Our Little Pet Hedgehog – and a Spiritual Lesson

One late summer evening our elderly cat was sniffing curiously around some creature which was sitting at the back door. At first we thought that it was a rat… but then thankfully discovered that it was a little hedgehog! At that first sighting he ambled away like a small spiky ball rolling down the garden path. This autumn we have succeeded in taming both him and two stray starving cats – ‘Mini’ (barely more than a kitten) and ‘Maxi,’ (a white and grey Tom) with a view to getting the cats good homes. Meanwhile the hedgehog has been bullying the cats away from their saucers of food, while our cat has become angry and insecure about all the attention her fellow mammals are getting.

The chorus to one of my favourite hymns as a child is:

“All things bright and beautiful,

All creatures great and small,

All things wise and wonderful,

The Lord God made them all.”

Yes, He made them all and I have a special love for them all! I also believe that there are many spiritual lessons to be learned from animal behaviour. At first the little hedgehog would run away from us and hide his head behind something; because he couldn’t see us, he assumed that we couldn’t see him. There is a widespread philosophy in Christian circles that ‘God cannot see us in our sin, if we have committed our lives to Him.’ While the ostrich buries its head in the sand and other creatures hide their heads in other ways, of course they can still be seen. The Bible tells me: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1John 2v1) Note the word ‘if’ here and not ‘when.

After Adam and Eve had sinned in the Garden of Eden, we are told that they “hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.” (Genesis 3v8) But of course God knew exactly where they were and what they had done, even though He called out: “Where art thou?” (v9)

The ‘hiding your head’ philosophy also ties in with the commonly held viewpoint that ‘all our sins (past/present/future) are forgiven, when we commit our lives to the Lord.’ Where in scripture am I told this?

Another statement which is nowhere to be found in scripture is: ‘We sin in thought, word and deed every day.’

There is no doubt that when I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour that all the sins of my previous life outside of Him were forgiven, because I had repented of them and turned to Him in faith, asking for His forgiveness. However, what of future transgressions? Surely no sin is forgiven – unless it is acknowledged, confessed and repented of?

A third statement which I have heard from a pulpit in recent years is that there are ‘saved sinners’ and ‘lost sinners.’ Nowhere in God’s Word are those who know Him referred to as ‘saved sinners.’

Psalm 1 sets the standard for those who are His followers: Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgement, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.” (Verse 5)

I am aware of situations at this very moment where those who claim to be Christians are living in deep sin. The Lord Jesus Christ is returning, perhaps very soon. Like His children, all of “creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now” for His return. (Romans 8v22) However, unlike the innocent animal kingdom who have nothing to fear from His return, the members of the human race must be ready for Him. We must not be under the illusion that God cannot see us in our sin and will disregard it, because of some past commitment we have made.

Just recently our little hedgehog has gone into hibernation. He had made adequate provision for the possibly harsh winter ahead, by consuming as much nutrition as possible during the summer and early autumn. We too need to be adequately nourished and built up by God’s Word – reading and digesting His message to us and being comforted by His Presence as the days grow darker, colder and hungrier spiritually speaking. However seemingly impossible your situation, He can lift you out of it, if you but only depend on Him alone to help you. Remember – He loves you, means you no harm and He wants to feed you spiritually. We can never depend on the words, philosophies and sayings of mankind when it comes to Judgement Day – but we can depend on God’s Word and on Him “That is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.” (Jude v24)

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