God enlightens us in several places by relating our behavior to the traits of various animals. For instance, He says,
“Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will not come near you” (Psalm 32:9 NKJV). Jesus also used the technique in a comment about Herod. He said, “Go, tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected’” (Luke 13:32 NKJV).
Since we have that clear Scriptural precedent for comparing human behavior to that of other species, I’d like to add another one.
I Samuel 17 is a chapter that many will immediately recognize as the passage containing the classic battle between David and Goliath. If I suggested that the story is a tale of two guys who met out in a valley to exchange promises, you might wonder what I’m talking about, but hang on for a minute. Before anything physically challenging happened between them, each guy declared his intention to serve an all-you-can-eat buzzard banquet in honor of his chosen deity when their contest was over. Both were deeply sincere in their proclamation, but one of them was bound to renege on his promise due to the inconvenient limitations imposed by death.
Buzzards love bloody battles
Each man began their epic confrontation by boldly promising that he would serve up his opponent’s lifeless carcass as a feast to a waiting assembly of scavengers. They didn’t have Facebook, so there’s no way to know how many ‘likes’ each guy’s declaration would have gotten, but I’m confident of at least one thing. The buzzards loved it. If the local buzzards had social media, they would have placed a grinning emoji on all of it, because heads coming off makes them happy, regardless of whose it is. Their plan was to happily gorge themselves without bias on anybody who had the misfortune of becoming a corpse. Buzzards don’t discriminate.
Sometimes wolves dress like sheep – and circling buzzards look like news anchors
It’s heartbreaking to survey the array of conflicts plaguing the world and our own beloved country these days, and to see the number of potential combatants screaming out promises to deliver death and destruction to others. That scene is distressing beyond words, but there’s a group lurking in the shadows of every conflict that appears to thrive on it. It seems that public media, in concert with some political leaders in America, has evolved into a unique species of scavenger that nourishes itself on lethal conflict. Like those in the animal kingdom, they don’t risk their own blood by engaging in the wars directly. Their victory is achieved when the violence escalates until the stench of death begins to fill the air, because death and destruction are what they feed on. Broken bodies and decaying flesh make a feast for them—thus they revel when there’s carnage. We would be wise to learn to recognize and identify these scavengers, because buzzards don’t always look like buzzards. God warned us to beware of people who aren’t what they appear to be outwardly. Jesus referred to them as wolves who show up in sheep costumes (Matt. 7:15-16), and all of us know that He wasn’t talking about animals. These ‘wolves’ look and act just like sheep—until dinnertime.
The same thing is true about the political and media ‘buzzards’ in our day. No matter how attractive and appealing they appear at their news desks, or their TV studios, their basic characteristics eventually show through. Like real buzzards, they’re drawn to death, and have no interest in anything that smacks of genuine peace and resolution. Many would recoil at the thought of love and restoration between former enemies, and could suffer severe allergic reactions to reports of lasting harmony. In the face of such things, they will dedicate every resource to disrupt, disclaim, deny, and destroy them. The mainstream media fills the airwaves in America with beautiful women and handsome, well-spoken men, but many, if not most, of them are actually buzzards on the inside—with maybe a possum or two thrown in here and there.
So what do followers of Jesus do about them? Two things leap to mind. Strive to avoid being like them and adopting their appetite for death and destruction. Their opportunities for another feeding frenzy would be diminished if more of us were really living like the One we claim to follow. And then, work to promote the things that ‘buzzards’ shun, like real solutions that reduce or eliminate conflict, and responses that offer genuine hope, and by supporting those who promote wisdom and righteousness. God sent a ‘lamb’ to change the world, not a buzzard. Let’s practice replacing Hollywood’s definition of love for the kind that Jesus demonstrated. God said that when His kingdom is established, the lions will eat straw like the oxen—so maybe there’s hope for buzzards, as well.
© 2016 Gallagher’s Pen, Ronald L. Gallagher, Ed.S. All rights reserved.
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