A Stroll in the Woods – Lesson 3 – Smorgasbord

One of the things I found a little unnerving on my recent hike to the Red Moshannon Viaduct, was the dense terrain that I had to walk through. The area was new to me, as I had never been there before. On my way back to my car, I got somewhat turned around, or uh, you might say, I was taking the scenic route . . . Oh, I’ll just tell the truth, I WAS LOST! There . . . I said it!


As I was walking through this dense, sopping wet forest, I noticed many blackberries, huckleberries, and then I began to see large rotten trees and tree stumps torn apart, then it dawned on me, there were bears rummaging through this area, and I was walking through their kitchen!


Black Bear


I started to feel uneasy. The rain was pouring down; the ground was silent to my steps, and I anticipated coming face to face with a black bear at any moment; possibly surprising the bear, and hoping it was not with a set of cubs, making the encounter even more dangerous.


So I proceeded with an increased level of scrutiny as I took each step, looking this way and that, being very careful as I picked my through.


It reminded me of an old passage in the Bible; the passage in Genesis, shortly before Cain killed his brother Abel. Both had brought offerings to God, Abel’s offering was acceptable to the Lord, but God was not pleased with the offering Cain brought.


Cain got angry and jealous of his brother and began to think ugly thoughts; God spoke to Cain and said; “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast?  If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” (Genesis 4:6-7)



We live in a world where “sin is crouching” at every turn, looking to ensnare anyone who falls into the temptation trap! Satan cannot make you sin, but he is very good at setting a tempting table; a smorgasbord for you; and as you pass by, he whispers in your ear . . . “Oh there must be something on this table for you, try a little something, so tasty!”


The Apostle Peter described the devil as a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.  We need to be careful as we negotiate the crazy world we find ourselves immersed in, the dangers out there are far worse than encountering an angry bear!

To coin a phrase used by an old friend, Phil Burkhouse, author of a weekly outdoor column, Wandering Aimlessly; “You be careful out there.”

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