Surviving the Serpent - Part One

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Surviving the Serpent - Part One

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It was exhilarating for the young mother to be out in nature enjoying creation with her toddler daughter. The blue waters of Lake Havasu were punctuated with small white crests mirroring a blue sky with white clouds sailing overhead. New life pushed out from the gritty desert landscape erupting with small wildflowers atop wispy green stems. She pointed out to her small child the contrasts of life around them as they navigated the narrow path that meandered along the shoreline. A movement in the gravel near a tangle of weeds provided the very thing she had hoped to show her daughter—baby animal life.

Reaching down to pick up the juvenile serpent, she was a bit surprised when it nipped at her finger, barely grazing it. Resolute to show her child the young of another species, she bent down again and snatched it up in her hand only to be instantly injected with the full load of venom contained in the young diamondback. The young mother survived, but not without being airlifted to a Phoenix, Arizona, hospital to begin extensive treatment for the rattlesnake bite. There is something cute about the infant stages of most species, even baby reptiles. The size, coloring, and undeveloped behavior belie their being an instant source of pain and death.

Eve, the first woman, encountered an early serpent that seemed harmless, even helpful. He convincingly painted God as unfair and restrictive. Genesis 3:4-5, “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (KJV throughout).

In scarcely a minute, Eve went from curious to intrigued and from intrigued to being bitten by deceit and suddenly confined to death. “But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die” (Genesis 3:3). Also Romans 5:12, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.”

Just as a hatred of snakes was instilled in Eve, so the spiritual woman (the Church) is in a struggle with Satan. We must walk forward on high alert, for Satan’s deceit is a major threat to our eternal lives. 2 Corinthians 11:3, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

The sins of the Israelites resulted in God sending stinging/deadly serpents among them as a plague of pain and death. Their suffering can be seen as symbolic of the consequences of man’s sinful state (Numbers 21:5-9). Their agony halted only after the raising of a bronze replica of a serpent on a pole. Similarly, the source of our pain—sin—is removed as the blood of Christ cleanses us from our past sins and sets us free from slavery to it (1 John 1:7). John 3:14-15, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

Human encounters with snakes typically occur when we uncover or intrude upon their obscured hiding places and catch them unaware. A viper bit the Apostle Paul; it was hiding among the firewood Paul was gathering (Acts 28:3). The potential for harm is present from any snake, whether or not it is a poisonous variety. Defense responses of nearly all snakes include striking or biting the offender. Poisonous snakes inject their venom with their fangs and the unsanitary mouth of even non-poisonous snakes can easily result in infection from snakebite. When sensing a danger to its well being, the poor-sighted snake lashes out in a vicious defense, sometimes inflicting multiple wounds on its presumed enemy.

As a mere human being, you resemble no threat to Satan or his demonic cohorts. They are spirit beings living in an eternal, permanent spirit world. While you are no match for the power and prowess they possess, you are provided assistance by a Power infinitely greater than theirs. “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4).

It is important to be in a close relationship with Christ, like one engaged to be married to Him. His protections of you from the perils of the Serpent are necessary in the day of trouble just ahead.

In the dark

One inky black night while in Kenya, my bare white feet glided through the cool, tender stretch of grass between the cottage and the car parked a short distance away. Surely, such a short stroll just to retrieve something from the nearby car did not require the use of a flashlight. But with every step, my fear of stepping on a black mamba increased. One of Africa’s most lethal snakes, the black mamba, has the fastest recorded kill of a human, just two and a half minutes. While reaching into the car through its open door, I felt a creepy perception of my feet and legs being exposed to whatever might be lurking under there. I increased my speed as I returned to the cottage and quickly bolted the door shut. I pondered whether the fear was credible or merely fanciful. Early the next morning, a black mamba lay dead close by, crushed by a car’s tire during the night. That experience shows that “people of the day” should not walk in darkness without a Light to safely guide them. Jesus gave Himself for this purpose. Luke 1:79, “To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Snakes often prowl for food at night, a time given to humans for sleep. Even if a snake were to slither up to you during sleep, it would likely present no danger if you didn’t move and startle it. Its cold-blooded body would merely relish your warmth. The prey they seek is no larger than what they can swallow, thus you and I are of no interest to snakes. They meander among the cracks and crevices of undisturbed out-of-sight places that are populated by the small, reclusive mammals and reptiles which make up their diet: mice, rats, moles, gophers, lizards, etc. We, in contrast, live very different lives as children of the day. 1 Thessalonians 5:5, “You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.” (NKJV)

Since poisonous snakes typically slither through dark out-of-sight places, your body should never collide with one if you wisely respect the danger they pose. Neither should the devices of Satan impact you when you are walking in the Light of Life. John 8:12, “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’” (NKJV)

Look for part two in the next issue of Virtual Christian Magazine.

For more information on influence of Satan on this world, request our free booklet, “Is There Really a Devil?

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