Back in the 1890’s, Hawaiian farmers were going crazy trying to deal with an out-of-control rat population. One fellow, who had just returned from Asia, bragged that he had the perfect solution: the mongoose, a small Asian mammal famous for killing cobras. Those nasty old rats wouldn’t stand a chance against such a determined predator, he said. And so the frustrated farmers imported a bunch of mongooses and turned them loose.
This bothered the rats nary a bit. Why? Because of a small detail the farmers overlooked: rats are nocturnal and mongooses aren’t. Today in Hawaii mongooses are considered pests almost on par with rats.
I always cringe when I hear someone say, “I’m not a detail person.” My first thought is, Then you’re probably heading for trouble because it’s usually the overlooked details that ruin us.
How many of us have gotten ourselves into messes by not asking enough questions, not reading the fine print, not doing our homework, or not coming up with a contingency plan? Most people fail, not because they’re stupid, but because they’re in too much of a hurry to adequately plan and prepare.
In Scripture, Ehud is a guy who understood this.
God chose him to deliver the Israelites from King Eglon of Moab’s heavy hand of oppression. In what is easily one of the most thrilling stories in the Bible, Ehud plans the assassination of Eglon down to the tiniest detail and pulls it off without a hitch. (Judges 3:12-30) The story reveals several key danger points where the plan could have easily gone off the rails, but at each of those moments Ehud was prepared.
The result? “So Moab was conquered by Israel that day, and there was peace in the land for eighty years.” (Judges 3:30)
Let me just be blunt right here.
If you’re not a detail person, become one. Until you do, you will be a favorite target of Satan. He loves people who aren’t into thinking and planning. Like a hungry lion lays in the weeds waiting for an unsuspecting zebra to come moseying along, Satan lays in the details.
For further reflection read 1 Peter 5:8.