Hidden Danger by Randy Rowley 2/20/10 ©


On a hot morning in September, my brother, Mark, his father-in-law, the late Scotty Scott, and I headed to a large field containing some sunflowers near Charlotte.  The dove were spotty, but there were enough of them to keep us from falling asleep.  After a couple of hours, the dove started concentrating in the field’s southwest corner, around 250 yards away from us.

I don’t usually stay put when dove aren’t flying regularly where I’m at, and I see they’re flying with greater regularity elsewhere, so I soon headed towards the dove convention.  I walked along the edges of the field, using the mesquites and oaks ringing the field for cover.  As was my habit, I focused on the sky before me and to my left and right.

With only about 75 yards to go, I was interrupted by the unmistakable sound a rattlesnake makes when it wants to warn something that it’s alarmed and nearby.  Things then happened very quickly.  In less than two seconds, I located the rattler, which was less than a foot away from my right leg, jumped upwards and backward, turned 90 degrees clockwise, and shot it twice before hitting the ground.

It was one of those “kill or possibly be killed” moments, and I chose to end the threat.  Even when I was skinny, jumping was never my forte, but Michael Jordan would have been amazed by my jump that day!  Adrenaline is one of God’s greatest gifts.

The 3 ½ foot-long rattler had been on the field’s edge but wasn’t in cover.  It was hidden because its coloration closely matched the dark plowed ground, and my attention was focused elsewhere – I’d been concentrating on the sky so intensely that I failed to notice the danger at my feet.  (I now walk around while dove hunting very differently, focusing on the ground as much as the sky.)

In Texas, we have mountain lions, black bears, wolves, coyotes, bobcats, the Texas grizzly (feral hogs), cottonmouths, copperheads, coral snakes, Gila monsters, black widow spiders, brown recluse spiders, scorpions, killer bees, and fire ants, but attacks on humans by such critters are rare and aren’t usually fatal.  But the western diamondback rattlesnake not only attacks us the most often but also kills the most Texans by far, and we encounter it more frequently than most of the critters on the above list.

An old poem says boys are made of “snakes and snails and puppy dog, tails,” but I’ve never cared for snakes, especially venomous ones.  Most of my friends fall between disliking and loathing them.

Our first encounter with snakes didn’t go well for us.  Genesis 3:1-5 says, “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made.  He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”  The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'”  “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman.  “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

You’re probably very familiar with the rest of the story.  Eve ate the fruit and gave some to Adam, who was there all along, and he ate too.  Then they realized they were naked and made clothing for themselves.  Later in the day, God walked about in the garden, looking for Adam and Eve, who were hiding.  Adam responded to God, who was calling for him, and then spilled the beans.

God judged the snake; before he judged Adam and Eve and cursed the rest of his creation.  Genesis 3:14-15 (NLT) says, “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, and between your offspring and her offspring.  He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.’”

Snakes are our ancient enemy.  Although the snake in the garden didn’t strike Adam and Eve, he proved even more deadly than if he had.  Our first encounter with them left a bitter taste in our mouths.  Over the years since then, they have killed hundreds of thousands of us, and we have killed millions of them.

Some people today share Adam’s and Eve’s doubts.  They think they can pick and choose which Bible verses are accurate and which Biblical accounts are real.  Or they believe scriptures that make sense to them or make them feel good and reject those that don’t.  Their beliefs are based on their wisdom or what others say instead of what God said.  They don’t care for Jesus’ words in Luke 9:23 (NLT), which says, “Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me.’”  But they believe a pastor’s words are accurate when they say:

  • “Your happiness is what matters most, and God wants you to be comfortable, wealthy, and healthy.”  (If so, he must have hated the Apostle Paul, whom three times pleaded with God to take his “thorn in the flesh,” probably an eye disease, from him, but God replied, “‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’” – see 2 Corinthians 12:7-9.)
  • “Listen to your heart and trust your gut.”
  • “Be true to yourself and feel good about who you are.”
  • “Be a good person, and you’ll go to heaven.”

Some doubters say things like, “I can see how Jesus healed people, but I can’t buy that Jonah was swallowed by a great fish and lived,” or “I like what Jesus said about serving others, but the verse about turning the other cheek has got to be taken out of context.”  People who doubt the Bible will pick and choose what they believe about Jesus’ virgin birth, teachings, miracles, sinless life, death, resurrection, and ascension.

People today who act on their doubts or don’t act because of doubts will face consequences, just as when Adam and Eve acted when they doubted what God said.  John 14:5-6 says, “Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”  Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.’”  If people doubt Jesus is the only way to come to God the Father and refuse to accept Jesus as their Savior, they will spend eternity apart from him in hell.

2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”  All, not some, scripture is inspired by God.  It’s the highest authority in all matters of doctrine and faith.  To doubt scripture (God speaking his truth to us through words he inspired men to write) is to doubt God.  Adam and Eve doubted God’s oral word, resulting in disaster for them and the rest of God’s creation.  If we doubt God’s written word, it will also result in disaster for us.

We encounter a hidden danger daily, and, unfortunately, Satan doesn’t have rattles on his tail to warn us of his presence.  However, we can crush his schemes by constantly being alert to his efforts to tempt us to doubt God’s word.

Categories : Devotionals

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Today’s Devotionals and Blogs

Kent Crockett’s blog – www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com

Mark Dillow’s blog – http://noclearline.blogspot.com/

Bible Verse of the Day

Your testimonies I have taken as a heritage forever, For they are the rejoicing of my heart.