Friday, August 11, 2023

Behaving Wisely

 "And David behaved himself wisely in all his ways; and the LORD was with him." I Samuel 18:14

We spent Easter in Florida with our daughters and son-in-law. That meant a break from cows, but that didn't mean the cows were taking a break. 

Sure enough, a heifer was born. It didn't surprise me. I knew the cow would calve within a week, and she did.

However, I was not prepared for how big the calf would be.

We raise Murray Greys. This cattle breed is known for their calves weighing around 60 lbs when born. This particular heifer was probably a few days old before I could give her an ear tag. Even so, she likely weighed more than 60 lbs at birth. 

While I did catch and "throw" her (so she is lying on the ground), Momma cow was upset. She's had a few babies by now, and I've never had a problem with her. In fact, she's somewhat of a pet. However, her behavior changed, and I blame the dogs. 

If you know anything about cows, you've probably heard that momma cows are more dangerous than bulls when protecting their young. This is God's way of helping them deal with predators. While our little 10 lb chiweenie dog could hardly be characterized as a predator of cattle, this momma cow was not taking any chances.

I frequently have the dogs with me when I am out in the fields. Neither of my dogs are fierce protectors, but they give me a sense of safety. At the very least, they sound the alarm if someone they don't know comes near (even someone they know that takes them by surprise). In Texas, wise counsel (aka special rangers) recommends having a dog with you, because illegal aliens (or anybody for that matter) may cross your property, and you don't know what they'll do. It seems a good excuse to have my dogs tag along.

Back to the cow.

I caught the calf, threw her down, and found momma's nose blowing very near and her face a great picture of agitation. The calf weighed more than I'm used to and, being an older calf than what I normally catch, was strong and lively. In the course of trying to keep it down to check gender, health, and tag...well, I dropped my tagger and the ear tag fell out. Meanwhile, the calf is struggling to get up, lifting me off the ground with it. Momma cow is growling (yes, I'd say cows can growl...not quite the way dogs do, but the meaning is the same).

I gently pushed against the cow's nose, something that is usually enough to tell my cows to back off. This momma didn't. And I suspect she may have even pushed back a little. At this point I had lost track of my little dog and based on where the cow was looking, I was pretty sure the dog was behind me.

Now, that put me between the cow and the dog, and I'm pretty sure that cow meant to chase that dog and toss her over the fence. So, yes. I let that calf up and moved out of the way. 

Guess what, not only did the cow chase the little dog, she chased my Border Collie as well.

So, jumping off that calf...I'd say that was behaving wisely.

I did get the cow and calf up to the corrals and the calf safely tagged and ensured its good health.

I suspect that David in I Samuel wasn't tagging calves and dealing with angry momma cows. But I bet he dodged a few fights and negotiated some tense situations. His success, however, put him in a very prickly spot with the king.

Now, I do believe God keeps me safe with my cattle. I believe He has blessed me in handling them and in the overall operation of our ranch. As you can well imagine, a lot can go wrong.

Imagine how much more David was aware of the Lord being with him when he dodged King Saul's javelin twice. Not only that, but when David fled to Samuel, and King Saul pursued, the Spirit of God came upon Saul, and he stripped off his clothes and prophesied. God caused Saul to do the most unlikely thing a man bent on killing another man would do, completely expose himself all day and all night and talking about what great things God was going to do. (Read about it in I Samuel 19).

Behaving wisely doesn't always get you out of trouble. Some people are just bent on causing you trouble. However, wisdom will take you to God, and God will work it out as He deems fit. Are you wise enough to trust that what He deems fit is good enough for you?

"The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death." Proverbs 13:14

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