They were tiny little things. I didn't even realize they'd come calling until I took the blackstrap molasses out of the cupboard for breakfast one morning. Even then, I was oblivious to their presence . . . until I set the molasses on the table . . . and saw them scurrying away. (A wandering scout had apparently discovered the sticky sweetness just inside the cap at some earlier point in time, and hustled off to share his find with his buddies, who hastened to the new treat. Oh that we would be as faithful in sharing the delights of God's love!).
They were soon brushed off, and breakfast proceeded without incident. I did make sure to put the molasses somewhere else, though, to give the little rascals time to figure out that their meal was no longer available, and move on (preferably out of my house!) to "greener pastures."
When I went in to start lunch, I checked the cupboard to make sure they'd evacuated so I could put the molasses away. Whoops! Not only had they not evacuated . . . they'd recruited reinforcements . . . and invaded the peanut butter jar. (Another lesson for us?)
Unfortunately (for me), that lid was not on very tight. They'd managed to get inside . . . and even down into the peanut butter. NOT good! I carefully removed all of them (I hope!) with a spoon . . . and the peanut butter joined the molasses on the counter on the opposite side of the kitchen!
At this point, it was time for further action. I have a special bottle, filled with special food, for just such occasions. I put a few drops on a piece of tinfoil and set it on the shelf where the peanut butter had been.
I watched for a few minutes, but didn't see any immediate takers, so went back to what I was doing. The next time I looked, there was very little free space around my offerings. My "friends" were crowding around for a drink of this delicious new food.
It looked good. It tasted good. And "everyone" was enjoying it. So many couldn't possibly be "wrong," could they? . . . or could they?
Unfortunately for them, they failed to check the ingredients of my bottle of special food:
If they had, they might have been less anxious to enjoy it, and carry it back to their nest to share with the rest of their family. They were oblivious to the fact that that delicious new food spelled death for all who indulged it. (How often, when we fall for Satan's temptations, we hasten off to invite others to join us in rebelling against God, often to both of our eternal ruin.)
As I watched the ants over the next few hours, adding more poison as they cleaned up what was there, I couldn't help but think of yet another spiritual parallel:
Like the ants sincere belief that this new food was beneficial, "Eve (at the forbidden tree) really believed the words of Satan, but her belief did not save her from the penalty of sin. She disbelieved the words of God, and this was what led to her fall. In the judgment men will not be condemned because they conscientiously believed a lie, but because they did not believe the truth, because they neglected the opportunity of learning what is truth.Notwithstanding the sophistry of Satan to the contrary, it is always disastrous to disobey God. We must set our hearts to know what is truth. All the lessons which God has caused to be placed on record in His word are for our warning and instruction. They are given to save us from deception. Their neglect will result in ruin to ourselves. Whatever contradicts God’s word, we may be sure proceeds from Satan." – Patriarchs and Prophets, page 55, paragraph 2. (Emphasis mine.)
The only way for us to escape Satan's deceptive snares is to be diligent students of God's word, and to measure every thought, word, and deed by that standard. It doesn't matter what others think, say, or do. They are not our example.
Just as I watched the ants falling for my innocent-looking "temptation," so Satan is watching, and gloating, when he can entice us to swallow his lies, because we forgot to "read the ingredients" through careful, prayerful, diligent, study of God's word.
It is my prayer that we will learn from the ants' mistake, and make that Word the guide of our lives from this day forward.