A few years ago there was a report of a 28-year-old man who died in a possible alligator attack in Orange, just outside of Beaumont. This is highly unusual because alligator attacks are not that common in Texas. The last fatal alligator attack in Texas occurred about two centuries ago.
The man, whose identity was not released pending notification of his family, was swimming with a woman in Adams Bayou off Burkart’s Marina when police said a large alligator apparently attacked him.
Allen Burkart owns the marina, a family-friendly place selling beer and hamburgers with a shuffleboard table, and said two of his employees were cleaning up when the man said he was going to jump in the water.
“They were begging him not to do it,” said Burkart, who is 82 and has owned the marina for 50 years.
He said the alligator, which is about 12 foot long, was spotted in the bayou in recent weeks so he put up a sign: NO SWIMMING, ALLIGATOR!
This man was admonished by two employees not to jump into the bayou. He ignored the signs posted warning him of alligators in the water. He ended up paying the ultimate price because of it.
Ezekiel says the same thing happens to us.
17“Yet your people say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just,’ when it is their own way that is not just. 18When the righteous turns from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it. 19And when the wicked turns from his wickedness and does what is just and right, he shall live by this. 20Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to his ways. – Ezekiel 33:17-20
Ezekiel is telling his people that when we turn away from the Lord, when we ignore the warning signs that God has given us, when we refuse to listen to the counsel and admonition of those around us; it can lead us to death.
The hope, however, is found in listening. When we listen to the warnings, when we heed the word of God, when we walk in the paths that God has laid out for us, it brings life and life abundantly.
Are we listening? Are we seeing the warning signs before us? Are we in the Word so that we can know these warning signs when we approach them? Are we seeking God and His ways in our lives? We don’t want to be a tragic story like this. Let us, instead, be a story of triumph and glory to God that we have found our way. That we have found life!
* Alligator photo courtesy and copyright JR Dunn Photography