For 27 years, the North Pond Hermit was to rural Maine what the Loch Ness Monster is to Scotland: lore, myth, legend, a perverse point of local pride. Those convinced of his existence regarded him with admiration and fear, the latter more common among his victims. Serial thief for decades. These crimes had a pattern, spiking before Memorial Day and after Labor Day, and the items stolen ranged from batteries to packaged food to skillets to paperback novels. The hermit loved back issues of National Geographic and preferred peanut butter over tuna. He rarely stole anything of real value, save for the couple who returned for the summer to find a mattress stolen from a bunk bed — the passports they’d stashed under it left, in view, in a closet. He was considerate that way. If the hermit had to remove a door from its hinges to get in, he’d reattach it before leaving. He’d never break a window to gain entry, never rifle through belongings, always leave a cabin as clean as he found it. When finally caught we learned it was Christopher Knight, who grew up in a town of Main where cows outnumbered people. His father, obsessed with privacy, taught him how to hunt, gather, and farm. In 1985 when he graduated high school he drove his car to a remote lake, left the keys in the ignition, and walked into the woods for the next 27 years. He didn’t leave to hide a crime or b/c he was outcaste from society. He just loved the solitude and didn’t thinking sitting at a cubicle for 8 hours a day would be a good life. (Footnote 1)
Sometimes we find people who are not like us a bit weird. This tends to create a barrier between that individual and the rest of society. They become the “outcast” who isn’t invited to all the dinner parties. I think the North Pond Hermit had a point when asked why he decided on that lifestyle. He asked the question, “Who is strange? The one who decides to live free or the one who sits behind a desk for 8-10 hours a day staring at a computer screen?” I don’t condone his criminal activity but I think the man has a point.
John the Baptist was a bit of an eccentric man to say the least. You would think a prophet of God would want to have his message heard in the temple where all the Biblical teachers could listen. Maybe he would sit in the city gates to catch all those who come and go. Instead John was sent to the wilderness. When people ventured out to see this wilderness prophet, they saw a scruffy woodsman. He wore a poncho made of Camel’s hair. In fact, because Chick Fil A sauce wasn’t invented yet, he had to dip his wild locusts in honey. I think God did this to get everyone’s attention. It’s like Jeremiah burying his cloak until it was rotten, Ezekiel having to dig a hole through the wall while he preached, or Isaiah giving sermons while in his underwear. There is something about God that wants his prophets to get people’s attention with more than just their words. Surely this long haired, rough around the edges, desert preacher would get people’s attention.
There are a few key things to point out about this man
Sometimes God uses the person you least expect to prepare His way. This reminds me of a story about Abraham Lincoln.
Truly John the Baptist was an incredible man of God. He broke the 400-year revelation silence from God. He prepared the way for the Messiah. He brought people back from the distractions of life to the quiet retreat of a wilderness revival. Most of all, he stayed faithful to the mission of God by preaching the message of God unapologetically.
For more on this lesson stay tuned to my next blog post or listen to the whole sermon here.
Footnote 1--This first paragraph was taken from an online NY Post
I’m Billy Dyer a Teacher and Preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is my blog page. It is focused on “coffee table apologetics”..... continue reading >>