I have always loved tropical fish. I worked at a mall throughout high school and in the course of my break I would wander down to the pet store and watch the aquariums. All the brightly colored fish and their habitats were captivating to me. I never had an aquarium growing up, just a gold fish bowl ever so often. I would name my swimming friend and enjoy his company until his usually short-lived life ended.
When Larry and I became engaged, he asked me what I wanted for a wedding present. I immediately responded, “a large aquarium”. Not pearls, an exotic trip, or a new wardrobe but I wanted a fish tank! The 29 gallon aquarium became the centerpiece of our humble duplex. It became not only my gift but “our” hobby. We spent many hours nurturing our water creatures and learning about marine-life.
Aquariums have followed us to every city, state, and home we have ever lived in. Currently I have a 65 gallon tank filled with African Cichlids, Clown Loaches, a Red-tailed Shark, and a Plecostomus. The bubbling water, bright active fish and a community of hungry critters greet me every morning. I love watching and learning about God’s creative genius and tropical fish. On ministry trips to the Caribbean, I have watched beautiful salt water topicals, with design, color, and character beyond imagination.
When my children were little, we enjoyed trips to the beach, walking in the shallow, clear, calm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. We would dance as the baby fish schooled in our direction and nibbled our toes. The contact and interaction with these baby fish brought shrieks of joy to this mom and her two sons. These baby fish lived in the God’s aquarium, the biggest ever created.
I was reading recently about a fish called “Moses Sole” that lives around the world in the Red Sea. It has an unusual way of defending itself against larger predators like sharks. I’ll probably never see a “Moses Sole” but I learned a valuable spiritual lesson from my study.
According to Wikipedia, “ Pardachirus marmoratus, also known as the finless sole, the speckled sole, or the Red Sea Moses sole, is a small fish from the Red Sea that secretes an ichthyotoxic milky substance from the base of its dorsal and cloacal fins. This secretion contains pardaxin, a lipophillic peptide that causes severe plasma membrane disruption resulting in cell leakage. The pardaxin containing secretion is used as a defensive mechanism against predators including sharks. Pardaxin is irritating to predator fish, particularly affecting the sensitive gills. Dr. Eugenie Clark conducted much of the early work on Pardachirus marmoratus.
The adult finless soles are bilaterally symmetrical and as they mature their left eye migrates on to the right side of the head. The highly compressed body is convex on the eyed side and flat on the blind side. The rounded caudal fin is not attached to either the dorsal or cloacal fin. It is variable in color frequently whitish, pale brown to pale grey with a scattering of irregular dark brown ring shape markings and many dark brown spots on the head, body, and fins. long the lateral line, there are normally two brown dots containing yellow flecks.”
In a New York Times article, the following description explains the effect of the Moses Sole on an attacking shark. “The most powerful repellent found so far is that of the Moses sole (Pardachirus marmoratus). It is stored in glands along the dorsal and anal fins. Its dramatic effect was described by Dr. Eugenie Clark of the University of Maryland, widely known for her work on shark behavior. The shark bears down on such a fish with its jaws wide, she said, until the fish is inside its maw, whereupon the shark suddenly stops, without closing its jaws, and pulls back. The shark can then be observed, she continued, ”jerking its head from side to side; dashing around the tank, bumping sides; holding its mouth open for several seconds to over three minutes; curling on the bottom of the tank, belly up.”
Folklore says the Moses Sole became divided and flat on one side during the miracle of the parting of the Red Sea, when the children of Israel were being pursued by the Egyptians. Although there is no proof of this, we can learn a valuable lesson from the Moses Sole. When the enemy is threatening, and we are at the point of annihilation, God has equipped us with a way to stop our enemy. Releasing the Holy Spirit against the sharks in our life renders them powerless. It may look like we are surrounded but the power of the Holy Spirit always makes a way of escape.
I Corinthians 10:13 AMP, “No temptation [regardless of its source] has overtaken or enticed you that is not common to human experience [nor is any temptation unusual or beyond human resistance]; but God is faithful [to His word—He is compassionate and trustworthy], and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability [to resist], but along with the temptation He [has in the past and is now and] will [always] provide the way out as well, so that you will be able to endure it [without yielding, and will overcome temptation with joy].” We have been created with beauty and given a powerful self defense against the sharks of this world