Oct
03

Two Good Rattlesnakes by Randy Rowley 10/3/18 ©

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In late March, David Chalmers, Warren Hoke and I headed to the El Portillo Ranch near Charlotte for a weekend of hog hunting.  When we arrived we were met by the outfitter, who took our money and then showed us around the ranch.

Later that afternoon I took David and Warren to their chosen stands and then headed for mine.  As I was driving down the dirt road I saw what I thought was a stick standing straight up about 50 yards ahead.  I was a little perplexed, as I didn’t remember the stick being there during our tour.

As I got closer I saw that the stick was swaying a bit!  A few feet later I was able to make out that the stick was actually a big snake with about 1/3 of its body on the ground and the rest standing straight up.  In a few more feet I saw that it was not one snake but two that were wrapped around each other like pretzels.  Finally when I was about 20 yards away I saw that they were two rattlesnakes.

I stopped my truck and grabbed by 12 gauge from the back seat, which already had two 3” shells stuffed with 00 buckshot in the magazine.  The approximately 5’ long snakes were totally involved with each other and were completely obliviously that death was approaching.  I walked up to about 10 feet from them, shouldered my shotgun, and waited until their two heads were in alignment.  One pull of the trigger and there were two good rattlesnakes.

Some hunters have seen a lot of rattlesnakes, but I’ve been hunting since I was 15 and only once before on a dove hunt near Coleman did I see two rattlesnakes on the same hunt, and they were a couple hundred yards and two hours apart.

I originally thought that they were a male and female in the act of mating.  However, Warren identified them the next morning as two males.  They easily could have been fighting over a nearby, and unseen, female!

I know that some people have a “let and let live” attitude towards dangerous creatures, but not me.  I kill them as quickly as I can, as the person who follows me might not be as fortunate to have evaded the danger.  And a human life is worth far more than that of a snake, or any other creature.

Jesus said in the middle portion of his Sermon on the Mount, ““Look at the birds.  They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them.  And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?  Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”” (Matthew 6:26-27 NLT).  Jesus was primarily addressing worrying, but he also reiterated where man is in the hierarchy of his creation.  He did not say that birds and other creatures were worthless, but that man was worth much more.

In the creation story in Genesis 1:26-28 (NKJV) God said, ““Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.  Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.””

The dictionary definition of “dominion” means:

  1. “the power or right of governing and controlling; sovereign authority
  2. rule; control; domination.”

When you pair “subdue” with “dominion” in this verse, in this instance dominion means to control or dominate, because of the authority that God gave to us.

All human life is sacred.  That is because:

  • God knew us before we were born. He told Jeremiah, ““Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart”” (Jeremiah 1:5a).
  • As was previously discussed, God made our bodies in his image.
  • God made each of us as eternal beings or souls. The soul is who we are.  It is the essence of our beings.  Our souls are composed of our intellect, emotions, and will.  With our intellect, we can understand and receive God’s word.  With our emotions, we can need, appreciate, worship, and adore him.  And with our wills, we can choose to respond and surrender to him, receive him, and let him rule in us.  Jesus replied, when asked which is the most important commandment, with ““You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind”” (Matthew 22:37).
  • God gave us spirits. Our spirits are the human element that enables us to connect to God.  Our spirits were not something that God made from the earth, like God did with our bodies (see Genesis 2:7).  God, who is Spirit, gave our spirits to us as our spiritual mouths to contact and have an intimate relationship with him.  Jesus said, ““God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth”” (John 4:24).  Although we all have spirits, only believers have spirits that are alive.  Paul wrote, “You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away.  Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins.” (Colossians 2:13.)
  • God enables us to be saved from an eternity in hell. Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16) and Paul wrote, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9).
  • God gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit once we receive him. Luke wrote, “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.  And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”” (Acts 2:38.)  And Paul told Timothy, “His spirit does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).
  • God has given us spiritual gifts. Peter wrote, “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts.  Use them well to serve one another.” (1 Peter 4:10 NLT.)
  • Jesus strengthens us (Philippians 4:13) and offers us abundant life (John 10:10), joy (1 Thessalonians 1:6), and the peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:6-7).
  • God enables us to know the love that surpasses knowledge—that we may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of him (Ephesians 3:19) and calls us his children (1 John 3:1).
  • And much more!

None of the above facts apply to animals, birds, fish, or other creatures.  When animals are referred to in the Bible it is usually as food or as beasts of burden to ease man’s labors.  We are not commanded to kill dangerous creatures in the Bible, but we are not prohibited from doing so.  Some of the best know Biblical stories are those that involved a man killing a dangerous beast.  Both Samson and David killed lions and David also killed a bear.

I’m not advocating that we should be cruel to the creatures that God gave us dominion over, but we also cannot elevate them to the level of man.

If we’re prepared and blessed, we hunters kill the game animals and non-game animals that we hunt.  There is no catch and release.  The vast majority of the time we eat what we kill.  But sometimes we kill because of the danger that a creature poses.  If you make that decision, always remember that your creator gave you dominion over them and they are not sacred.

David with Randy’s snakes and his hog

Categories : Devotionals

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Bible verse of the day

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.

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