Thwarted! by Randy Rowley 8/1/18 ©


With considerable anticipation, my brother-in-law, Roy Brigman, and I boarded Captain Dannie Golden’s boat on Lake Ray Roberts on a Saturday in mid-August for a morning of bass fishing.  Dannie is the Get Bit Guide Service owner and has a great reputation.

We were booked to fish with him in early March but postponed our trip because a high chance of thunderstorms was forecast.  Two days before our scheduled March trip, one of Dannie’s clients caught a 15.18 lb. bass, setting a new lake record.  As the spawn was long past, Roy and I knew we probably wouldn’t catch bass anywhere near that large, but we hoped to catch some keepers and a decent-sized one or two.

Dannie took us over the northeast side of the lake.  We started to see trees in the water, but Dannie didn’t slow down, as he was following his usual trail on his fishfinder’s GPS until he got to a big point.  He turned off the motor, handed me a baitcaster rod and reel combo rigged with a Yellow Magic popper, and handed Roy one rigged with a spinnerbait.

He then headed towards the bank, using his trolling motor.  We heard what sounded like bunches of little splashes as we neared the bank.  Then we saw what was making the commotion – a gigantic school of shad was feeding along the bank.  The school was easily 100 yards long and 30 yards wide.

When we got within casting range, I threw the popper towards the bank, but instead of it landing softly among the shad, it stopped in mid-air.  I knew that could only mean one thing – a backlash.  Looking down confirmed by presumption and also revealed that the line had broken.  Dannie retrieved the popper while I worked the backlash out and retreaded the line through the rod’s eyelets.  I then re-tied the popper and resumed fishing.

We stayed by the school for about 15 minutes, but either the bass weren’t there, or our lures didn’t fool them.  The former theory is most likely, as there were no blowups on any shad in the school.  Our best efforts were thwarted.  With neither of us getting a hit, Dannie decided to try another spot.

Roy ended the morning with four largemouth bass and one sand bass, I caught a largemouth and a spotted bass, and Danny caught a few largemouths, including a six-pounder.  All of the largemouths were decent-sized fish, but what we’ll remember most is what could have been if bass had been under those shad.  Roy will also not forget a huge bass that almost took his crawdad a few feet from the boat.  Dannie and Roy watched it swim away.

The Old Testament prophet Jonah also knew something about being thwarted.  In Jonah 1:2, God commanded Jonah to “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”  In Jonah 1:3, we learn how Jonah responded, “But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish.  He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port.  After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.”

In Jonah 1:4 – 3:10, Jonah learned that he could run from God but couldn’t get very far.  God created a great storm on the sea.  Jonah was thrown overboard by the sailors at his insistence, as he knew his rebellion had caused God to create the storm.  But he didn’t drown – instead, he was swallowed by a giant fish!  During his three days and nights in the fish’s belly, Jonah repented.  Then the fish vomited him onto dry land, and Jonah went to Nineveh and preached, and the Ninevites also repented.  God then had compassion and withheld his judgment.

But that’s not the entire recount.  Jonah was angry with God for sparing the Ninevites.  Jonah 4:2-3 says, “He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home?  That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish.  I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.  Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”  God thwarted Jonah’s desire to see God judge the Ninevites, and Jonah responded with a pity party.

The book ends with the Lord setting Jonah straight, essentially telling Jonah he had nothing to do with creating the Ninevites and, therefore, it was not he who would decide their fate.  Jonah’s most egregious sin was that he judged the Ninevites by his values, not God’s truths.

Sometimes we promote our values as the standard rather than holding God’s word as the standard.  Paul addressed this issue in two of his letters.

Romans 14 conveys that some vegetarian believers were judging those who ate meat, and some of those who ate everything were treating the vegetarians with contempt.  Also, some believers considered certain days holy, and others thought every day was the same.  Both groups were judging those in the opposing group.

In 1 Corinthians Chapter 8, the issue was some Christians were eating meat sacrificed to idols.  Those who didn’t eat such meat were judging those who did.

The Bible hadn’t addressed those issues, but the Roman and Corinthian Christians decided that they’d judge others who didn’t adhere to their values.  Paul’s answers to these debates thwarted what those Christians were trying to do.  They included:

  • “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another.  Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.” (Romans 14:13.)
  • “Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.  Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food.” (Romans 14:19-20.)
  • “But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.  Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.” (1 Corinthians 8:8-9.)
  • When I was in high school, we had a visiting youth minister preach to our youth group.  He thought it was a sin for couples to kiss or even hold hands before marriage.  He was a very persuasive speaker, and several of the couples in the youth group broke up after hearing him speak.  Shortly afterward, our pastor apologized to the congregation for inviting that minister to preach.  He told us the minister was presenting his values and not God’s truths, and we should disregard what he told us to do.

In some cases, when we try to promote our values as God’s truths when the Bible hasn’t addressed the subject, we do so because we desire to help God out.  In other cases, helping God has nothing to do with it – it’s just our pride, arrogance, and over-inflated egos making us think we can’t be wrong.  Regardless of our motivation, we’re sinning when we regard our values as Biblical truths and judge those who don’t share our values.

James 4:12 says, “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy.”  Do we think we serve God when we judge others by our values?

Rather than judge others who don’t adhere to our values that the Bible hasn’t addressed as truths, we must instead judge our pride, humble ourselves before God, and repent!

As Roy and I were thwarted on that hot summer day when we futilely tried to catch bass underneath that big school of shad, and Jonah was thwarted in his ungodly judging of the Ninevites who had repented, God will thwart us when we regard our values as truths instead of God’s word.




Categories : Devotionals

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