"And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of Hosts, in that day when I make up My Jewels"
To my dear grandchildren,
Defeated Yet Still Dangerous
When Danny Anderson was a young boy, he loved to go hunting for rattlesnakes with his dad. He gave Danny some good advice: "Never touch a rattlesnake!" That's very good advice, since rattlers will often strike at moving objects in front of them, and their bite delivers deadly poison from their fangs. The kind of rattlesnakes where Danny now lives inject a poison that kills living tissue, stops blood from clotting, and can shut down vital body organs. If the bite isn't treated right away, it can cause death and almost always leaves some kind of scar. That's why I'm sure Danny wishes he had listened to the advice he got from his dad when was just a boy.
Danny, now fifty three years old, has often seen bull snakes around his property. They aren't poisonous and are actually helpful to farmers by eating rats and mice. Danny had never once seen a rattlesnake in the five years he'd owned this property, but they can be found not far away.
One Monday night, he was feeding his horses when a five foot rattler slithered up where Danny and his son were working. Acting quickly, one of them grabbed an irrigation pipe and pinned the snake to the ground. While it struggled, the other one grabbed a shovel and cut off the head, hitting it a few times for good measure. That's when Danny made his big mistake. He thought, wouldn't a rattle snake head make a nice souvenir?
This rattlesnake reminds me of another deadly enemy of man-kind - Satan. He was conquered, defeated and crushed by Christ at the cross. Even Satan's best weapon, death, was taken away from him when Christ was raised from the dead - "Death is swallowed up in victory" (1 Corinthians 15:54). But that doesn't mean we should challenge Satan or ignore his power. He is a very clever and sneaky enemy! He acts like a roaring lion as he attempts to scare Christians away from faithfulness to Christ and obedience to their Lord. We should remember the warning of Satan's poison and use the Word of God to resist his efforts. "Be sober, be vigilant: because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8).
But Danny didn't remember his dad's warning. He said, "When I reached to pick up the rattlesnake's head, it raised up and almost did a back flip and bit my finger! I had to shake my hand real hard to get it to let loose." Experts say that the rattlesnake's heat-seeking sensors and touch sensors can both function for a while after death and cause the snake's muscles to react without the brain telling them what to do. Scary!
Danny would have ignored the little bite, but his wife insisted they head for the hospital. Ten minutes later, with his tongue already swelling and the snake poison spreading, they reached the nearest hospital. In minutes he was in an ambulance, heading for a larger hospital where he could get a full, six-shot antivenin treatment. Two days later he came home from the hospital.
Danny thought it would be fun and quite safe to pick up a rattlesnake head. Careless people think it would be fun and harmless to go places and do things where Satan still has his power. He hides his deadly poison in things that look inviting.
Have you read books or magazines, played games and enjoyed entertainment that has the poison of sin mixed with it? Danny's wife had the best advice: "Get out of there and head for the hospital right away!" And it's a good thing Danny listened. The Lord Jesus gave us the perfect example for resisting Satan, by using His Word to defend against the devil. You can read about it in Luke 4:1-13. Notice how many times Jesus says, "It is written," and then quotes the Word of God.
Danny says the next time he sees a rattlesnake he'll kill it, but then he'll grab a shovel and bury it right there! And you and I should follow God's instruction in Proverbs 4:14-15 when we meet up with sin:
"Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away."