Sunday, January 24, 2010

The trap is set


All that man fears is revealed in darkness.

Ever since he was a child, Joshua feared the dark. He knew darkness itself had no real power, but rather those things that couldn’t be seen.

Running up the rocky hillside, Joshua raced against the darkness. Breathless, thirsty, tired and sore – every muscle in his athletic frame felt his age; forty hard years. Over the dusty barren landscape, the light was fading fast - both literally and metaphorically. Far on the horizon in the next valley to the west, the vast dust cloud of the Egyptian army blazed an ominous red in the fading light of day. The trap was set, but the bait had to be warned.

Scrambling over loose rocks and stones to the top of the hill, the sight of his own bloodied hands and knees reminded Joshua of what darkness can bring.

Darkness makes it hard to see friend from foe, and slave from master. Even life from death. Joshua knew of a darkness so great that a man could forget what he looked like. He could forget who he was, or worse still, who God was.

But the memory of light can be carried - like the smouldering coals Joshua unraveled from the bark envelope he carried in his satchel. Some hasty twigs and leaves, carefully laid around the coals would do the trick.

Joshua crouched down on his knees, a useful position for both prayer and blowing tiny glowing embers to life.

“God, I'm no use to you dead. Please, I've done this a thousand times.”

He fumbled around rearranging the twigs, took another deep breath and blew into the fragile nest of coals. The embers glowed in anticipation, but nothing took hold. His cradle of leaves and twigs lay dormant.

Sounds of murderous shouting echoed in the valley below.

He hastily blew again to resuscitate the tiny coals, like his life depended on it. All the while memories of those years of suffering flooded his mind - the hunger, sleep deprivation, and excruciating pain from the lash of his Egyptian master. Suffocating darkness can extinguish all hope. But not this time. Although Joshua had been captive all his life, he knew where he was going. It was written on his soul.

The voices were louder now. Four, maybe five of Pharoah's scouts - they knew his position.

He blew again, this time something caught alight. And then again, deeper and longer than before. The flicker turned into a flame; a flame into a fire; and then a fire into a pillar of smoke that could be seen for miles as it reached high to catch the golden rays of sunset.

Joshua paused to reflect in this brief moment of grace. Sadly, some men never see the light. Some see it from a distance, but prefer to hide their sin under the hideous cloak of darkness. Worse still, others know the light for a while, but are drawn back, where the darkness consumes them forever in the anguish of what they once knew.

SWOOSH! An arrow struck the rock behind him. Time to leave.

The Egyptians were coming, and so was nightfall. Joshua waited only for enough time to see another signal fire echo his message from the next hilltop. Moses would see that one.

Stoking the flames one last time, he scrambled back down to where his faithful horse was nervously waiting.

"The beach my friend," he whispered in its ear, "now or never."


  1. This is the first instalment of my book. Its a work in progress, so feel free to add your comments, or pick me up on any errors. I'm currently on my second draft, but far enough into the book that I'm confident to keep ahead of daily postings like this.

  2. Thanks for finally talking about > "The trap is set" < Liked it!

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