Bats… and Idols!

We have a patio deck on the back of our home. We like to sit out there and watch the swans, geese and ducks swim in the lake behind our home. It’s not a big lake – 15 acres or so, but we love the wildlife and each season of the year brings something new to our windows.

It can get very warm on the deck and after we moved in, we added outdoor furniture and a small table with an umbrella. The umbrella isn’t one of those huge ones but it pretty much does the job keeping the sun off of us, especially when I am fixing dinner on the grill and want to stay outdoors.

Anyway, I have kind of a ritual when I get ready to fix dinner on the grill. I open the grill, start it and then open the umbrella. That’s what I did several days ago – the normal stuff. Except when I opened the umbrella and started to crank it up, I heard a squeak. I imagined that something needed a shot of WD-40 but then I saw a pair of eyes staring at me as I cranked the mechanism up.

I wondered how a mouse got up in the umbrella, but it quickly became apparent that this wasn’t as mouse – rather, a BAT! With wings… I pulled my hand out of the umbrella and realized just how close I had been to this animal. Luckily, I didn’t get bitten, but when I looked up bats and transmissible diseases, there was a warning that you shouldn’t come in contact with any surface that they touch.

Well, that was a problem. I ended up writing the doctor just in case there was some protocol that I was supposed to follow. I didn’t receive a bite, as I said, and it turned out to be okay. But the bat was still in the umbrella, and I really wanted to get dinner on the grill.

Finally, I rattled the screen door and the bat flew off, to a spot right above the door. I got a real good look at the “flying mouse” and waited inside until he (or she) left. I watched it hang upside down on the brick wall and was very glad when I finally was able to get food on the grill.

I started to wonder if there was any mention of bats in the Bible. I have read the Scriptures cover to cover several times, especially in seminary, but I didn’t recall any mention of bats. Well, I was wrong… There are actually three mentions of bats – all of them in the Old Testament. Two of the verses, in Leviticus and in Deuteronomy, have to do with bats being unclean animals that shouldn’t be eaten!

But the third reference is our verse for tonight. The prophet Isaiah tells about the Lord being shown in all His splendor and the fact that all the idols that men created will be thrown to the rodents and the bats. Isaiah tells us, in Isaiah 2:19-21, “Men will flee to caves in the rocks and to holes in the ground from dread of the LORD and the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to shake the earth. In that day men will throw away to the rodents and bats their idols of silver and idols of gold, which they made to worship. They will flee to caverns in the rocks and to the overhanging crags from dread of the LORD and the splendor of his majesty, when he rises to shake the earth.”

My encouragement this evening is that the people of God always finally recognized that when they strayed, they could always count on the loving kindness of God, His “hosad”, and could always return to Him. My prayer is that we will always remember that whatever we do, wherever we go, however far we stray, God will always welcome us to Himself. And remember, the idols of gold and silver have been cast on the bats and other unclean rodents! Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…


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