Mistaken Identity by Randy Rowley 12/11/18 ©


On the Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving, I put my safety harness, a light jacket, and 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 mature 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 I was hunting (Williamson), which requires bucks with branched antlers to have a 13-inch minimum inside spread.  Secondly, my Winchester Super X4 (SX4) 12 gauge shotgun was unloaded.  (I was hunting with a shotgun as the property was too small to hunt with a rifle safely.)  Thirdly, he was outside of buckshot range.

I crept up to a big tree ten 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 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 to the neighbor’s property.  The doe followed suit.

I kicked myself for not being ready.  I put my backpack back on, went to the stand, climbed it, attached my safety harness, pulled my shotgun up with the pull rope, loaded it, and got settled.

About 45 minutes later, three does jumped the fence and started to graze next to the hog trap about 100 yards away from me.  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 mainly over.

I watched the buck for about 15 minutes.  He didn’t give me the presentation that I needed to determine if he was legal – looking straight at me with his ears relaxed.  I grunted a couple of times, which made him look my way, but both times his ears were alert.

The does went back to the neighbor’s property, and he followed them.  I grunted twice more in an attempt to stop him.  It worked – he made a U-turn and jumped the fence.  But he started grazing again.  He eventually headed in my direction and went down to the creek but was still out of range.

Finally, near the end of legal shooting time, he gave me the presentation that I needed.  He was legal, 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.  Soon, he was out of sight.

Sighing, I decided to call it a day even though I had five minutes of legal 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 my tree, and he was only 15 yards away.  A skinny bush hid his head, 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 shotgun’s bead on his chest, took the safety off, squeezed the trigger, and 18 00 buckshot headed his way.  He ran away 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 the buck had run through the creek, but he wasn’t on the other side.  We walked a few yards, and I spotted his white belly.

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

Blood rushed to my head, and I broke out in a cold sweat.  I knew I shot 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 he was a legal deer for Williamson County.

We loaded him in Ryan’s wheelbarrow and wheeled him to my truck.  After tagging and loading him, we went to my house, 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, bring it to him to eat, and he would 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, which she prepared to Isaac’s liking.  She also had Jacob put on Esau’s clothes, and she covered his hands and the smooth part of his neck with the goatskins.  Jacob then went to his father to serve him the 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 thought that he was Esau.

The rest of the story is a sad one.  Shortly after that, Esau came in from the field, prepared the game he had killed, and brought it to his father.  They then learned of Isaac’s mistaken identity and Jacob’s and Rebekah’s deceit.  Esau asked Isaac to bless him too, but Isaac had only one blessing.  Instead, he prophesied that Esau would serve Jacob.  Esau then vowed to kill Jacob, who then fled 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 man asks us how we’re doing, 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 and honest with fellow Christians when going through trials and when we’re struggling.  But we must use spiritual discernment and not reveal things to believers who are incapable of helping us – backslidden Christians who are no longer walking with the Lord and baby Christians.

God will never mistake our identity like Jacob mistook Esau’s identity.  We can never fool him.  He sees into the deepest reaches of our hearts.  He knew us – even before we were born.  God said in Jeremiah 1:5, “‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.’”  God said in Jeremiah 16:17, “My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from me, nor is their sin concealed from my eyes.”  Hebrews 4:13 says, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight.  Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

God knows the truth because he is the truth.  Matthew 14:6 says, “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.’”  As God is truth, he knows what’s a lie.  He not only hears our prayers but even knows why we said what we did.

Do people mistake you with an actor, like I mistook that spike for a mature buck?  If so, it’s time to stop pretending and be honest with yourself, God, and mature Christians.  When you’re honest with God – when you come clean with God in prayer, he’ll respond to your honesty.  And then he can begin to use you to further his Kingdom.  Also, when you’re honest with mature believers, you’ll find that they’ll sharpen you and help you achieve victory.

Categories : Devotionals

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For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

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