There is no other sound quite like that of the rattlesnake’s rattle.
A high-pitched CH-CH-CH-CH-SHHZZZZTTT fills the air.
Hearing this, you become instantly alert. Your focus is coiled taut, and any other activity that occupied your mind quickly gives way to this defiant menace in your path.
Our cats stirred up a rattlesnake on a warm spring day, just off our back porch. My husband was at work at the time, so I had to deal with this myself.
Grabbing our .22 single-shot rifle, I opened the screen door and tip-toed closer. I steadied the sight, aimed at the head of this turban mound, and fired.
But I missed by half an inch and gut-shot it instead.
It slithered up a few inches onto the concrete patio (where I didn’t want it to go), and parked itself—curled, angry, and ready to strike.
Because of my concerns with ricochets, I needed to get it back onto the dirt somehow before attempting to shoot again. But I was hungry (my breakfast had been interrupted) and I needed to go to the bathroom!
Back inside, I finished breakfast. I even made the beds. All the while, that rattlesnake would not let me forget.
It wasn’t going away, giving up, or planning to die without my intervention.
Kind of like sin in our lives.
Temptation buzzing in our ears. Selfishness rearing its ugly head. Sin ready to strike if we don’t do something about it.
But thankfully, we are not left to battle alone.
O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle. Psalm 140:7
God is ever ready to vanquish our sin-foes. But only if we recognize them for what they are and willingly hand them over. Not coddle the snakes in our lives, or worse, poke the snake of temptation with the stick of arrogancy, sure we won’t get bit.
Who, in their right mind, would play with a rattlesnake?
Sadly, haven’t we all?
For what is the difference if we dismiss the envious thought, the disrespectful roll of our eyes, the ungrateful sigh, or the oh, so, innocent flirt as nothing?
Singly, these things still offend God, they still grieve His Spirit. But unrepentant sin is never barren.
It will swell to produce a writhing nest of ugliness.
But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. James 1:14–15
Back on the porch, the snake lifted its head and lunged for me. Adrenalin rushed and I hastily found fist-sized rocks I could throw at it.
One rock, two (oh, I missed again), and it kept at me.
Heart racing, three, four, then—wham—I nailed it, forcing its retreat.
Once off the porch and onto the dirt, I picked up the rifle, aimed, and shot it in the head. Whew!
Is our battle with sin any less intense, the victory any less noble?
If I had ignored the snake, not only would I have to face it (or one of its kin) another day, but I or my children could have gotten badly hurt.
Nobody wants to step around the corner and get pierced by the fangs of a deadly snake.
Although rattlesnake venom could cause us major injury or death, Satan’s venom is far deadlier. He is crafty, searching for those who insist they are ‘good’ people, caught in a trap of self-delusion. But God says:
They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Romans 3:12
No matter how far down this Christian road we advance, we are never immune to temptation—the venom our adversary tries to spit our way.
We must stay vigilant, stay humble, and . . .
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Ephesians 6:1
Over the years, my husband and I have taught our children the many dangers of flora and fauna.
As Mighty Man heard once about the Desert Southwest, “If it doesn’t poke you, stick you, scratch you, or sting you, it will probably bite you.”
As parents, teaching children about physical dangers comes naturally. But what is harder, and infinitely more important, is pointing out the more subtle, spiritual dangers that lurk around every corner.
I don’t like to be confronted with rattlesnakes. But as long as I live here, so will they.
I don’t like to be confronted by my own sins either. But as long as I live, I will sin.
Thanks be to God . . .
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
Abiding in the Vine,
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The post “The Snake Would Not Let Me Forget” was first published on Desert Rain.