Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Lionfish


Isn't this a beautiful fish?  Would you like to have one of these handsome marine creatures swimming around in your aquarium?  This ornate striped beauty with elegant-looking spines is floating along in a tank at the Living Museum -- alone.

Why is this fancy fish alone?  He just happens to be one of the most venomous fish in the world, so, no, you really don't want him in your fish tank no matter how pretty he might be.

There are a couple things about this fish sparked a bit of spiritual analogy.  Most obvious is his beauty which is appealing to the eye coupled with the poison he shoots out from his spines if he is touched. Isn't that so like sin?  Let's be honest -- many sins are beautiful to the eye and the senses; they are so appealing, we just want to reach out and touch and even taste what they have to offer. Does that sentence ring any bells?  It's exactly what Eve and then hubby Adam did in the garden. Their failure to avoid the "poison fruit" has caused pain and death ever since.

I read that the Lionfish has "warning colors meaning - stay away."  Adam and Eve were warned to stay away from fruit that would poison the entire world, but they touched it and tasted it anyway. They did not heed and they gave in to temptation.  How often does the Bible warn us about sin after sin and yet we far too frequently still partake.  God is so loving and He does provide a way for us to just say, no.

"...let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.  No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it" 1 Corinthians 10:12.

Another interesting -- and scary -- aspect of the Lionfish is the fact that their population is increasing rapidly.  This fish is originally from the Pacific, but was accidentally introduced into Florida in the 1990s.  As a result, this invasive species is all over the Caribbean and up and down the east coast of America as far as North Carolina -- as if the ocean wasn't dangerous enough with sharks, undertows and rip tides!

Does it sometimes seem to you like sin is increasing rapidly in our world today?  Just as it is a scary thing that poisonous Lionfish are filling our waters, it's a scary thing that poisonous sin is filling our world.  Jesus warned, "Because of the increase in wickedness, the love of many will grow cold" Matthew 24:12 NIV.

The moral of this fish story is this:  we don't need to be afraid -- either to step into the ocean for a swim or to wade through this big, sinful world.  Our Father goes before us and He has placed us in this time and this place for His purpose.  He offers so many promises in His word, here is just one of them:  "Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand" Isaiah 41:10.

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