Finding the Way Back to Mayberry

Episode #46 , "Keeper of the Flame"

Introduction:  Opie is trusted with the secrets and the sacred candle of a secret kid’s club called the Wildcats.  When he is accused of burning a barn, Andy pressures him to tell everything.  Opie doesn’t understand, for his father seems to suggest that he go back on his word. 

 Lesson Points (God’s Burning Bushes and Fiery Furnaces): Exodus 3:1-10, Daniel 3:1-30
The Sparks of Secrets and Lies– Job 18:5, Isaiah 1:31, Revelation 21:8, Matthew 6:2-6 and 18:15, 18
        Rash, bold oaths–Matthew 14:6-8, Judges 21:7, Zechariah 5:4, Malachi 3:5, Dt. 6:13-15, 10:20-22
        “Tinder” errors of secrets and oaths – Matthew 5:33-37 and 23:16-22, James 5:12
        Before God, do not lie – Galatians 1:20, Isaiah 65:16

The Flames of Love and Trustworthiness – Song of Songs 8:6, Ephesians 4:25, Romans 12:9-10 and 13:1-8
        Obedience – Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, Exodus 23:21, 2 Corinthians 10:5, Dt. 11:26-28, Pr. 13:21
        The shining “light” of truth – 2 John 1:1-3, 1 Corinthians 13:6-7, Joshua 24:14, 1 Samuel 12:24-25
        Trust in the Lord – Proverbs 11:13, Psalm 37:3 and 40, Psalm 32:10-11

 The Smoke and Ashes of Facing the Fire – Daniel 3:5-6, Ex. 22:6, Mt. 25:41, Ps. 97:3, Is. 47:14, 66:15-16
        False accusations, “fiery” judgments – Exodus 20:16, Luke 3:14, La. 1:13, Ezekiel 39:6, Ge. 19:24
        “Fanning the flames” of anger “ignites” pain and strife – James 3:5-6, Pr. 30:15-32, Eph. 4:31-32
        God uses “fire” to get our attention – Ex. 3:2 and 19:17-18, 1 Co. 3:12-15, Mt. 3:11-12, 13:24-43            

Discussion (Some Burning Questions):
1) What intrigued Opie about the secret club?  What was his job?  What other things did he have to promise to do, or not do?  Why did the oath of secrecy seem to concern him at first?  Why wasn’t Andy concerned initially?  If Opie had been able to be honest at the start, what advice would Andy have given him?  Then, how would Andy have reacted after the fire?  Why didn’t Andy believe Opie?  As a lawman, why did he accuse him of being guilty until he could prove his innocence?  Which hurts more, a spanking or knowing you have disappointed your father?  …A spanking or knowing that he has to pay for your mistakes?

2) What does the term “guilty by association” mean to you?  What were the known facts in this case?  How did they incriminate Opie?  What would have been your conclusion if you were Andy?  What did you think of Andy’s offer to pay for the barn and its contents?  How did you feel about Jubal then?  What were the boys guilty of?  What about Jubal?  What did Opie and his father (as a child) have in common?  What did Andy do when Jubal called Opie a brat?  Was Opie a liar?  Why did he finally tell Andy that he was at Jubal’s farm that day, since he knew Andy wouldn’t be happy with his answer?  What if Opie had discovered and reported evidence about Jubal’s still to Andy, but couldn’t explain how he knew about it?

4) Confessional: The fascinating thing about fire is that it can be good or bad.  Therefore, this story really hit home for me.  When I was a boy, I used to love exploring my grandparents’ attic and barn.  I don’t believe I ever caused any real damage, but my adventures certainly worried my grandmother.  I also would have to admit a certain temptation with fire when I was younger.  Luckily, my father seemed to always be around at just the right moment to snuff out any great danger.  Years later, I was told (not by Dad) that as a boy he had experimented with matches in, of all places, the hayloft of a neighbor’s barn!  I remember thinking (having forgotten my own transgressions) that was a foolish thing to do.  Looking back as an adult, I can see how my father’s experience was probably extremely painful in more ways than one.  Does this episode kindle any similar memories of your childhood?  How much “fire” have you been through lately?  But remember, God is right there with you, just as He was with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

Final Thought (An Escape From the Fire – 1 Corinthians 10:12-13):
  But Paw, I told you.  I didn’t start that fire.    Andy:  I know you told me that.  There’s one thing that I wanna get clear though.  I’m gonna ask you one more time -- no beatin’ around the bush, and I want a straight answer.  Were you at Jubal Foster’s the day his barn burnt down?  Were you?    Opie:  Yes, Paw.    Andy:  You’re lookin’ at the man that’s goin’ to have to pay for that barn.  I just want you to know that.