Squirrels Are Nuts!

squirrels are nuts

My dog barks… at bunnies, at deer, at turkey, and coyotes, and bobcats, and… squirrels!

In our neck of the woods (and we do live in a forest reserve) the squirrels come out to feed early-morning and are done by noon. That means my dog QaraShem barks from early morning to noon… every day… loudly… and insistently…

He sees the predator and tries to sound the alarm for the “wolf-pack” namely—me, by his barking. When I don’t respond he will find one of my slippers, one of my socks, or one of my rogue Aquafina bottles around the house, and run into my presence daring me to chase him back to the source of the alarm—the squirrel he sees through the window.

I have tried chasing the varmints with a bright yellow broom (and a bright scary voice), but they always come back. And many times, QaraShem escapes when I exit the house—then I have a loose excited dog to recover to boot. Not my idea of a good time.

The problem arises because the squirrels don’t want to eat normal squirrel chow—they want bird cuisine—which we put out lavishly (because we are over 50). They especially like the daily special, which comes in two flavors—peanuts plain and peanuts with a little bit of peanut butter on them. I know, I know, it’s our own fault, right? Nah… I think the squirrels are fully aware that the peanuts are for the birds but they enjoy pilfering them as part of their thievery ritual.

I thought we only had a couple of squirrels because that is all I ever saw at one time. And I thought if we could just get rid of them, my life would be more calm and serene because I wouldn’t be called to military duty each and every day by my overprotective watch-doggie. I considered asking one of my sons to… well… okay… “take care of” those couple of squirrels so that my own health wouldn’t continue to go downhill from the daily stress of barker and snitcher competition! However, when it came down to asking him, I couldn’t do it… Okay, so I’m a wimpy country woman.

But… after I gave the squirrels a reprieve through my own squeamishness I discovered they were actually eating, not just my bird food, but my bird feeders, as well! They were chewing on the wood in order to gain access to the tasty peanut morsels—and not just in one place, but on all four sides of the feeders plus the top and the bottom!

War!!!

I didn’t want to “put boots on the ground” and our drones were all busy on important missions to the White House lawn (just kidding), so we borrowed a neighbor’s live trap. Our plan was to put bait in a cage and wait for the critter to take it. When he did, we would have him.

Then what? Well… then he would be carefully relocated to an animal reserve in a far, far different (and distant) neighborhood!

We put the trap out in the afternoon because that’s when we got it from our neighbor, but squirrel feeding hours were over by then. We left it set up so we could get the diners at the next sunrise breakfast. Problem was, we forgot we live in a forest… so we caught a raccoon during the night. That meant we needed to set the trap each morning and unset it every night.

It worked great. We caught our daily squirrel between 10 and 11 every day until we had caught over a half-dozen of them. Each time we would take the inmate over to the distant squirrel reserve and release him into the wild. Then things slowed down, we got lazy, forgot to unset the trap at night, and caught an extra raccoon.

The larger predators in the woods keep the squirrel population to a minimum but all it takes is one peanut gourmet and off goes my dog’s alarm, so we continue to de-squirrelize the area around our home. Since they are usually caught during the morning hours, it is up to me to notice when the enemy has been captured and move him to a detainment center until the relocation process can be completed. I usually just pick up the cage and move him into a shaded location (where my dog cannot see him) until the guys are available to load him into our vehicle.

One day, the little guy (I know, I started to feel pretty comfortable with them) seemed so cute that I started a conversation with him and asked him if he would like me to do a photo shoot for his family. He was thrilled and excited at the prospect, but he simply wasn’t a good photo subject—too wiggly.

As I was shooting (photos!) I started thinking about the fact that he was trapped in this cage and was dependent upon me to set him loose. The cage was stronger than the squirrel, but I was stronger than the cage.

I am reminded of how I was once delivered from my own cage…

He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son… Colossians 1:13

The Greek word for “rescue” is rhoumai and means deliver or save. It carries the idea that the rescuer has to wield greater power than whatever holds the prisoner captive. The rescuer needs to actually overpower the captor.

The domain of darkness has held every single person that ever lived in its power. It’s great and terrible power is so mighty, they are not able to rescue themselves… no one and no thing is able to rescue them because there simply is not enough power available.

Except One… God by His powerful hand (which is more powerful than Satan’s), reaches in and saves us from Satan’s powerful kingdom. God rescues us, He pulls us out from the domain of darkness… and then I love this part…

and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son… Colossians 1:13

First picture God’s fist of power rescuing you. After your rescue from the domain of darkness, imagine His two hands together, palms up. Once you are rescued, He opens up His palm and He puts His other palm beside it. He puts you safely in the palms of His hand and gently and lovingly transfers you into the kingdom of His beloved Son.

In relation to the king, what do the people in the kingdom do? They obey. Once we have been delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son, we cannot still obey Satan. Satan commands us to sin. Once we’ve been rescued from that and transferred into the kingdom of Jesus Christ we must obey our new King—Jesus. What is it that Jesus Christ commands us to do? Righteousness. And now we are His bondservants—slaves to righteousness.

God’s powerful hand once brought the Israelites out of bondage, out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. Could they continue to live in Egypt when He delivered them from Egypt? Nope. Deliverance just doesn’t work that way.

Moses said to the people, “Remember this day in which you went out from Egypt, from the house of slavery; for by a powerful hand the Lord brought you out from this place. And nothing leavened shall be eaten. Exodus 13:3

Leaven in the Bible always represents sin and many of the attributes of leaven are similar to the attributes of sin. In other words—just like leaven spreads and permeates whatever lump of dough it’s in—so does sin. It permeates that which is around it.

For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the Lord. Unleavened bread shall be eaten throughout the seven days; and nothing leavened shall be seen among you, nor shall any leaven be seen among you in all your borders. You shall tell your son on that day, saying, “It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.” And it shall serve as a sign to you on your hand, and as a reminder on your forehead, that the law of the Lord may be in your mouth; for with a powerful hand the Lord brought you out of Egypt. Exodus 13:6–9

They would not be delivered from Egypt, the house of slavery, if they chose to stay in Egypt. If they stayed in Egypt, they would be enslaved all over again.

She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. Matthew 1:21

The word “from” means “out of”—Jesus came to save His people out of their sins. The same way that God saved His people out of Egypt, Jesus saves us out of our sins. So in other words, if He saves us out of our sins, is it possible for us to still live in sin? No, it isn’t. Salvation just doesn’t work that way.

Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness? But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. Romans 6:16–18

We have been saved from the power that sin had over us. Let me clarify this. I am not saying that He does away with sin because He doesn’t. He has left us in the presence of sin. We have fleshly bodies that are still wanting to do everything they did before we were saved. We live in a world system that is sinful, sinful, sinful and the whole planet is controlled by the prince of darkness (under God’s control of course). So Satan is against you, your flesh is against you, and the world is against you. He has not taken us out of any of those things. He will… but not just yet…

What He has done in the interim is taken, or broken, the power that sin had over us. He has taken us out of the power that sin had over us. As a believer, sin becomes a choice. Even though there are lots of influences around you, none of those are more powerful than Who is in you—the Holy Spirit.

My squirrel analogy sort of falls apart here because when I set the squirrels loose, everyone of them immediately ran away. Not so for those who are set free from the domain of darkness by God. God doesn’t just set us free from the domain of darkness (squirrel cage) and then let us make our own decision if we want to follow Him or not. He transfers us into the kingdom of His beloved Son. All I did was dump the squirrels off in a new neighborhood where they would have to fend for themselves.

…in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:14

God lovingly transfers us to a place of safety and refuge, His Son’s kingdom, where we have redemption—the forgiveness of sins. Satan can never touch us again. And we are reconciled to God. Those who enter the kingdom of God’s beloved Son remain…

Even if you could leave Him… why would you want to?

But the fact is, you won’t. He will keep you. He changes you (gives you a soft heart to follow Him) so that you will always be His. He puts His Holy Spirit inside of you Who causes you to walk in His ways. (You won’t be perfect. You will make mistakes. In fact, you will sin again, but it won’t be as a way of life). You won’t leave Him. You won’t run away from Him. That, my friends, is the perseverance of the saints.

The deliverance of my little squirrel buddies was just a so-so salvation for them. I made no provision for them once I let them loose—they were on their own, come what may. I dusted my hands off and walked away.

Not so, with our so very great salvation that is wrought for us by the One and Only Savior, Jesus Christ, the Son of God! We are His children… and He cares for us… He will never, never, never leave us nor ever forsake us! His mercies are new every morning! He loves us with an everlasting love! He will cause us to stand blameless before Him one day… and with great joy! He is the Author and Finisher of our faith! He is altogether lovely… and we are His beloved

© Sharon Jensen 1999-2017