Where we live in Missouri we have an abundance of predatory birds, such as hawks, falcons and eagles. I have seen many a hunting hawk, land on our back fence, with its piercing eyes of steel searching out an unwary victim.
While serving as missionaries in Durban, South Africa, we had a “close encounter” with a large falcon, which will never be forgotten.
It was an extremely hot and humid day. The house we were renting had an open plan dining room and lounge; with no fans and no air-conditioning, I might add! At the end of both of these rooms were very large glass sliding doors which, when opened, they would catch whatever breeze there was and channel it through the two rooms. Granted the breeze was hot and humid but it at last gave us a measure of relief from the stifling heat.
Our two children had just got home from school and were sitting at the dining room table working on homework. Glyn and I were sitting in the lounge trying to concentrate of the Bible classes that we would be teaching the next day at our Missions Bible College. Suddenly the silences of the room was shattered by a piercing, bone chilling, shriek and before I stunned eyes a terrified dove flew into the dining room seeking refuge. Then the unbelievable happen – in hot pursuit of the dove a flacon flew through the open sliding door and landed on the floor. The children froze at the table totally mesmerized by the sight of this large bird of prey with its sharp talons ready to sink into the terrified dove! The eyes of the falcon were absolutely riveting- they flashed with such a piercing glare that they seemed to hold us all captive with the ferocity they exuded.
Finally Glyn jumped up, while I grabbed a broom from the kitchen and we blocked the falcon in enough that he chose his path of escape. Like a flash he wheeled around and with a defiant shriek he made his escape. Now our attention turned to the terrified dove. Gently we pick him up and examined him for injury but he was fine. So we stepped out on the back patio and set him free. As we were watching the dove fly up into one of our garden trees we heard the all too familiar shriek and down swooped the falcon, grabbing the dove in its lethal talons and swiftly flew to a higher perch. His persistence and precision had won him the victory!
The ancient sport of falconry used trained hawks or falcons in the pursuit of wild game. When the “educated predator” was allowed to fly, it often rose too high for human eyes to see. So a hunter carried a small caged bird called a shrike. By watching the antics of the little bird, the man could always tell where his falcon was, for the shrike instinctively feared the predator and cocked its head to keep it in view.
Today in this evil world we desperately need an alert perception similar to that of the shrike to detect our spiritual enemy.
The apostle Peter speaks of the danger of this age in 1 Peter 5:8 where he reminds his readers that……. “Our adversary, Satan, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour”.
Our responsibility, according to the apostle Peter, is to be sober and vigilant.
In other words, we’re to be always on the alert. These actions can be likened to us having a “spiritual shrike”! It would be nice if God had giant sirens to warn us of an attack by the devil. But He doesn’t operate that way.
Instead, we fight him by assimilating God’s Word, meditating on its truths, and being constantly alert to the deceiving whiles of the devil.
Only then when we equip ourselves in this manner will we be sensitive to an imminent assault by the evil one, and be armed with God’s power to meet him head on!
My question to you my friends is this……. Is your “spiritual shrike” fully alert today?