Lying in wait among the dunegrass along the shore of Lake Michigan the hunter has set his trap for his victims. Unaware of the danger his hard working prey avoids the trap that has been set the first few times she passes by. She gets closer and closer as she goes back and forth across the face of the dunes looking for food among the plants. Suddenly, she gets too close and her feet begin to slip down into the trap. Frantically, she struggles to get away, yet, the sand breaks loose under her feet and she slides downward into the vortex like center of the pit. Then, Wham! With a vicious hold the hunter grabs her leg and drags her beneath the surface where she cannot break free because of the weight of the sand pressing down upon her.
As a young boy, I often dropped “victims”, you know them as “ants”, into the traps set for them by the ant lions in the sand. It seemed it took large traps from large ant lions to catch the larger ants. If the trap was too small, the intended victim would climb out easily. If we quickly scooped the trap into our hands we could, at times, catch the vicious predator I have been talking about. We called these ant lions, “doodle bugs”, because they only seemed to be able to crawl in reverse. In fact, the big ones would tickle our cupped hands in the center as they would back into it trying to get away from the “predator” that had captured them.
The ant lion is actually the larvae of a dragonfly. It has been given the instinct by our Creator to dig a funnel shaped pit in the dry sand by backing in ever narrowing circles and throwing the sand out with its large jaws until it is nearly one inch deep. Then, they hide under the sand in the center. When the ants are busy in the heat of the day the dry sand breaks away under their feet so that they cannot climb out of the pit. The moving sand alerts the ant lion which then pulls them to their death under the sand. Its vicious pinchers make up nearly a third of its total length of one fourth of an inch long. If you have ever tried to climb straight up a loose pile of sand you know how the ant must feel like when it cannot escape.
The futility of the ants’ struggle against an enemy which has physics on his side seems to me a vivid picture of the attacks of the devil upon God’s people. At times they flirt with danger by seeing how close they can come to sin and temptation without being pulled in and becoming a victim. At times, sadly, they end up in the slippery slope of sin and like the poor ant, slide into the abyss to be devoured by the devil. Oh, we must be warned again and again. Sin is not a joke; it is serious and dangerous. Whether the sins are in the area of sex, alcohol, deception, or rebellion, unless we repent of them, we will be victims. The traps of the devil are littered with the bones of those who thought they could get away with a sin just once.
Lord, keep us from temptation’s call,
Lest on its slippery slope we fall.
Downward into the pit to slide,
Where the “Roaring Lion” hides.
Lest we from Thy truth be led,
To deny the Christ, Whose blood was shed.
So, humble and careful let us be,
That we may find our rest in Thee.
By: Deane Wassink