The pantry shared a wall with the dining area. One frigid morning we were eating breakfast when we suddenly heard a sharp snap, followed by a thump on that wall’s other side, then squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak, and a scrambling of tiny feet. I didn’t think this was the way mousetraps were supposed to work, but what did I know? Before that fall, I had never even seen one except on cartoons.
Keith walked around, peered into the pantry, and started laughing. When we had set the trap inside the door, we had pushed it in with the peanut butter side against the wall and the spring on the side toward the door. Evidently the mouse had climbed onto the spring and when he started nibbling on the peanut butter, it had snapped, catapulting him into the wall. Having survived the trap, he had run away unscathed except, perhaps, for a nasty bump on the head.
That night we reset the trap, this time pushing it in the other way around. Sure enough, as we were eating breakfast the next morning we heard the snap, followed by a deathly quiet. Keith disposed of the interloper after we finished eating.
That mouse thought he had found a way around the trap. That dumb animal thought he was safe because one time he had had a nibble without it killing him. If mice could think such things, I could just imagine, “It won’t happen to me,” coming out of his mouth, just like a few dumb humans I know of. It isn’t enough to stay out of the trap—you have to stay completely away from it. Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; He who keeps his soul shall be far from them, Prov 22:5.
Job pictures the life of the wicked as nothing but snares, 18:8-10. Jeremiah says they lay snares for the righteous, 5:26. How do they do that? By their very lifestyles. We look, and we want, and we wish, and suddenly we do—just like they do. God warned the Israelites not to even covet the gold and silver covering the idols, lest you be snared therein, Deut 7:25. It is not enough to just want their lives and “not do the sins they do—I know better than that!” How can we not eventually fall into the same things they did? Because, like that mouse, we think we have found a way to nibble on one side and not be caught by the other.
The Proverb writer says we are often ensnared “with the words of our own mouths,” 6:2. We say we abhor sin, we say we don’t want to do bad things, but with the same mouth we idolize people who live without morals, without integrity, and without self-control, people who care nothing at all about God. They may even wear crosses around their necks and thank the Lord in public, but they turn right around and profane Him with their lives. And we think we wouldn’t be trapped by sin the same way they are? How foolish, how immature can we be?
Don’t glamorize sin. Don’t worship those who do. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can sit on one side of the mousetrap and have a bite of something good, and a fun, and exciting ride to boot. The next time you nibble, someone may very well have turned the mousetrap around.
But my eyes are toward you, O GOD, my Lord; in you I seek refuge; leave me not defenseless!
Keep me from the trap that they have laid for me and from the snares of evildoers! Psalm 141:8,9.