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Playing With Sharks

SharkSpray burst into the air as the salty waves crashed on the coral reefs that surrounded the little islands just off the coast of northern Africa. Nearby, the small ship Elie Monnier lay at anchor, rolling on the large waves of the North Atlantic. The beautiful, clear waters seemed to welcome Captain Jack and his friend Nick. They and their crew had come to film the beautiful undersea life.

Shark fin

Every day they nervously noted the different kinds of sharks near their boat. At first they were jittery about the sharks when they went into the water. They had been warned repeatedly of the danger of sharks in these waters and so were very cautious. No cameraman on their ship was allowed to swim out for pictures alone; instead they traveled in pairs. One carried the camera while the other carried a harpoon, ready for any danger.

Once while peering through the water, Captain Jack could just make out the shape of a huge shark in the gloom ahead. But as it moved closer, his heart missed a beat as he saw the immense jaws of the nearly 25-foot-long monster. He moved closer to his friend Nick who had the harpoon. Their muscles tensed as they watched the great fish swimming slowly toward them. Suddenly the shark caught sight of the two men. Fear and fascination filled Jack and Nick. To their intense relief the shark whirled and swam away, seemingly in fear.

Days of filming passed, and the two friends gradually were becoming less afraid of the sharks. Before long Jack was even going out looking for sharks to film. Even the known man-eating sharks seemed to be afraid of the men and would turn and swim away. Just like Jack and Nick were losing their fear of the sharks, boys and girls lose their fear of sinning against God. God's Word, the Bible, even says that there are "pleasures of sin for a season" (Hebrews 11:25). Sin doesn't always seem so bad. Some people even think they have control over their tendency to sin. However, the Bible says, "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool" (Proverbs 28:26).

Jack and his friends were certainly starting to be foolish about playing around with the sharks. One day one of the men even swam into a cave with sharks and pulled their tails. The sharks darted outside the cave and swam away while Jack's friends filmed them.

Another day Jack decided to take the Elie Monnier away from the islands for some deep-sea filming. As soon as they reached the deeper waters, Nick sighted a small whale. He and Jack grabbed their camera and dove in to follow it beneath the waves. Only 15 feet beneath the surface they noticed an 9-foot-long gray shark. Fearlessly they swam toward it, assuming that it would run from them as all the others had. Instead, it headed toward them and began to circle. Nick reached for the shark's tail and gave it a twist. The shark shook him off and continued slowly circling the two men.

Fascinated by the shark, the men were being drawn deeper and deeper into the depths of the ocean. Fascinated by sin, boys and girls are drawn further and further into serious trouble. The Bible tells us that "every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust [desire], and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived [the desire is followed], it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death" (James 1:14-15).

Jack would soon worry about death himself. Swimming up right beneath him were two vicious-looking, 16-foot-long, steel-blue sharks. Now he and Nick were finally becoming afraid. Surrounded by sharks more than 60 feet beneath the surface, they struggled against panic as the sharks slowly circled closer and closer to the two divers. Jack tried blowing air bubbles at the sharks to scare them off. That didn't work. Then he tried a chemical that had been effective in driving away sharks. The gray shark swam right through the chemicals and closed in on the desperate men. It swam directly toward Jack until its giant jaws completely filled his vision. In desperation Jack smashed his camera against the shark's snout! It veered away ... but began to circle again.

Shark circlingFighting for the surface, Jack and Nick grew more and more tired. Their strength had begun to give out, and the sharks seemed to be settling in for the kill. Their efforts had failed to drive off the sharks, and they were as helpless as a person in the clutches of sin.

Shark circlingJack and Nick were trapped by the sharks, just as many boys and girls are trapped by the clutches of sin. Sensing the end, the sharks moved faster and faster as they closed in on Jack and Nick.

The two friends managed to reach the surface and desperately tried to get the attention of the crew on the Elie Monnier. But no one on the ship seemed to notice them.

Exhausted, one man watched underwater for the sharks while the other rested. When the sharks approached, they dove toward them and turned the sharks aside. Their oxygen supply dwindled. Soon they would be forced to dive while holding their breath. Before long they wouldn't have the strength even to dive, and then ...

They had almost given up hope when suddenly a dark shadow moved over their heads, and the sharks turned and plunged into the depths of the ocean. The ship's crew had seen their struggles and attempts to alert them. The shadow of the Elie Monnier's hull passing overhead had driven off the sharks.

A loving God always hears the sinner's cry for help. He will come swiftly to help anyone who cries out for mercy, and He will free them from their sin. "Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me" (Psalm 50:15). The Lord Jesus has died and taken the punishment for sins. Now He is "faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). Won't you cry out for His help today? "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10:13).

Copied with permission from Messages of God's Love published by Bible Truth Publishers, Addison, IL  60101.

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