On a recent Saturday I went out to do some yard work. Instead of walking out my front door, I went through the garage and was determining my weed-pulling strategy as I looked at my wife’s garden in front of our front porch.
I saw something move to the right in my peripheral vision. As I turned my head, I saw a four foot black snake lying at the base of the front step – the only step off of our porch. I realized then if I had walked out the front door as I normally did, I may not have seen the snake and have stepped right over it. I may even have spooked it and it could have lunged up at me. As I now moved a step toward it the snake crawled into the rear of the bushes and paused. I stepped forward to get a better look and it moved behind and underneath the largest bush in the garden.
Zookeepers who handle snakes will tell you that you should never attempt to grab one by the tail. Any snake can quickly turn around and sink its fangs into your hand. Even though I knew black snakes are not poisonous, I was not interested in getting bitten. The right way is to control a snake by its head. I put some thick gardening gloves on, moved closer to attempt to grab it by its head and carry it to the nearby woods, thereby reducing the chance of any kids in the neighborhood encountering it.
Read Exodus 4:1-5.
Picking up a snake by its tail is exactly what God told Moses to do. Moses, like others raised in the Midian desert, would have known that doing what God said was in this context, unwise. Yet Moses obeyed the Lord. Why?
What was God trying to teach Moses? It seems that God wanted him to realize God’s power was available to him, but Moses must be willing to be used by Him as His messenger. In this account, there was little difference between throwing a rod to the ground (v 3) and taking the snake by its tail (v 4). Both were acts of obedience to the Lord. The lesson is God was able to use whatever He wanted in order to help Moses learn to trust Him and deliver His message to the Hebrews.
Look at your hands. Have you considered that our lives are in our hands? We choose everyday whether to waste or use our time in our own pursuits of what we think will bring meaning and fulfillment. Or we decide how to invest our lives in an obedient life that pleases the Lord, brings glory to Him, and advances His Kingdom.
We will often be surprised at what the Lord will accomplish in and through us as we obediently do what He asks. Ehud, a left handed man was available for God’s purposes in chapter three of the Book of Judges when right handed folks were apparently not. God eventually was able to use Gideon, who we learn was a coward when we first meet him in Judges 6.
After a few attempts to grab the black snake in our garden behind its head failed, and it was hissing and jumping at me to protect itself, I grabbed a rake and drug it into the sewer drain across the street. Children were safe. I did what was needed.
Think theologically. What is in your hand? God’s call to serve Him includes His strength to complete the task. Remember, “Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus.”
Love is a verb,
©2018 by Mike Olejarz