The Red Herring is a commonly used statement that originates as a reference to the art of distraction. It goes back to the days where English aristocracy mounted their horses and rode out into the woods with a pack of blood hounds in pursuit of a fox.
For all the pomp and circumstance of the ride, the fox always met his end in a brutal way. Activists began to stand up against the celebrated hunt and all it represented for the inhumane treatment of animals. They were up against a powerful group of influencers as well as a long-standing and favored tradition. Instead of going out against the aristocracy with guns blazing, they devised a sly distraction technique. Understanding that the horse and riders didn’t locate the fox without the help of the blood hounds, they turned their attention and aim toward pulling the dogs off the trail. The blood hounds used their keen sense of smell to find and corner the fox, so the activists caught the red herring (a fish) and would drag the fish all through the woods prior to a planned fox hunt. The stench of the fish would overpower the scent of the fox and lure hounds, horses and riders away from their goal.
The blood-hounds were formerly an asset but once distracted and thrown off by the scent of THE RED HERRING, they became a liability to their owners. Instead of leading the aristocracy through the forest in pursuit of the prized fox, they ran them in circles with no end in sight.
In the Old Testament book of Nehemiah, we follow the story of a man who leaves the comfort of the palace where he served the king and journeyed to the broken down walls of Jerusalem. He assessed the damage and gathered the tools to rebuild. Others began to join him and soon their efforts drew the attention of their enemies. As they moved forward with the work of restoration they came under attack. Their lives were threatened as well as their progress. In wisdom, Nehemiah equipped each builder of the wall with weapons of defense. He trained them in how to fend off attacks but remain focused on the goal. Nehemiah understood that the enemies aim was to derail progress by peppering them with opposition in an overall effort to distract.
It is the same with us today. We can become so focused on the force of opposition that we fail to remember the greater work of restoration at hand. If we are to make head way toward our goals for the year it is beneficial to remember daily to defend ourselves against distraction. When we begin to see the pattern of attack it becomes easier and easier not to get worked up over the most recent opposition.
Like Nehemiah, we need to ensure that we don’t allow defensiveness to BECOME OUR PURPOSE. Defensiveness is THE RED HERRING of our opposition. It leaves enough of a trail for us to follow until we find ourselves only going in circles.
And it happened, when our enemies heard that it was known to us, and that God had brought their plot to nothing, that all of us returned to the wall, everyone to his work.
Nehemiah 4:15 (NKJV)
Here is a powerful but simple, focused prayer written for us by Pastor Kathy Hayes:
Father I thank you for Your purpose for me. My desire is to keep the eyes of my heart focused on You! There is nothing in my life more important than You. You have my best interest at heart. Lord, I need to never hesitate to please You. I never want to look back like Lots wife. My prayer today is release Your keeping power upon us. I receive Your Holy Spirit that leads and guides us in truth.
In Jesus name, Amen!
Quote of the Day: THE ENEMY DOESN’T NEED TO DESTROY YOU. ALL HE NEEDS IS TO DISTRACT YOU.