The sun was preparing its descent below the horizon. Evening colors of pink, red and purple were filling the western sky. Shadow lay on his back, enjoying the sky colors. He licked his paws, which were a little tender from all the running they had done yesterday. They had run all the way to the far end of Green Haven forest. It had been the farthest Shadow had been from home. He remembered running along the rich moss covered forest floor. The heavily shaded giant trees, allowing only patches of sunlight to filter in. The view from the end of Green Haven looked out over a vast plain of prairie grasses and wild flowers. Reflectively he thought, “The Creator sure has prepared a wide open world for us to explore and each new day brought exciting adventures and never a moment to wonder what to do next.”
Shadow’s thoughts returned to the present. “Graysome, their pack leader had special plans for tonight. No one knew what those plans were and none would dare ask him. He was their leader and all wolves understood this. Graysome’s very appearance commanded respect and his leadership was never questioned. Whatever he was planning would benefit the entire pack.” Shadow could hardly wait.
Shadow was nearly a year old and almost a full-grown wolf with large white teeth, a thick gray coat, and big padded feet, which could walk noiselessly through the forest. He was as quiet as a shadow in the woods, a master at moving without making even a pine needle crackle. Some of his pack brothers and sisters were faster or could jump farther than he could, but none were as silent as a shadow. Each pack member had a special talent different from the others and his had become obvious at an early age. His father, Bornfirst, had been surprised more than once when Shadow had teased his family by jumping from the shadows with his quiet skill. Even though Bornfirst was the first wolf of their pack, he had not been chosen to be the leader. Graysome who was only a little younger had been given this responsibility. But the wolves lived in harmony and Bornfirst was not jealous or envious at seemingly being passed over. Graysome had so much responsibility with his leadership role that more than often he was too busy for the younger wolves to talk to or help with a problem. Bornfirst, on the other hand, had all the time in the world and most younger wolves in the pack sought his wise council. He enjoyed being their friend and helping them as they grew from knowing little to knowing more. Shadow was glad that the creator had given him such a special dad.
Lupine was sleeping nearby, along with Fleetfoot and Alfane. They usually slept during the day and woke up just as the evening coolness was beginning to set in. Lupine yawned, opened one eye and shined her teeth at him. They were good friends and the white smile made him feel good. The pack was waking up and it wasn’t long before Graysome would arrive with the rest of wolves.
Soon enough Graysome padded in, his officers following in rank. Graysome, his officers, along with Lupine, Fleetfoot, Alfane, Shadow, and others brought the wolf number to 15. All were accounted for. Rightpaw howled, and the rest joined in creating a rich wolfish music, which echoed through the forest. No other animals could make music quite like the wolves. Their music was unique and would have made the hair stand up on your arms, as the notes rose and fell in different pitches mingling in the night air. It was a gift that was special to them. When the howling stopped, Graysome stood up on a high rock above them.
“Tonight, we will are going on a hunt.”
“What’s a hunt?” asked Fleetfoot.
“That’s what we are going to learn tonight.” Graysome answered.
Rightpaw tried to look serious and said in a low voice, “We are still being taught. We are such new creatures that the Creator is not through teaching us all of our lessons yet. We’ll find out soon enough.“
Graysome continued, “There is a flock of sheep feeding in a pasture two stream crossings from here. Our goal is to surround the sheep and see if we can get a lone ewe or lamb away from the flock to catch. Be very careful. Their leader is a huge ram named Rambo who guards the flock. He is fearless and much bigger than any of us. His horns can send you flying. Shadow, I’ll let you lead the way. Your silence will let us sneak in and hopefully give us a surprise attack advantage. Remember, in running down a sheep, don’t try and work alone. We wolves always work with teamwork, taking turns in the race and cutting off any escape routes, always turning the sheep towards a well-rested wolf. Anyone have any questions?”
Lupine who had a most gentle nature asked, “What are we going to do when we catch a sheep?”
Graysome looked very serious and said, “That’s a question I’ll answer when the time comes. Let’s just concentrate on the hunt for now.”
So off the pack went following Shadow. Shadow was very happy to be leading the way. He had always followed Graysome in the past and was surprised to have been given the honor of leading. He hadn’t come to understand yet that great leaders make use of the strengths of others and don’t always find it necessary to lead.
The wolves crossed the first stream. It was a good spot to stop and quench their thirst. The water was cold and sweet. A few weeks before, Shadow had been to the stream’s source, a few miles away. Firstborn had told him that the bubbling fountain came from deep down in the earth from the fountains of the deep. He wondered what that meant. “The fountains of the deep. Was it some huge underground lake, or rivers flowing through secret caverns? There was just so much that he didn’t know yet.”
The wolves soon came to the second stream, crossed it and noiselessly approached the edge of the forest and the quiet meadow. The soft bleating of the sheep could be heard now. There was also one low raspy “Baa!” which Shadow guessed could be no one other than Rambo. Shadow quietly moved closer so that he could get a good look at the flock. Looking out of the trees, he could see directly between them and the flock, the black silhouette of a huge animal. Its back was straight and broad and the profile looked like a square rock. Rambo sniffed the air and turned in their direction.
“Graysome, I know you’re there. You can’t win this game”, he bellowed. “There will be plenty of headbuts for all of you if you insist on playing.”
“Remember stay out of his way,” whispered Graysome.
Wolf eyes were searching everywhere, trying to find a sheep that was away from the flock and the protection of Rambo.
“Over there”, whispered Alfane, who had very sharp eyes. “By the pond, there is a young ewe all alone.”
“Fleetfoot, don’t let her back to the flock,” Graysome whispered. “We’ll be right behind you. Is everyone ready for the hunt?”
Hair bristled on wolves back as Rambo let out a low fearsome noise, but all wolf heads nodded. They were ready.
Graysome had given the order and the hunt was on. Fleetfoot ran out of the forest straight for the ewe, separating her from the pack. The ewe immediately saw her mistake and called out, “Rambo! Help me!”
Wheeling around, Rambo began building up speeding snorting and churning his legs towards the ewe in trouble. But wolves behind him began making an attack on the main flock. Rambo would have to sacrifice the flock to save the ewe. Making a quick decision, the moving fortress wheeled around and charged the wolves who were swarming in on his sheep. Howling filled the night sky. The lone ewe now without the protection of Rambo did not seem to stand a chance. Fleetfoot let Alfane take over the chase, followed by Lupine. The ewe was beginning to tire out and by the time Shadow took over, her energy was almost spent. Wolves were all taking turns in chasing her down and their Creator-given teamwork was working perfectly. No single wolf would be able to take the credit for the first hunt. With this in mind, they all joined together for the closing run. The gap narrowed to 20 feet, then 15 feet, 10 feet and finally 5 feet. Just when the capture seemed for certain and the wolves surged with a final burst of speed, out from nowhere ran a little white streak. Unable to stop the wolves stumbled and tumbled in a flurry of legs and bodies. With this clumsy end to what had seemed to be a glorious hunt, the ewe had time to run back to the flock before any wolf realized that she had escaped. Rambo stood snorting between them and the entire flock, which now lay safe behind his broad back. Picking themselves up, the wolves surrounded the little white mystery, which had let the ewe get away.
Slowly it lifted its head. It was a pure white lamb.
“How did you do that”, asked Shadow. “You knocked us all down and you’re so small.”
“I didn’t knock you down. You all knocked yourselves down, tripping over one another”, answered the lamb. The lamb’s voice was quiet and clear. Shadow wondered how such a little lamb could talk so clearly.
“You made a good hunt tonight and would have caught the ewe if I hadn’t joined your game,” the lamb continued. “Hunts like this will be used by your offspring in future days. Today we hunted for fun, but your children will hunt to get food.”
Shadow and the others thought about what the lamb was saying. “What did food have to do with hunting? Hunting was just another game that Graysome was teaching them.
They only had time to wonder for a moment, when the lamb broke in and said, “We have some especially good grass in this pasture. Would you like to join us for an evening snack?”
That was an offer too good to refuse. So, the wolves headed after the little lamb over to the herd of sheep. One of the sheep bleated, “You were pretty tricky tonight. You almost caught one of us. We’ll have to play this game again. It was exciting, trying to get away from your swirling brothers and sisters.”
Rambo muttered something about missing an opportunity for a good head but, but no one paid much attention since by this time most of the wolves and sheep were busy munching down the grass together.
The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust shall be the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the Lord.
Isaiah 65:24 (KJV)
When God first created the animals, all of them lived together and never worried about eating one another for food. They were all vegetarians and ate only plants and grasses. Even the lions and tigers ate grass and fruits. Today, many animals eat each other. We call this the animal food chain. It is part of the way the world changed when man began to sin and disobey God. Life of one animal is based upon the death of another animal. It is also an example from God that our life is dependent upon the death of another. The Bible tells us that our life is dependent upon Jesus death. Jesus had to die so that we might live with Him.
One of the exciting aspects of living for Jesus is that the longer we serve Him the more he reveals to us, some of his hidden pictures he had put in His creation which show that He is real. Even the rules that hold this world together are pictures of His love and caring Hand that he leads us with. But there is even better news than this. Jesus will be coming back and when he does, he is eliminating these pictures of His death. This is because Jesus conquered death when He died on the cross, and death will not be a part of the world he is returning to fix. At that time, all the animals will once again become gentle vegetarians and live in peace. We will all be at peace too, since Jesus will be a king, living with us. Did you know at that time, we won’t only be able to have dogs to play with but lions and other animals to? God tells us so in Isaiah 11:6, “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.” (KJV)