Snipe Hunting

     So, have you ever been “snipe hunting”?  A snipe hunt is a practical joke or “fool’s errand.” It has been in existence in North America as early as the 1840s. An unsuspecting newcomer is duped into trying to catch a non-existent animal called a “snipe.”  Although snipes are an actual family of birds, a snipe hunt is a quest for an imaginary creature whose description varies. The target of the prank is led to an outdoor spot and given instructions for catching the illusive “snipe.”  Since they are nocturnal, the hunt must, of course, take place in the dark. The person is given a bag, like a gunny sack, and sometimes a flashlight to shine into the bag, is placed at a key location, such as a game trail in the woods, and is often given instructions on certain noises to make to attract a snipe. Then the others involved in the prank leave the newcomer alone in the woods. He is left “holding the bag”!  

     “Snipe hunting” is often used as an initiation of a new member of a group or as a fun prank for a group of Boy Scouts or a youth group on a retreat. The same prank is played in France, where it is called “hunting the duhot,” and in Spain where it is “hunting gamusinos.”  

     Rest assured that God will never take you “snipe hunting”!  God will never play tricks on you and leave you foolishly “holding the bag,” having been duped by Him.  He will never “set you up” and then leave you to look like a fool. He will never lead you on, only to desert you (Heb. 13:5).  When the Apostle Peter exhorts his readers to “follow in His (Jesus’) steps,” he goes on to write: “who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth” (I Pet. 2:21b,22 cf Isa. 53:9).  In the Old Testament, Balaam, the “prophet-for-hire,” was paid by King Balak of Moab to come and curse Israel, but “the Angel of the LORD” (God the Son), said to Balaam, ‘you shall speak only the word which I shall tell you'” (Num. 22:35). Balaam said to Balak, “How shall I curse whom God has not cursed? And how can I denounce whom the LORD has not denounced…God is not a man, that He should lie; nor a son of man that He should repent; has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Nu. 23:19).  God is truth and only speaks truth. He never lies or deceives. He never plays tricks on us and leaves us holding the bag. 

     In contrast, our adversary, Satan, “does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies” (Jn. 8:44).   Satan loves to “take people snipe hunting” and leave them “holding the bag.”  He promises all sorts of attractive things but his underlying goal is to defeat, discourage and destroy.  As the “ruler of this world” (Jn. 12:31), he uses the pleasures of the world to set up his victims and then leaves them empty and disillusioned.  History is full of tragic stories of those who “climbed the ladder of success only to find it leaning against the wrong wall.”  King Solomon discovered that as he tried to find pleasure in what the world offered, only to find it was vanity, a bubble that bursts, or like chasing the wind. He wrote of his experiences in the book of Ecclesiastes.  His conclusion? “Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth…fear God and keep His commandments” (Eccl. 12:1,13).  

     Don’t be tricked by our enemy, Satan, into following his “ponzi schemes.”  He is a con artist and a very good one. Instead, put your complete trust and confidence in the One who will never take you “snipe hunting.” He will never deceive you or lead you on and leave you holding the bag. In Him is true joy and pleasure that is real and everlasting. “You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever  more” (Psa. 16:11). 

     Forever His,

          Pastor Dave


About Pastor Dave

Until my retirement 2 years ago, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.
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