Friday, September 23, 2016

Christian Outdoor Object Lesson 42: Snake's Wisdom

Key Verse

“Behold, I send you out as sheep among wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Matthew 10:16 WEB


Snakes are scary! At least that is what a lot of people think about them. It is understandable. Snakes are unusual creatures with no legs and scale bodies. Plus, some are venomous. The way they slither may seem unnatural. But most snakes are not so scary once you spend some time around them. In fact, many types of snakes make great pets.

There are around 2900 varieties of snakes in the world but only about 375 or 11% are venomous. Snakes are carnivores that eat only meat. They are unable to chew so they swallow their meal whole. Snakes can unhinge their lower jaw and swallow prey up to three times the diameter of their head.

Snakes flick their tongue out often because that is how they smell. A special gland on some snakes allows them to see infrared heat or body heat of other animals. Tiny pits on their nose allows them to “see” predators or prey even in the dark. Snakes are indeed amazing creatures.1 They are some of the best hunters on earth.2 Because of this, snakes have been called sneaky, crafty, and wise. In the Bible they are symbols of evil and sin. But the Bible also recognizes their good qualities as God’s creatures. In Matthew 10:16 Jesus tells his followers to be as wise as serpents or snakes.

In this verse Jesus reminds his followers that, as believers in God, many people would dislike and despise them. Jesus asked his followers to share God’s love with people who would hate them. They must be kind and loving, like doves, even when treated badly. They must be wise and trust in God even when they do not understand everything. They must be wise in order to recognize and avoid temptation or traps.3 Some snakes are scary, but most are beautiful creatures from whom we can learn. As Proverbs 9:10 says, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom!


Are you scared of snakes? Why?

As Christians how can we be as wise as snakes? Can you give an example?

1 Defenders of Wildlife. "Basic Facts About Snakes." Defenders of Wildlife. N.p., 03 Apr. 2012. Web. 06 July 2016.

2 Smith, Grant. "Are Snakes Smart?" Cape Snake Conservation. N.p., 6 Nov. 2012. Web. 6 July 2016.

3 "What does it mean to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16)?," Got Questions Ministries, accessed July 6, 2016,

Photo Credit: David F. Garner
Written by David F. Garner