs, but settled for the freshwater crocodile.

As it has been said, “The best laid plans of mice and men….” Of course, these plans do not appear to have been very well thought out. What does make someone decide, or in this case possibly four people, decide to risk life, limb, and prison time to steal a koala, and then go for a croc? Most likely, the course of events that these four individuals launched out upon, were decided in a few moments of time. We can imagine the setting of a few too many beers, and possibly a joint or two. 

“I’ve got an idea,” one bloke says.

“What?” 

“You know that zoo over in Queensland?” 

“So?” 

“They’ve got koalas there and I’ve heard they’re worth a lot.” 

They all look at each other and in unison say, “Great idea!” As they head off into infamy.

We all know what it says in Exodus 20:15, after all it is one of the Ten Commandments, “You shall not steal.” “You shall not steal” is very simple, and to the point; no, ifs, ands, or buts. Of course, if you wanted to rationalize it, it is somewhat down on the list of “shalt nots” being at number eight. But, it did still make the list. So, we can assume that God did not make a mistake since it was written in stone. Actually, it was written in stone twice, since the first stone tablets were broken.

If I were to ask everyone reading this to hold up their hand if they have ever stolen anything, even a paper clip, most of us would be honest enough to hold up our hands. Now that we (at least, some of us) have admitted that we are thieves and that we have broken God’s eighth Commandment; have any of you stolen a crocodile? I doubt it. What is it that makes someone progress from stealing paper clips to stealing crocodiles? Now, both are sins (Romans 3:23), but in the realm of human relationships and authorities one is more serious as to the consequences. Not only are the consequences more serious, but it also points to a more serious flaw in character, moral character.

James points out the progression of sin in James 1:13-15, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” Sadly, for too many of us we know that progression very well, we have been down that road more than once. That is the road to ruin of a person’s character, giving in to temptation; not once, but again, again, and again, until there is no longer any resistance to evil. We give in until, if someone suggests stealing a koala or a crocodile from a zoo, we are more than ready to do it.

The good news is that we do not have to continue down that road. We can change, we can turn back. The very first step is to get back on track with God. You know you have sinned. Tell Him, confess it to Him. 

As we are told in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Then, ask God for His help to change and to be what He would have you to be. What do you do after that? It is a continual making of right choices, choosing what God wants, instead of what the flesh wants. 

Romans 8:5-6 describes the process, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded (“the mind of sinful man” - NIV) is death, but to be spiritually minded ("but the mind controlled by the Spirit” - NIV) is life and peace.”

Through the power of God, you can see your destiny changed from one headed for death and destruction to a destiny filled with life, actually an eternity of life. Why not begin right now?

 

 


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