JAKE ROBERTS:  Marmota monax (say what?)

D. Jake Roberts is the assistant pastor at Monument Bible Church in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Before semi-retiring in 2010 he served as the lead pastor at Monument Bible Church for nearly 20 years. He was a missionary in Wisconsin for 10 years, 3 years in Ohio before moving to western Nebraska. He has been a student and teacher of the Word of God for over 50 years. He has also worked as an elementary school principal, teacher, high school counselor, head basketball coach, athletic director, businessman and ski instructor. He and his wife, Sharry, have been married for over 50 years.

I just purchased my archery deer tags today along with my Senior hunt-fish combo tag (don’t yet know when I can go fling flies at trout). What a privilege! (Thank you State of Nebraska…the senior discount is truly appreciated). Ready to roll!

The license carries a number of important rules, regulations and some basic required commitments including the signing of my name, once I had paid the assigned (not really a negotiation) hunter/fisher fees.

This all is a bit of a vow on my part and my agreeing to abide by the rules…or ELSE. The trade-off seems reasonable enough, however, for the privilege and joys that attend being in a treestand where the writing of this column accumulates much of its fodder and content.

If I go against the power of my signature and my vow, then grave consequences await.

I know that some folks flirt with the lurking temptations to violate the vow: you know… hunting hours, legal equipment, legal limits, check-in laws, seasons, trespassing … to cite a few. “No big deal” worms its way into the viscera and thinking of one’s beliefs, integrity, character and respect.

I have read, “violators will be persecuted.” Though probably true, it should most likely read “prosecuted.”

Although I’ve seen some signs on line that even go well beyond persecuting … like the posting on a piece of attractive hunting ground in Idaho, “Prayer is the best way to meet the Lord, trespassing is even faster.”

The look of eye, shaking of the hand, signing your name…serious business. I vow __________.

I quote the word of God at weddings where there are these penetrating and applicable teachings regarding the exchange of vows. “When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; For He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed—Better not to vow than to vow and not pay. (Ecclesiastes 5:4, 5). Do you remember some vows in the Bible that were regretted and wished undone? Like the king ruling the edict he had made to throw violators who refused to worship his idol/image into the Lion’s den. After a night of fasting and sleeplessness, he hurried to the den and cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” Daniel’s reply “ My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you.” (Daniel chapter 6)

And another instance where guilty and hypocritical adulterers grasped their stones to pulverize a woman caught in adultery. JESUS shouted for the one without sin to cast the first stone (John 8:7) Esther put her life on the line as she stood before her husband, King Ahaseurus. At risk was her vow-requirements for her marriage. Yet, God prepared her for “such a moment as this,” her husband bearing a shameful regret for ever having been duped into such an edict.

Have you ever regretted giving your word? Have you ever reneged on a vow you made? Have you ever had to pay dearly to keep a promise you made? So, just who OWNS the deer, really?

When successful we utter things like “I got MY buck.” I paid for the license with my signature serving as my vow to understand and obey the laws of Nebraska.

I for sure don’t own it!

By the way did you see the road-kill by Scottsbluff Walmart? It was a HUGE big-antlered mule deer. Wonder who owns that one.

PRAYER NUGGET: Lord JESUS I vow to love and obey you and, thank YOU for keeping YOUR promise! Nebraska Panhandle and eastern Wyoming … I love you and am praying for you.

All Bible references are from the NKJV

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