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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, May 04 2023

Lessons from the snake and the toad

The author had been mowing for about an hour when he noticed a toad directly in my path. He stopped walking and waited for the toad to get out of the way of the noisy lawnmower he was pushing.

by Gary Jacques

It took a few moments to realize he wasn't fleeing. Then I realized he was only half there. The other half was in a snake that was in the process of swallowing him. As I studied his situation, he looked back at me as if pleading for help. Oh boy! I thought. You have really gotten yourself into a pickle. Why didn't you jump when you had the chance? There was another set of eyes pleading with me not to take his lunch.

I considered and decided to try to save the toad. I tried a number of things, but poking the snake in the eyes worked the best. The snake let go of his grip and "unswallowed" the toad. The toad didn't really move; the snake backed away. That was when I saw Mr. Toad had struggled so hard that he had broken one of his powerful legs.

I have considered that snake and toad many times. It seems that there are so many lessons in it—especially when we consider that Satan is called a serpent, and we are his prey.

Lesson #1: Our struggling cannot save us. It only helps Satan swallow us.

The snake's devious method of swallowing its prey starts with sinking its fangs into Mr. Toad. Mr. Toad tries to get away by moving his powerful legs. The fangs prevent Mr. Toad's legs from moving away from the snake, so Mr. Toad's legs are forced deeper into the snake. Each time Mr. Toad tries to move, the result is to go deeper and deeper into the mouth of the snake.

At the point the snake gets its fangs into the toad, the toad is dead. It doesn't matter how long it is before the toad actually ceases to live.

What sort of fangs does Satan try to sink into us?

Maybe something in the Church appears to be wrong. Maybe the Church seems to have wrong priorities or there is a better way of doing something. Maybe someone has hurt our feelings.

Maybe it's difficulties with family, people at work or neighbors. Maybe we have been unjustly accused or the victim of false rumors. Maybe it is our own inability to overcome.

So Satan sinks his fangs into us. We are inundated by "difficulties." What is our response? Isn't it to take the normal, natural actions that life has preprogrammed into us? Why do we do this? Because we think they work. When they don't work, what do we do? We try harder. And harder. And harder. And . . . remember Mr. Toad?

It is important we understand that when Satan attacks, our ways can't save us. We need God's help, as Simon Peter did (Luke 22:31-32). How quickly do we seek the help of God? Or do we keep trying our own way until we break our own legs?

Lesson #2: God's action is required to save us from Satan and his wiles.

I kept poking the snake in the eyes until the snake wanted to get away from me more than he wanted that toad. God will do the same for us.

So what is the process to secure God's rescue? "Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you" (James 4:7).

Step 1 is "submit" to God. We go to God in prayer and humbly ask for His help. We need God's protection from all of Satan's tricks and wiles. We need God's help to open our minds so we can see ourselves as God sees us and to see the situation we face as God sees it.

We need to search the Scriptures to educate ourselves to the mind of God on the subject and related topics.

Step 2 is "resist the devil." To resist, we put God's way of life into action in our lives. We have to work to make our thoughts and actions come into line with what we have been proving in the Scriptures is God's thinking on the subject. We need to try to do it happily and with zeal.

Step 3 is stick with it. God's way is to be practiced always, not just when the "difficulties" are upon us.

Lesson #3: When we see a brother or sister struggling, we need to pray for him or her.

Jesus Christ set us an example of praying for other Church members under attack by Satan when He prayed for the apostle Peter (Luke 22:31-32). Is it an important part of our daily prayer?

Let's not forget the lessons of the snake and the toad. God will give us the victory if we seek His help, study His Word, put what God leads us to into action and remember to pray for each other.