There is a TV program about snakes and snakes catchers. It is interesting to see where snakes hide and how professional snake catchers hunt them and catch them. We don’t watch the program because the snake catchers’ language is not the best. However, the work they do is important as their philosophy is to protect humans from snakes and protect snakes from danger. All the snakes they catch are taken into forests and huge bushy areas and let loose into their natural habitat. I don’t know about you, but I am very wary of snakes of any shape or form. Yet … we read of snake charmers in the Bible!
Ps 58:4 Their venom is like the venom of a snake,
like that of a cobra that has stopped its ears, 5 that will not heed the tune of the charmer, however skillful the enchanter may be.
In verse 3, the Psalmist speaks of wicked people fuming lies and compares them to snakes who will respond to its charmer … and spit venom!
From ancient times, snake charming was practiced amongst the Oriental nations. Snake charming is almost extinct in India. Many snake charmers live a wandering existence, visiting towns and villages on market days and during festivals. The most popular species are those native to the snake charmer’s home region, typically various kinds of cobras, though vipers and other types are also used. In India … “Since keeping snakes in captivity and their display in public is prohibited under the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, it is an illegal activity.” Extracts from Times of India and Wikipedia.
Many have been fascinated by the so-called skills of the snake charmer. It is said that some remove the fangs of the snakes before they display them in public. The question must be, “Is this real? Do snakes respond to the music of the flute being played?” The answer is no! The charm has nothing to do with the music and everything to do with the charmer waving a pungi which is a reed instrument carved out of a gourd, in the snake’s face. Snakes don’t have external ears and can perceive little more than low-frequency rumbles.
The first time we meet up with a snake in the Bible is in the Garden of Eden.
Ge 3:1 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’?”
2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 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.’ ”
4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Verse 1 informs us that the “serpent” was craftier than all the other animals. The serpent is an animal, yet one who is able to engage with the woman in conversation. I don’t know about you, but in the early years of my Christianity I struggled with the concept of a speaking serpent … yet at the same time I acknowledged that God is Sovereign and that He is the real author of the Bible. One of the greatest ways to rebuff deception and confusion is to use the Bible to interpret the Bible. It is helpful if you have a Bible Concordance, because this tool helps you speed up your search and comparison by comparing words in one text (passage or Book) with another text (passage or Book). Take as an example doing a search on “serpent”. You will find that in the NIV there are sixteen references.
Five of these are specific to Genesis 3, and only three are to be found in the New Testament … of which all are found in the Book of Revelation. Look at these two verses:
Rev 12:9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
Rev 20:2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.
In both verses, the dragon of Revelation is referred to as serpent, devil and Satan. In chapter 12:9, he and his ‘angels’ (demons) were hurled down. In Isaiah we read:
Isa 14:12 How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations!
13 You said in your heart, “I will ascend to heaven;
I will raise my throne above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.
14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.”
And in Ezekiel we read:
Eze 28:13 “You were in Eden, the garden of God;
every precious stone adorned you: ruby, topaz and emerald, chrysolite, onyx and jasper, sapphire, turquoise and beryl.
Your settings and mountings were made of gold; on the day you were created they were prepared.
14 You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you.
You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.
15 You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created till wickedness was found in you.
16 Through your widespread trade you were filled with violence, and you sinned.
So I drove you in disgrace from the mount of God, and I expelled you, O guardian cherub, from among the fiery stones.
17 Your heart became proud on account of your beauty,
and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor.
So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.”
Clearly you see that this morning star, son of the dawn, guardian cherub is the “ancient serpent”, the devil, satan. A snake’s venom can be so dangerous it can kill within minutes. The ancient serpent’s spiritual venom is so dangerous it secures eternal hell for its followers (see Ephesians 2:1-3).
Dear God, how we praise and thank You for the greatest weapon which killed all possible victories against You. That great weapon being the Cross upon which our Saviour Jesus died to save all who will believe and repent. Thank You for eternal salvation and protection against that wicked ancient serpent. Amen.