Keys to the Kingdom
I’m not going to beat around the bush — I fiercely hate all snakes. They’re creepy and scary and whenever I see one, I go to great lengths to kill it because I don‘t want to take the chance of ever seeing it again. Once when I was out walking, I saw a snake on the road and I stopped and looked around to see what I could use to kill it. I spotted a metal fence post that was loose and leaning, so I pulled it up and beat the snake to death with it. On another occasion, a snake was slithering across my driveway as I was pulling in, so I stopped my front tires on top of it and ground it to death by cutting the wheels back and forth. I guess I’m just literally acting out what God said in the Bible. “Then the Lord God said to the serpent, ‘Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all animals, domestic and wild. You will crawl on your belly, groveling in the dust as long as you live. And I will cause hostility between you and the woman…’” (Genesis 3:14,15 NLT).
God chose to speak to Moses from the middle of the burning bush. He was having a hard time getting Moses to understand that He needed him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses protested three times and pleaded twice and finally got on the Lord’s last nerve. After the third protest, God demonstrated His great power to help Moses get on board and agree to do what He was telling him to do. “Then the Lord asked him, ’What is that in your hand?’ ‘A shepherd’s staff,’ Moses replied. ’Throw it down on the ground,’ the Lord told him. So Moses threw down the staff, and it turned into a snake! Moses jumped back. Then the Lord told him, ’Reach out and grab its tail.’ So Moses reached out and grabbed it, and it turned back into a shepherd’s staff in his hand’” (Exodus 4:2-4 NLT).
I surely admire Moses because of his obedience, bravery, and trust in the Lord in regard to picking up that snake. If I were in Moses’ shoes, I’ve wondered if I could have picked up the snake. But I’ve come to understand that God will always give believers what we need in order to do what He tells/calls us to do. According to God’s Word, we’re not powerless wimps. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 NKJV). We would do well to memorize and declare this scripture when faced with the temptation to disobey God because we think the assignment is too hard or we‘re just flat-out scared. I like The Passion Translation for this verse: “And I find that the strength of Christ’s explosive power infuses me to conquer every difficulty.“
I’m reminded of the classic country song lyrics, “I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden.” Come what may, God did promise to give Christ followers what we need exactly when we need it in order to be overcomers in this life: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7 NLT).
Moses experienced fear for a few seconds, but when he obeyed and picked up the snake, God did the miraculous and turned it back into a staff. I don’t blame Moses for being afraid of the snake. Different Bible translations use multiple synonyms for his response to the snake: jumping, running, fled, ran, drew back, jumped-back fast. I would have done all those things, plus I would have killed the snake and messed up God‘s case in point.
The Key: If God says do it, then do it; even if you have to bite on a stick to keep from screaming while runn