The weary Bedouin could not have the one thing he wanted – a good night’s rest.
Tying up his camel by his tent, he went inside to lay down. Weary from a long day’s journey, he soon slept soundly and peacefully. Nothing disturbed his sleep until midnight. In that hour his camel awakened him and said: “O my master, I have become very cold. Do me the favour of allowing me to hide my nose in the tent.” His master replied: “If you wish,” and covered himself again with his blanket and returned to sleep.
After a little while, his camel woke him again, pleading: “May there be mercy upon your parents, my master. My nose is now in a pleasant condition. Would it matter if I brought in my ears?” His master said: “Very well, my camel. Good-night.” And so the camel brought in his ears. A short time later, the camel began to shiver with cold till the tent shook, and he awakened his master again. Becoming weary of the camel, the master spoke somewhat harshly to his camel, “What is the matter with you?” The camel replied: “Forgive me, my master. My neck is shaking with cold. Just this little favour.” “Then bring your neck in and leave me in peace,” said the master.
However, the camel did not leave his master in peace With the rising of the moon, he began again to cry out, more loudly than at first, and spoke to his master even more harshly than his master had spoken to him. “Rise, O my master!” His master sighed and asked with some disgust: “Now, what do you want, my camel?” The camel replied: “You are warm and I am dying of cold. Just move a little and I will bring in my forelegs.” His master said: “Bring them in, but I have had enough of you.” Now the master was crowded at the side of his tent, and was not very comfortable. However, he slept until he heard the camel call loudly again: “My master!” The Bedouin replied: “What do you want?” The camel said: “My master, my body is dying of cold; I must bring it in.” His master spoke angrily: “Bring it in and give me peace!”
The camel entered and almost overturned the tent. At once it became so suffocating that the master had to push his head out from under the tent’s edge to breathe. The camel no longer asked permission and brought in his hind legs and rested comfortably in the middle of the tent. The master tried in vain to move the camel. He could only drag his own arms and legs outside and sleep in the cold.
Who now was master in the tent? The true master had given up his place and could not get it back. As his strength was not enough to remove the camel, he let the camel rest in comfort.
Learning From the Story
You may be thinking the master was a fool to let his camel enter, little by little, until the camel became the master of the tent. Consider this: Are you like that man? He let the camel gain possession of the tent. Do you let sin slowly gain possession of your heart and body?
Consider the youths who let the camel of sin enter into their heart. When they are young, they begin to disobey the commands of their parents who seek to guide them in what is right. Soon they listen with little attention to the instruction of the teacher. Then they begin to miss classes at school without their parents’ knowledge. When the teacher asks about their absence, they lie to escape punishment. They says that they were sick. You see how sin little by little, enters the heart and takes over the person, just as the nose and ears of the camel entered into the tent.
Later, they do not attend school and do not pay attention to their parents’ protests. Now their days are empty and the future is dark. Instead of faithfully working to help the family, they spend time in the market place. They keep company with older youths who waste their time in useless talk and lazy living. They act in a way that they think will win the favour of the older youths. They begin to steal and use bad language. Do you see how the camel of sin now puts his neck and forelegs into their hearts?
Part of what makes sin so dangerous is its ability to appear harmless. Instead of boldly marching in, trying to take control, sin often slips in looking reasonable or harmless. Think of the great damage done by pride appearing as the defense of what appears to be good, or by greed appearing as concern for normal needs.
No one is safe from sin because it continues to push into our lives and takes advantage of every weakness. Sin begins by pushing aside our healthy spiritual values and ideals. It grows stronger and gradually takes up more room in people. They begin to find it easier to compromise their good moral standards, what they know to be right, than to struggle against evil desires. Once sin takes control of people, they soon find it very difficult to do any good at all. Even when they do good, evil seems to really be in control.
When we try to fight evil temptations on our own, we sometimes seem to make progress. But, before long, the evil is soon just as strong as it was before. We must trust God and rely on his strength to stand against evil “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”1
How much of the camel of sin has entered your heart? Once sin enters the heart and we let it remain, it daily increases its power and control over us. Do you envy, lie, quarrel, hate, steal, and or do other things you know are against God’s will? This is proof that sin has entered into your heart. If your heart is filled with sin and Satan, how will God receive you into his sinless presence? Truly, in the heavenly pastures there are no feeding grounds for the camels of sin.
Hear the good news for you, my friend. Someone has come into the world who overcame sin and Satan. Because of God’s love for you, God sent Jesus the Messiah to save you. As God’s Word, he has both the authority to forgive your sins and the power to throw out the camel of sin from the tent of your heart. Even as it is written of him in the Holy Bible: “But you know that he appeared so that he might take away our sins… and to destroy the devil’s work.”2
The Messiah carried away our sin and its punishment through his own suffering and death. He crushed the power of Satan by rising from the dead. We can know that through him the Holy God himself cleanses our hearts.3
Therefore, let God, his love and his Holy Spirit enter your heart. He will give strength to resist Satan and all his works. Where his light appears, darkness of sin flees. By his power in you, you will find the spiritual rest and peace you desire.4
One day it might be said of you what was once said about Jesus the Messiah, when he was still a child: “And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.”5