The most surprising thing in The Wolf and the Seven Little Goats is that the mother-goat didn’t seem to hesitate before she gave her children this scary freedom – recognize or not recognize her voice. Why didn’t she just lock the door and keep the key? Why not make the safety of the little goats certain? Perhaps she didn’t think the wolf was smart enough to go to the blacksmith and ask him to reforge his throat. One must not underestimate the talents of a hungry predator.
He imitated the mother-goat’s voice so well that it was almost impossible to tell the difference. And the little goats made the mistake. How do you know you are hearing the voice of God? The wolf’s song sounds very similar. Moreover, the wolf knows the Scriptures so well, he can quote it verbatim. Knowing the Scriptures, in and of itself, is no warrant of hearing the voice of God. There were so many scribes who knew the Scriptures cover to cover but never recognized God in the flesh.
God left the house and left us alone hoping that His voice is well stuck in our memories, that we won’t mistake it for anything else. He wants us to recognize Him, He doesn’t want to hang a lock on the door and keep the key. God gave us no external authority to go by, no absolute guarantee of hearing His voice. He never said: If you read the Bible and you can be sure you have heard My voice. If He gave us some external authority we would obey by following the letter but would not be transformed on the inside. We would not have learned to recognize His voice.
He never seems to make His Divine glory too obvious – He hid it under the guise of a little baby born in Bethlehem. He rejected the offer of becoming a glorious earthly king. He wants to be recognized when His appearance is “other” than what we expect. He wants to be our internal authority, recognized but not imposed.
If He is to achieve His goal of becoming an internal authority He must allow us the freedom of not recognizing Him. That’s why there’s no lock on our door. He locked the door, to be sure, but He left the key to us. Recognizing or not recognizing Him is the key. With an external lock we would have been protected from the danger but we would not change. He who does not know the meaning of relationship looks for external security. But God loves relationships.
He knows the wolf is coming, crafty at imitating His voice. But He wants us to learn to recognize Him more than He wants our security. He wants a relationship more than protecting us from the jaws of the wolf. And that is the key to true security. No lock will safeguard us against an error. Only a certain quality of a relationship when we exclaim: “Here He is. I can tell His voice apart even from a thousand voices”.
The mother-goat knew how much she would have to pay for this freedom. Coming home she found just one little goat alive. So she left this one alone and went out to search for the “ninety nine”.
Here’s how the tale ends according to one version:
The wolf, coming into the house, said to the goat:
– Why are you blaming me? I have not touched your kids. Stop crying, let’s go out for a walk in the woods.
Entering the woods they saw a huge pit with a fire burning at the bottom. The goat suggested:
– Let’s try jumping over this pit.
So they jumped. The goat landed safely on the other side but the wolf, heavy with so many kids in his belly, fell right into the fire. His belly burst open and all the little goats tumbled out of it alive and well – right into their mother’s arms.
And they lived happily everafter.
God knew how much He would have to pay for our freedom. He knew He would have to jump over a fiery pit – over hell and death. And He jumped over it all the same, to see the death’s belly burst open. And all the little goats tumbled out of it, alive and well, right into their mother’s arms. And they lived happily everafter.
God will pay any price for His relationship with us. He wants us to acquire an internal knowledge of Him which CANNOT err. He left the house but left us with the Holy Spirit (the key) to recognize His voice. He’s hoping that we will hear His voice, recognize Him and open the door. He will enter and have supper with us.