A Fox and a Hen, a Lenten Devotion

Throughout Lent, we will be featuring devotions by members of a writing group at First Baptist Church, Southern Pines, NC.

Luke 13:31-35

Spending time on my grandparents’ farm in the summer was the highlight of my young life. My Granny and I would rise each morning and head to the chicken house to gather fresh eggs for breakfast. I learned to reach under the hens and remove 2 or 3 eggs, with great excitement! I gave names to my favorites—Lucy, Sallybelle, and Rosie. So, you can expect my horror when, on one particular morning as Granny and I approached the chicken house, we saw devastation waiting for us. A fox had entered the hen house night before. Nothing much was left except a few feathers I identified as Rosie’s.

The warning from the Pharisees for Jesus, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you,” prompts Jesus to reply, “Go tell that fox…” (vv. 31-32, NIV). His words stirred within me the fear I had that day in the chicken house. Herod had imprisoned and executed John the Baptist—he was a villain like the fox who killed Rosie and the others.

This warning seemed serious in nature, but Jesus had no fear of Herod or anyone in or around Jerusalem. He had work to do and it was going to be in his own time. And he, better than anyone, knew how little time was left to carry out his message: “I will keep on driving out demons and healing people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal” (v. 32, NIV).

God’s love for Jerusalem is no secret, for many times God called out to them and even sent prophets with God’s message of redemption, but Jerusalem would not listen. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem…how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing” (v. 34, NIV).

Jesus sees himself as that hen protecting her brood. His very nature is to love and protect God’s children. Isn’t that why he died on the cross? A fox and a hen—a destroyer and a protector.

Strive to be people of courage even when threats and opposition come your way. Stand up to the destroyer and rely on the protector.

Father, you risked so much as you worked to spread your message. Through Jesus, you gave your life so that we might live in the hope of eternal life. Thank you for this great gift. Amen.

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