Don't be Hoodwinked!

by Allen Dvorak
via Gospel Power, Vol. 15, No. 10, Mar. 9, 2008.

Our word "hoodwinked" is actually a falconry term. We use it to mean "to deceive," but Webster notes that the word also means "to blind by covering the eyes." The falconer must hoodwink his falcon. In the beginning of training, the bird rides hooded on his owner's arm. The hood allows the bird to adjust to the sound of his owner without being frightened by the sight of him. Later the hood is removed and even the noise of many people does not intimidate the bird.

However, the bird quickly learns to dislike the hood and begins to dodge as the falconer attempts to replace it. And so the falconer places a small piece of meat in the hood and the falcon puts his head nearly all the way into the hood to get the meat. The bird gets the meat, but he also gets hooded!

An over-fed or "fed-up" (another falconry term) bird is hard to train, so the falconer cannot use meat every time he hoods his falcon. He leaves the meat off one time, the falcon looks for the meat ... and gets hooded for his trouble! If this continues, the bird soon learns that he gets the hood but no food! When he begins dodging the hood again, the falconer entices him with meat on the other side of the opening for the beak in the hood. The bird hoods himself as he goes for the meat which, incidentally, he does not get to eat! He has been hoodwinked!

Many people get "hoodwinked" by Satan. He does not use a literal hood, but he does entice them into the darkness of sin by empty promises. We are tempted when we are enticed by our own desires (James 1:13-15). Just as the falconer lures the bird with meat, so Satan appeals to our desires. The falcon never intends to get hooded; he just wants the meat. We never intend to become the slaves of sin; we just want to fulfill our fleshly desires.

The "meat," of course, varies with different individuals. For some, it is the pleasures that money affords. Satan holds out the promise of prosperity and men willingly engage in dishonesty, neglect of family, and other sinful behavoirs to seize the meat. Often they find themselves cloaked in darkness, punished by the consequences of their behavior (I Timothy 6:9). For others, the lure is sexual pleasure. Fornication by the unmarried, affairs among the married, pornography -- Satan "hawks" the pleasures of these activities, but the end of such behavior is darkness.

The Bible warns of the consequences of grabbing after the "meat" of fleshly lusts -- they "war against the soul" (I Peter 2:11). I do not believe the falcons think, "Rats, hooded again! And where is the meat he promised?" However, men and women often regret being lured into sin and darkness. Don't allow yourself to be "hoodwinked" by Satan!