The Hunted Stag

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 7
WHEN I was quite a boy, I well remember seeing a stag hunted, and fleeing for its life, and ultimately taking refuge in a farmyard. The eyes were starting from their sockets, the tongue protruding from its mouth; it tried to catch the cool air as it flew along. Pity for the panting animal rose spontaneously in one’s heart, and “Poor thing!” was involuntarily uttered by at least one onlooker. Its cruel tormentors soon arrived to claim their victim, and bore it away in triumph. I cannot help thinking that we all by nature are very much like that poor hunted stag. For instance, it was pursued by enemies. This is true of the one who is still unsaved, and is like the manslayer with the Avenger pursuing him (Num. 35), hotly chased by the great enemy of souls, the Devil, who seeks to devour, and earnestly day and night endeavors to catch us with one or other of his skillfully-laid snares. The snare of pleasure, in these days, probably entraps as many as any other. Through this many are lost, and find too late that pleasure gained was the price of their soul lost!
Again, the stag was suffering terribly from thirst, without a possibility of quenching it. This is only partly true of us, for while it is true we are thirsty indeed, yet, there is every possibility of our satisfying it. Happy are we if we turn not aside to any empty earthly cistern to quench it, but the rather say with David: “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God” (Ps. 42:1); and where this kind of thirst is there can be no satisfaction but in the “living God.”
Often at a watering-place in a forest animals in coming down to drink are seized and carried off by a lurking foe. And so it is where the Gospel of God is preached; the arch-enemy of souls lies in wait to “devour.” Yet none need despair, for it is written: “If thou seek for Him with all thine heart, He will be found of thee.”
The stag also needed refuge, and found it, but of short duration. There is no gain in denying the fact that we are exposed to the wrath of God (John 3:3636He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. (John 3:36)), and if overtaken outside a place of refuge, there will be no escape. But the refuge of safety and peace is near at hand—so near that in taking one step we may enter in and be perfectly secure, for time and for eternity.
“The word is nigh thee”; believe it. The feast is “now ready”; partake of it. The Saviour Himself bids thee come. Trust Him, and take Him as thine own.