That’ll separate the men from the boys. I hear this phrase when someone challenges another to a task. Men are generally stronger, hopefully wiser, more courageous, and sturdier than boys, simply because of life’s growth cycle.
I determine a person’s strength by their ability to make sound decisions, to remain peaceful and resilient, especially during crisis. To me, a mature person applies truth and kindness wherever they are, no matter who is around their circumstances.
The story in Exodus 11 and 12 writes about the onslaught of plagues when God is preparing his Passover across Egypt. His midnight visit will separate his Israelite men from those Egyptian boys. The Israelites are God’s chosen people because they have a history of following their Leader. The Egyptians have a track record of running with crowds of worldly leaders.
In Exodus, God used a dog to alert the Israelites. He said during Passover the firstborn son of every Egyptian person and animal would die. The worst wailing would pierce Egypt, yet dogs wouldn’t bark at any Israelite. I wish I remained as calm as a silent dog when I encounter pressure and chaos.
God used a canine’s uncharacteristic stillness in the threat of danger as a sign to quietly alert the Israelites. While the Egyptians wailed, the Israelite men used God’s silent dog whistle as reassurance that they wouldn’t be terrorized.
Similarly, in pack behavior, when animals follow their leader, they remain protected. The Israelites survived because they corralled together. They depended on God and remained his big dogs. The Egyptians refused the meat God offered His pack, leaving them to scrounge for bones. We fill ourselves with God’s word and then follow His lead. When the wolves howl at our door, we can enjoy peaceful silence.
Jesus, I want to be a mature person, a chosen one in your pack. Unleash me from earth’s dogs who dig holes, throw dirt and bark lies. Let me run free in your protected mission fields.
Aware of your silent signals,
“But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any person or animal. Then you will know the Lord makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel” (Ex. 11:7 NIV).