Like A Deer In the Headlights.
“He followed her at once, like an ox going to the slaughter. He was like a stag caught in a trap, awaiting an arrow that would pierce its heart.” – Proverbs 7:22-23 NLT
When I was a child, whenever we would visit my father’s family in rural Pennsylvania we would always take one night to go out and look for deer. My dad had a high-powered flashlight that plugged into the cigarette lighter of the car and had a beam on it that would seemingly go for miles. At dusk we would pile into our old station wagon and head out into the country in search of deer. My dad would cruise slowly down those one lane roads with all of us kids hanging out the window, waiting in silence as he worked the powerful beam of that spotlight back and forth across the fields. Then suddenly, they would appear. Pairs of glowing orbs mysteriously floating in the darkness. Then the spotlight would reveal their source: hundreds of deer standing like statues, ears up, tails twitching, and noses nervously sniffing the air for signs of danger. I was mesmerized at the power the spotlight held on them. It was like they were in a trance, transfixed to the spot on which they stood, unable to stand. It’s why, in most states, it is illegal to hunt deer using any kind of light source. It’s unfair. They can’t help themselves. They’re defenseless. And I can’t help but think of that scene every time I read the warnings that Solomon gives his son regarding the immoral woman. The innocent young man transfixed and seduced by the mesmerizing allure of forbidden fruit and false flattery. Each and every day, young men AND old men get caught in the headlights of lust. The enemy trolls the highways and byways of life looking for men AND women who he can transfix with the bright light of sin. And unlike most law-abiding hunters, Satan ignores any and all rules, taking down as many innocent victims as possible, like stags caught in a trap. He finds his work easy going because most men are easy prey.
But there is another factor involved in this scene that sets it slightly apart from my childhood memories of “deer spotting.” It’s subtle, but significant. Solomon describes seeing a naive young man who lacked common sense. He is one of the simple ones, open-minded and foolish. He is gullible and lacking in common sense or moral character. He is incapable of making good choices or recognizing the danger of his situation. So he crosses the street near the house of an immoral woman. In other words, he puts himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. “It was at twilight, in the evening, as deep darkness fell” (Proverbs 7:9 NLT). He had no business being there, but he also had no sense to know better. He was a fool. He was like a deer strolling smack dab into a camp of hunters.
Deer are naturally wary. They have a built-in defense mechanism – a fright and flight response wired into them by God. But due to the effects of the fall, men have had their spiritual senses deadened. Our sensory perceptors are dulled by sin and we no longer have the capacity to sense danger or know what to do about it if we do. And we become easy prey for the enemy. Like deer tied to a stake with a target painted on our side. So Solomon warns his son. He begs him to listen to his words of warning. He says, “Don’t let your hearts stray away toward her. Don’t wander down her wayward path” (Proverbs 7:25 NLT). Stray away from what? Wander away from what? It is when our hearts stray from God that we become prey for the enemy. It is when we wander off God’s path that we find ourselves in the high weeds or like a deer in the headlights. The words of an old hymn summarize our situation well.
Jesus sought me when a stranger, Wand’ring from the fold of God, He to rescue me from danger, interposed his precious blood. Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love. Here’s my heart, O take and seal it; Seal it for thy courts above.
Be warned. Be worried. Be wary. Keep your heart close to God. Walk His path. Keep close to His side. He will give you wisdom, discernment, and the sensory perception to see danger and run from it. His way is the way to life.
Father, I don’t want to be a deer in the headlights. I need Your wisdom and insight into how to live safely in the midst of this very dangerous world. Open my eyes to Your truth. Give me the ability to see and sense the dangers all around me and avoid them. Protect me. Guide me. Enlighten me. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men