Mistaken Identity by Randy Rowley 12/11/18 ©


On the Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving I put my safety harness, a light jacket, and my backpack on and walked towards the west side ladder stand on a small property near Round Rock.  As I neared the creek a doe ran out, followed shortly by a decent sized eight point buck.

He was in range but I had three problems.  For starters my binoculars were in my backpack.  I couldn’t tell if he was a legal deer for the county that I was hunting (Williamson), which requires a minimum 13” inside spread.  Secondly my shotgun was unloaded.  Thirdly, he was outside of shotgun range.  I walked slowly up to a big tree that was 10 yards away and tried to use it to hide my movements.  As the buck watched me, I slowly leaned my shotgun against the tree and started to slowly take my backpack off of my back.

But it was not slow enough for his tastes.  He twitched his tail and trotted over to the fence and jumped over into the neighbor’s property.  The doe followed suit.  I kicked myself for not being ready.  I put my backpack back on, went over to the stand, climbed it, attached my safety harness, pulled my shotgun up with the pullup rope, and got settled in.

About 45 minutes later three doe jumped the fence and started to graze next to the hog trap.  The buck that I had seen earlier soon joined them, but the four of them were only interested in eating, which made me conclude that the rut was mostly over.

I watched the buck for about 15 minutes.  He didn’t give me the presentation that I was looking for – looking straight at me with his ears relaxed.  I grunted a couple times, and that made him look my way, but both times his ears were alert.  He was also 100 yards away, way out of buckshot range.

The does went back to the neighbor’s property and he followed them, but another couple grunts made him return.  He started grazing again and eventually headed down to the creek.  He continued down the creek roughly in my direction, but was still out of range.

Finally as it was nearing the end of legal shooting time he gave me the presentation that I was looking for.  He was definitely a legal buck, but he was not yet in range.  I tried to coax him 20 yards closer, but this time when I grunted he turned around and went back the way that he had come until he was out of sight.

Sighing, I decided to call it a day even though I had five minutes of shooting time left.  I put my grunt call in my backpack and then my binoculars.  I started to unload my shotgun, but then saw movement.  A deer was coming straight at the tree that I was in and he was only 15 yards away.  His head was hidden by a skinny bush, but I knew that it was the buck that I had been watching most of the afternoon.  I figured that he had decided to get a closer look at the fake buck that had been grunting at him.

I put my bead on his chest and squeezed the trigger.  He ran towards the creek with his back legs low and crashed into the creek.  I knew that he was dead.

My son, Ryan, met me at the creek.  I thought that the buck had run through the creek but he wasn’t on the other side.  We walked a few yards and I finally spotted his white belly.

We walked back to the other side and over to him.  My son was in the lead and got to the buck first.  He said, “That’s no eight point.”  I made it to him a second later and saw that Ryan was correct – it was a spike.

The blood rushed to my head and I broke out in a cold sweat.  I knew that what I shot was a deer, so I hadn’t completely violated the cardinal rule to identify your target before shooting, but I had partially violated it.  Fortunately, I hadn’t broken the law, as it was a legal deer for Williamson County.

We loaded the spike in Ryan’s wheelbarrow and wheeled it over to my truck.  After we loaded him up we took him to my house.  We skinned and gutted him and put him on ice.  All the while I kept kicking myself for making such a newbie mistake.

Genesis Chapter 27 tells a story of deceit and mistaken identity – the story of Jacob’s theft of his older twin brother, Esau’s, blessing.  Their father, Isaac, had grown old and blind and knew that he was about to die.  He commanded Esau to get his quiver and bow, go hunt wild game, prepare it for him, and bring it to him to eat, so that he might bless him before he died.

When Esau left, Jacob’s mother, Rebekah, who favored Jacob and who had heard Isaac’s command, hatched a wicked scheme.  She had Jacob bring her two goats.  She prepared the goats to Isaac’s liking.  She also had Jacob put on Esau’s clothes and covered his hands and the smooth part of his neck with the goatskins.  Jacob then went to his father to serve him the goat meat.

Jacob went close to his father Isaac, who suspected that something was amiss, as his son had not been gone long.  Isaac asked his son, ““How did you find it so quickly, my son?”” Jacob replied, ““The Lord your God gave me success.””  Isaac touched Jacob and recognized that the voice was the voice of Jacob, but the hands were the hands of Esau.  But the smell of his son was the deciding factor.  It was like the smell of a field.  He then gave his blessing to Jacob, because he though he was Esau.

The rest of the story is a sad one.  Shortly thereafter Esau came in from the field, prepared the game that he had killed, and brought it to his father.  They then learned of Jacob’s and Rebekah’s deceit and Isaac’s mistaken identity.  Esau asked Isaac to bless him too.  However, Isaac had only one blessing.  Instead he prophesied that Esau would serve Jacob.  Esau then vowed to kill Jacob, who responded by fleeing to Harran, where his uncle lived.

Unfortunately there are many sad stories of mistaken identity today.  We men, especially, are like Jacob – the ultimate actors.  We put on fronts and act like we’ve got it all together.  When another person asked us how we’re doing and we give the universal answer – “I’m fine.”  Inwardly many of us are weary, afraid, unsure of ourselves, jealous, bitter, proud, lustful, selfish, depressed, etc.  But we’re such good actors that our brothers think that we’re living the victorious life.  We say and do the expected things, but inwardly we’re in chaos.  We have little peace or joy.

Proverbs 27:17 (BSB) says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” and Proverbs 11:14 (NASB) says, “Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in abundance of counselors there is victory.”

We need to stop acting.  We must be open, honest, and real with fellow Christians when we are going through trials and struggling, but we must use spiritual discernment and not reveal things to believers who are incapable of helping us, including backslidden Christians who are no longer walking with the Lord and baby Christians.

Do people mistake the real you with an actor, like when I mistook that spike for a mature buck?  If so, it’s time to become honest with yourself, God, and mature Christians.  The Lord knows exactly who you are.  Psalm 119:168 says, “I obey your precepts and your statutes, for all my ways are known to you.”  You can never fool God and he will never mistake your identity.

Get real with God.  You’ll find that he’s always real with you.  Also get real with mature believers and you’ll find that they’ll sharpen you and help you achieve victory.

Categories : Devotionals

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