On a recent trip to South Africa, I found a Zulu proverb that had a familiar ring to it. The proverb says, “The Jackal is not kept in the same kraal as the sheep.” It reminded me of a saying from my boyhood days in eastern Kentucky. People would say, “You don’t let the fox guard the chicken house.”
Jackals are related to foxes, and although jackals are little larger than foxes they closely resemble each other. Apparently, they share other characteristics. We say that a cunning person is as sly or smart as a fox. Jackals are often depicted in like manner and are described as clever sorcerers in many African myths and legends. While jackals and foxes scavenge, they are also skilled hunters. Just like farmers in the Kentucky hills hate foxes that are chickens killers, the Zulu hate jackals, because they are often sheep killers.
There is a spiritual application that can be made with the Zulu proverb. Jackals are mentioned approximately 14 times in the Bible. They were hated and feared by Hebrew shepherds. The shepherds had to be vigilant at all times to protect their sheep because the jackals were always on the prowl. What kind of a shepherd would willingly tolerate a jackal in the sheepfold or kraal? My question in the spiritual realm is, “Who would willingly or carelessly give the Devil, the jackal of men’s souls, a way into their heart?”
The Bible provides information on the critical issue of guarding the way into the heart:
- “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life” (Proverbs 4:23)
- “…and give no opportunity to the devil” (Ephesians 4:27, NKJV)
- “Lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11, NKJV)
- “Just make sure you stay alert. Keep close watch over yourselves. Don’t forget anything of what you’ve seen. Don’t let your heart wander off. Stay vigilant as long as you live…” (Deuteronomy 4:9, MSG)
- “But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3)
- “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber” (John 10:1, ESV)
Pornography, lust, greed, covetousness, pride, and self-centeredness are but a few of the lurking sins that hang around us. Like jackals, they look for an opening into the heart. If we are not vigilant, they will enter in unobserved. We may not realize what has happened until it’s too late and the damage is done.
Stay Alert – Guard Your Heart
~ Brother Roy