The mountain was covered with indescribable beauty as wild bouquets of flowers dotted the rocky mountain side. As we were enjoying this breath taking hike my heart stopped as just 2 feet ahead of me a snake crossed the trail into the bush. I jumped back at least two feet and grabbed my friend Johann, who was wondering why I was holding his arm, as I pointed to the rustling grass. Just as he peered over it the snake came flying out of the brush, yes it was airborne and flew to the other side of the trail and quickly slithered down the hill.
Still in shock I said to Johann, “what kind of snake was that?” “Oh thats a boomslang, one of the deadliest snakes in South Africa.” He went on to say that their venom is so powerful when it bites you with large fangs located in the back of the jaw the victim may die as a result of internal and external bleeding. “But don’t worry,” Johann said, “they are more scared of us than we are of them.” For some reason those last words didn’t bring me a lot of shalom.
At least in the states rattlers warn you when angry and I have never seen a snake fly like I did the boomslang. As we hiked on I was told these snakes also like to hang out in trees. Needless to say the beautiful spring day hike was ruined as not only did I need to keep my eye on the path, now I had to look above as well.
My family knows I don’t have a lot of fears in life but snakes happen to be one of them. As a young boy I would battle with ferocious snake dreams. Patty will never forget the time when we were first married and I woke her up by pounding a pool stick under our bed fighting off the vicious cursed creatures.
Now I’m not 100% certain, but perhaps my hate and fear for snakes is linked to Genesis 3:14ff and the curse that God the Father put on satan for tempting Adam and Eve in the garden.
“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 and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head and you will strike his heel.”
My encounter with the boomslang was a great spiritual reminder for me. Yes we have a very real enemy who is still very dangerous. He loves to frighten and control us by fear. A fear that has the capacity to paralyze you and me for the rest of our “earthly hike.” A fear that potentially can causes us to miss the beauty of the Father’s Kingdom all around us.
Praise be to God for the promise and fulfillment of Genesis 3! We as followers of Christ do not have to live in fear of the cunning cursed creature. His head was crushed at the cross along with his biting control over us.
Jesus shares this powerful truth with us as well:
“I saw satan fall from heaven like lightning! Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you,” Luke 10:18-19.
In the spiritual realm the serpent has been crushed by Christ at the cross. And the Christ who lives in all who believe has given us “authority over all the power of the enemy…”
Just as Johann said the boomslang is more afraid of us as we are of him so too, satan is more afraid of Christ followers who claim their true authority in His rule.
And all of God’s children said – Amen!