A common sight in Africa, vultures can regularly be seen circling the skies in search of their next meal. They are opportunistic carnivores, meaning they don’t like to work for their food. When they are circling above and they see that lions have brought down their prey, you can be sure they will signal to their vulture friends that lunch is served. When a kill has been made, much effort is made by the lions to chase away the vultures.
Taking What Isn’t Theirs
While fully capable of fending for themselves like other birds of prey, vultures prefer to take what isn’t theirs. They are large birds, intimidating in appearance, and will protest loudly when challenged. But in the end, when stood up to, will fly away only to return and try again.
Vultures are thieves. They steal what doesn’t belong to them. You might think upon initial observation that vultures are fearful. However, the more you watch them it becomes increasingly obvious that they are not fearful. They’re just lazy, resourceful and even clever. They know that the mighty lion can easily bring them down with one swipe of their paw. They know that they put their very lives at risk to steal from the lion. Yet they gamble on the lion’s becoming weary of chasing them away. Vultures won’t easily give up on a free meal.
Chase Away The Vultures
Lions will eat until they are gorged with meat as they often go long periods of time without bringing down an animal for a meal. For every time they are successful at bringing down a meal, there are 4 or 5 other attempts when they have failed. The effort they put out and the danger they put themselves in when hunting (for animals with sharp hooves and horns won’t go down easily) takes much of their energy. Once they have hunted and eaten, they don’t want to bother with chasing away the vultures. The problem is if they don’t chase away the vultures, there will be no leftovers to eat when they get hungry again.
Vultures roam the skies in search of a carcass . Once one has been sighted, a lone vulture will begin to circle signaling to others that there is food to be had. The birds will land and tentatively approach their targeted meal. Their work must be swift, as other scavengers, hyenas and jackals, or the ones who originally took down the kill, like lions, are sure to be nearby. There’s not much time so their work is in earnest.
Vultures Swooped Down
Genesis 15:11 NLT “Some vultures swooped down to eat the carcasses, but Abram chased them away.”
Abram, in obedience, left everything he knew and traveled without knowing where his final destination would be. He only knew that God was faithful and had promised that a nation would descend from his yet-to-be-born son.
It was then that God made a covenant with Abram. Sacrifices were laid on the altar and in no time at all, the vultures began to circle and swoop down to eat what Abram had offered to God. Abram spent an entire night chasing away the vultures. At the end of the process, his journey of seeing God’s promise fulfilled began.
I’ve learned that what I’ve laid at the altar as a sacrifice to God needs protection from the vultures. Like the mighty lion, it only takes one swipe to shoo them away but being the thieves that they are, they will surely return to try again.
The vultures are circling. They’re searching for a way to quickly steal what doesn’t belong to them. The question is am I ready to protect what I’ve offered? Or, am I willing to let the vultures fear rob me of my future?
The sacrifice on the altar has cost me too much to let the vultures take it away.