On snakes – from Proverbs
There are three things, the Proverbs writer says, that are amazing to him – and four that he does not understand. He lists them, one by one. The second one is “the way of a snake on a rock.” To read the first post, “the way of an eagle in the air,” click here.
A snake’s power
A snake kills its prey by strangling, constricting, biting, or poisoning its enemy. It is conniving and understands its enemy. This helps the viper be the winner. The majority of snakes are harmless. Snakes most likely avoid humans and will leave us alone unless threatened. Venom is a survival instinct. Yet, the power of a snake’s venom can kill quickly.
A snake’s way
A snake becomes one with its surroundings when it is still. This is why one needs to look carefully when out and about, especially in areas where snakes might be hiding.
It uses strategy and tactic and hides on a rock. A snake knows where it is vulnerable (its belly) and uses its wits to overcome its opponent. Another interesting fact is that a snake grows continuously throughout its life.
A snake smells by using its tongue. It flits its tongue in the air and collects chemical particles from the air, which determines the scent. It can also detect heat from prey animals and sense vibrations.
While many of us have aversions to snakes, we recognize that they are created by God for a purpose. Snakes help take care of rodents, bugs, and garden pests.
Large rocks and piles of lumber are enticements for snakes. These are places to sun, to live, and to hide. This is where Proverbs regards the snake: on a rock.
Lessons from a snake
Strategic, cunning, and quick – this is how the snake lives and acts. It knows its power – whether it’s through strangulation or venom. The viper does what it was created to do. A snake helps balance nature by killing rodents and insects that invade a garden. A snake does not need to be seen to have power.
Scripture says we are to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. A snake is cunning and wise. It uses its cunningness to deceive its prey and protect itself. The snake uses its awareness of the surroundings to plan and live.
As believers, we are to be as wise as a serpent. This means we are to be actively aware of what is happening in our world, we are to be quick and understand the power that is ours in Christ. We are not to be deceived or connived into doing what is wrong. While we are to be wise as serpents, we are also to be harmless as doves. This means we do not harm or deceive others. People should feel safe with us.
A harmless snake sunning himself on a rock is a beautiful sight. He lives in the moment and uses the abilities he is given to be what he is created to be. So, also, should we.