September 5, 2021
So, about a month ago I started hearing noises in our kitchen very early in the morning. I am up writing devotions until the wee hours of the morning, so it is fairly quiet during that time. Now, our air conditioning unit is noisy. It makes lots of quirky noises, as does our refrigerator, but these were new noises. But as soon as I went to check on the noises, they would stop.
My husband and I had been helping someone sell his house and move over a period of several months, so we weren’t home very much, so we weren’t spending much time in our own kitchen. But one day my husband Rick decided to make muffins. It was then that we discovered lots of black droppings in our drawer underneath our stove where we store our pans.
Now, this apartment where we live has cockroaches periodically, so we thought these were cockroach droppings, so we put in a maintenance request to have exterminators come and spray for cockroaches. That never really lasts but a week, though, and then they are back. But with the few that we have, I am able to deal with that, for they are not difficult to kill.
Nonetheless, a week after the exterminator was here, my husband discovered a mouse in our food pantry. His first reaction was to close the mouse in the pantry until an exterminator could come, but we knew that could be a week or two, so he opened the pantry to give the mouse the opportunity to vacate.
Then we took all our food out of the pantry, and we discovered these same little black droppings all throughout our food pantry. So, then we threw out all the food that had been in there, for we believed it was now all contaminated by the mice and their droppings (feces; excrement). And then my husband cleaned and sanitized our pantry shelves.
We immediately put in another request to the maintenance department, and they scheduled another visit with the exterminator, who sprayed for mice this time around (this past Wednesday). But then there was the task of finding their points of entry and blocking those so that they could not reenter the kitchen. That was done yesterday. We hope we found them all.
But the apartment still smells like mice because they are apparently living in our heating and air ducts. So, I am breathing into my lungs every day the smell of mice and their droppings, which is not healthy. And so we are trying to figure out what to do next, for we are not sure what help our maintenance department is going to give us, for they don’t seem to be responding to us.
I know this is a “first world” problem, and that it pales by comparison to the sufferings of many people throughout the world, but still it is a trial for me. I feel like I can’t have house guests as long as this is unresolved, and I feel as though we can’t buy more pantry food not knowing if the mice have another way to get into our apartment and pantry, so this is a challenge for me.
So, I have to keep reminding myself that God is in control, that he is fully sovereign over every aspect of my life, and that he has allowed (permitted) this to take place in our lives for a reason. And so, I keep putting my trust in him, and I pray for my faith to increase and for wisdom to know what to do next, for we may have to take more drastic measures against this infestation.
In the meanwhile, I also have been praying to the Lord, inquiring of him if he has something he wants to teach me through this, or if he wants to use this real life situation as a parable to teach a biblical truth, for he does that with me frequently.
So, as I was writing this, I looked up the meaning of feces, which then took me to excrement, which then took me to “filth, dirt, dung.” Filth can also mean “lewdness, moral impurity, lasciviousness, vileness, wickedness, sin, dishonesty, and corruption, etc. And we live in an “apartment.” And the word apartment, broken down, can mean “the result of being apart.”
Also, mice are vermin, and vermin are also cockroaches (we have both), and a person who is a cockroach or vermin is malicious, fake (false), a liar, a manipulator, not trustworthy, a deceiver, evil, immoral and spiritually unclean, like what the Scriptures might call a dog, a false teacher. And they spread their “feces” like the Pharisees spread their false teachings.
In the kitchen
The vermin were definitely in the kitchen, as we killed 3 of them in there, but we are smelling them in our air ducts, so we believe they are there, also, which is one of the places mice like to live, evidently.
Well, the kitchen is a place where food is prepared and served to eat, and the Scriptures are our spiritual food as is Jesus who is the living word and the bread of life. So, these vermin in the kitchen could very well be symbolic of these false teachers in positions in the church where they are preparing the food (their sermons) and distributing it for the people to “eat.”
And these false teachers in the church are definitely serving up their “feces,” i.e., their filth, immorality, and wickedness, by the mere fact that so many of them are teaching that faith in Jesus Christ requires no obedience to our Lord, no submission to him as Lord, and no turning away from our sinful lifestyles to follow Jesus in purity of devotion to him. And they are actually opposing the true gospel by calling it “works-based salvation.”
And this is putting the church at risk spiritually health wise. For, so many people are claiming faith in Jesus Christ while they continue on in their immorality and wickedness without conscience, lying, denying, and making excuses for why they are still living in sin and for why they are not yet living in victory over sin and in holiness and righteousness.
Filling the holes
After the exterminator sprayed to kill off the mice, the maintenance people were supposed to come fill the holes, but they didn’t. So, I asked my husband to please fill them, for I don’t know anything about how to do that and he does. But he was reluctant to have to deal with the filth, and he hoped they would show up and do it. But I saw a delay as just more opportunity for the vermin to find their way back in.
As I thought about that, it reminded me of dealing with sin. If all we do is try to get rid of the sin, but we don’t do anything to stop its reentry into our lives, it will find its way back into our lives. Many people who make efforts to stop sinning, or give the appearance of doing so, fall short of attaining success because they won’t plug up the points of entry for that sin.
In other words, I have heard people say that they try to stop sinning in particular ways, but they won’t deal with what is in their hearts, and they won’t throw off all that hinders, and all that leads them into sin, and so they naturally return to the same sins over and over again. Mainly they won’t surrender their lives to Jesus, but they are still trying to maintain control.
So, here we have “vermin” in the pulpits in our churches who are feeding the people their “feces” (filth, immorality, wickedness), and their feces is spreading far and wide because no one who is responsible for doing so is plugging the holes to try to stop the feces from entering into the church and into the gospel. And this is putting the people at risk morally and spiritually.
And this should be an area of deep concern for us all, and we should all be doing whatever we can to stop the spreading of their “feces.” Some of us may be able to make a dent in the overall problem, but the problem is much bigger than what we can handle. We still need to keep obeying our Lord, but we also have to trust the Lord to solve this problem.
Also, we must recognize the times in which we live, which are close to being like the “days of Noah.” And this is because the people are living apart from God. Only God can solve the overall problem, but we can be like Noah, and we can do what God has called us to do, and pray that some people will listen, and that they will turn from their wickedness to follow the Lord Jesus in obedience to his ways. Then, we need to trust the Lord with the results.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 4:1-16; Jn 6:44; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2]