My roommate in college, Matt Barnhill, had a four-foot Burmese python named Sinbad. He kept it in a glass aquarium and fed it mice. It smelled awful. Matt and Johnny loved watching it eat things. They put a habitrail next to the glass cage so the snake could watch its dinner. One time they even put the snake into the habitrail. Sick fellows.
One night I was trying to sleep and heard a big commotion. Matt and Johnny were in the living room in their underwear with TV trays in a circle. They’d made an arena like the Roman coliseum. They put the snake in and then dropped in a mouse. But the wily mouse ran under the corners and disappeared into the apartment.
No more gladiator contests.
One day I reached in to pick up Sinbad, and the snake suddenly bit me. Totally unexpected! It had never bitten anyone before. I had about 18 little puncture wounds in my hand where it clamped down over and over again.
What’s interesting is that it surprised me. How could being bitten by a snake catch me by surprise? All my life my mother said, “Don’t play with snakes, they bite.” I said, “Ouch! He bit me!” And it hurt.
You know, you just can’t trust snakes.
If my roommate hadn’t spent his last $75 on that snake, I would have turned it into a hatband.
Why all this talk of snakes? It helps me to remember that we are in a battle with a snake. He first appeared in the garden with Adam and Eve and he’s been biting folks ever since. Revelation 12:9 calls him, “The serpent of old.”
And from time to time he will bite you. When you least expect it. And here’s the tough part. The snake isn’t always a snake.
Psalm 57:4 says that the wicked have venom like a serpent.
Sometimes the snake is a co-worker or a boss. He does not look like a snake. But man, he bites like one. Sometimes the snake is a teacher, or a friend. Your snake might even be in your own family. You might be living with snakes. That’s doubly tough.
The problem with this kind of snake is that they don’t look snaky. And they catch you off guard when they bite. And it hurts. And you tend to want to bite back. Don’t do that. Learn the leasson. Next time be more discerning. And don’t play with snakes.
Oh . . . and take your snakebites to Jesus. He’ll take care of the rest.