Shorn Locks

A very pretty story appeared in Scattered Seed recently which ran as follows. A bonny little fellow had golden curls clustering round his head, and these were the pride of a fond mother. One day this little boy determined to make himself like other boys, so, securing a pair of scissors and finding a quiet corner hidden from his mother's vigilant eye, he cut through the golden locks until not one of them remained. The family in order to punish him agreed to pretend not to know him, so that when he spoke to his father at dinner-time, his father asked, "Who is this strange boy?" And his brother said that he did not know him, and his mother turned her head away. At first the wee culprit thought this was a very funny joke, but as it continued, his face grew long and serious, and at length he burst into tears and cried, "Well, if you don't know me, God does, and I wish some of you did."

That was the story. Now let me give it an application. Shorn locks! And a very changed appearance! Are we reminded of anything by these? Well, yes, there was Samson, poor Samson! He dallied with temptation and his locks were shorn and he was made to grind in the mills of the enemies of God, an object of mockery to the scorners and of grief to the faithful. Poor Samson! But that took place three thousand years ago. We must come nearer home than that. Does anyone know a Christian who through cowardice, or fear of being thought singular, has made himself like his work-mates or associates who do not know the Lord, and who in consequence has lost the beauty of his Nazariteship, the brightness of his early love for his Saviour?

There is a moving lament in an Old Testament Book. It runs thus, "Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was of sapphires; their visage is blacker than coal; they are not known in the streets; their skin cleaveth to their bones; it is withered, it is become like a stick."

What a change! Beauty, freshness, youth gone; zeal, devotion to the Lord, and joy in Him all lost, and instead distortion, drought, and moral and spiritual death. Such is the divinely inspired description of the backslider. Notice, "they are not known in the street." No longer do people say of such an one, "Well, if ever there was a Christian, he is one." Some perhaps say scornfully, "There's a Christian for you!" Those who once rejoiced in that early promise now pass the backslider by with averted eyes and sorrowful hearts; he is no longer known for the bright Christian he once was.

Do we know such an one, any of us? Or do we know any one who is on the road to such open backsliding, one who is a backslider in heart? Let us pause and think.

Ah, my friend, backslider, there's a grief in your heart, and your sighing is more real than your singing. Sometimes you are indignant that the Christians, your friends of other days, do not know you as once they did, but your conscience tell you that they are right. You are not known — not known! Stay, there is One who knows you still, One who never forgets, the One who said, "I know my sheep."

"I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from Me," said the Lord of old, when His people went far from Him: and again "I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals." Yes, the Lord does not forget, and He wants you to remember. He says, "But call to remembrance the former days," and, "Remember from whence thou art fallen." You may take up the cry of the little boy of our story and say, "The Lord knows me." Thank God He does, and with words of love He would draw you from your backslidings and make you sing as of old. He will fill you with self-distrust and with confidence in Himself, and turn your very backsliding into your blessing. Let it be so without delay.