Snakes, Scorpions, and Other Scary Stuff
Recently, while touring through the San Diego Zoo with some friends, I noticed a rather ominous looking snake in the (very large) reptile exhibit. I literally shuddered when I set my eyes on the creature and mumbled, "That just looks evil." My friend, who was also taking in the sight of this serpent, informed me that the beauty I was beholding was an adder (Ethiopian Mountain Adder, to be exact).
An adder. My friend mentioned the Bible talking about the adder. Suddenly, instead of just seeing the evil, I remembered the promise. The verse that immediately came to my mind comes from the first part of Psalm 91:13: "Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder..." This isn't like a wasp or even a venomous spider: a thick sole and a heavy tread is capable of protecting you from such dangers. If we're talking about the Ethiopian Mountain Adder, only one person in the world is known to have survived its deadly assault.
Though in Psalm 91 we find God's promise to protect us and give us power over lions, snakes, and snares of all sorts; this is not what I find most comforting. Maybe if I were living in the jungles of Ethiopia or the rainforests of the Amazon, I would take greater refuge in the literal interpretation of these verses. The greatest dangers that threaten my habitat aren't usually snakes and lions; yet, I rest in the promise that God gives us power over the most menacing forms of evil. The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary states concerning these verses, "Even the fiercest [most savage], strongest, and most insidious [subtle] animals may be trampled on with impunity." What a promise!
My thoughts are pulled to the fact that our Enemy, Satan, is often savage in his attacks, strong in his intentions, and subtle in his tactics. Yet, we are promised power over his power.
A few weeks ago, when re-reading some of E. M. Bounds' book Guide to Spiritual Warfare a particular excerpt stood out to me:
"'Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.'" (Luke 10:19)... Francis Havergal wrote of these verses: "Why, this is grand- power over all the power of the Enemy. Just where he is strongest there they shall prevail. Not over the very center of his power, not over his power here and there, nor now and then, but over all his power. And Jesus said, 'Is not that enough to go into battle with?'""
We see Satan working in the lives of those we love. We watch him destroy hopes and sabotage strongholds. Yet, we are promised power over every part of his power. I John 3:8 reassures us of our guarunteed victory over Satan, "For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." What a glorious battle! Jesus Christ himself leads the charge, already having bruised the Serpent's head (Genesis 3:15). We fight a winning war... we shall prevail over every part of Satan's power. Hallelujah!
Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary
Ethiopian Mountain Adder at the San Diego Zoo. Picture taken by Merilee Barnard.