“Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made…The woman said, “The serpent deceived me and I ate.” So the Lord said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” – Genesis 3:1, 13-15
Most people do not like snakes. There is a general fear of them. At one time with the first two beings this was not so. They were beautiful creatures which apparently stood tall. They were crafty, smart. But because of the fall and curse their nature was dramatically changed.
My son is not fearful of snakes. As a herpetologist and environmental biologist he actually likes snakes; he appreciates their place and value in the creation. But most fear this creature and steer clear of them, as they do us. When a confrontation does occur between man and snakes, however, they will strike, some with poisonous venom, others with a non-venomous bite. The bite of some snakes can prove lethal. Nevertheless, snakes are a reminder of the gospel, of the Savior, and of a great enemy. Genesis 3:15 is the protoevangelion , the first mention of the gospel in the Bible record; it speaks of an enmity between Satan and Christ, an enmity which extends to Satan’s followers (seed) and to the followers of Christ. Satan will strike Jesus’ heel, but Jesus Christ will crush Satan’s head. A mind honed in the Scriptures will take notice.
In their cursed nature snakes “eat dust.” They slither along the ground. They live in holes. They feed on rodents. The devil, Satan, in the distant past entered into one of these once glorious creatures to deceive Eve and Adam. The fall of man was the result of his deception and this dramatically changed the entire creation from very good to truly worse.
Snakes should be a continual reminder to you of a number of very important things: (1) Satan is, and he is a powerful, shrewd, and constant enemy seeking your destruction. (2) Sin is, and is what you do against God out of a rebellious nature. Sin is destructive and venomous, like a poisonous snake’s bite. The snake reminds you of both Satan and sin. (3) The snake reminds you of your need for a Savior, the need to be healed from sin, just as the bronze snake Moses crafted by God’s instruction and put on a pole in the wilderness of Sinai; a look of faith on this bronze snake would bring healing from sickness and death, from a poisonous snake bite. (4) To call someone “a snake” is to label them with a term meaning they are deceitful and seek your downfall. They are most usually up to no good. It is a life preserving measure to be reminded of the truth of sin and Satan so you pursue the essential remedy. A snake is a slithering reminder of your fallen nature, and for those who exercise faith, your sure redemption by a Savior who can and will crush Satan.
In recent days you have been reminded by the great light your Creator placed in the night sky to light your way in the dark. The “super moon” of recent days points to the Creator’s magnificent creation on your behalf, even as a colorful rainbow reminds of his covenant promises, which are faithful and true. Do you think very often of how God points you to the truth of your needs by signs in His creation, consistent reminders of salvation and blessing, sin and the curse; realities of your life. You can ignore and deny their significance, but it is to your own great loss. He speaks to you both in His Word and in His creation. He is not silent! You can make Him personally so, but only by being willfully deaf to His voice.
Though out of a distant past, there is a faithful and true testimony of historical reality which greatly affects your life now and your future into eternity. The snake tells a story which relates very much to you and your condition. Are you listening?
“Sin’s bond severed, we’re delivered; Christ has bruised the serpent’s head; death no longer is the stronger; hell itself is captive led. Christ has risen from death’s prison; o’er the tomb he light has shed.”
(3rd verse of Venantius Fortunatus’ hymn, “Praise the Savior Now and Ever,” ca 530-609)
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