Home > Christianity, Faith > Snakebites And Shipwrecks

Snakebites And Shipwrecks

A few weeks ago, a church not too far from where I live was raided by the wildlife agency.  It seems that this particular church was a snake handling one.

I’m not normally one who wants to stand in the way of religious liberty.  However, when people intentionally place themselves in danger over their interpretation over a couple of verses, then I might.

Paul, though, seems to have actually had the realization of the verses these people use happen to him.  Paul was shipwrecked on an island.  When putting some wood on the fire, a snake came out of the bundle of wood and bit Paul on the hand.  Instead of dying, like they anticipated, Paul simply shook the snake off and went about his business.

Rather than pick up a snake and purposely try to use it as a means to worship, Paul simply trusted the Lord.  Just as he had done when he was shipwrecked, landing on the island.


We face these events in our own lives.  No, not literal shipwrecks or snakebites.  At least, not usually.  I do know someone who was bitten by a copperhead a couple of years ago.  She landed in the hospital for a bit.

No, we face these events in entirely different ways.  Some are obvious, while others are far more subtle.

We embrace what leads us to “shipwrecking” our faith.  Or we make sinful decisions that slowly poison us, leading to death.

Our problem is that too often, like the preachers with the snakes, we take up what can destroy us, rather than simply shaking the snakes off or holding on to what will help us stay afloat.

So, what do we do?

We face them.  We admit that we will face shipwrecks and snakebites.

We trust in the Lord.  We follow His way.  It isn’t easy, but it is true.

We don’t pick up snakes and wreck our ships on purpose.

Have you ever come close to shipwreck or snakebite?

  1. February 7, 2014 at 1:48 am

    I was a shipwreck. Thank God for His faithfulness and His new mercies every morning! 🙂
    Love your blog! God bless you.

  2. February 7, 2014 at 10:27 am

    There were many times that I literally should have been bitten by literal snakes while hunting them as a child living in Louisiana. Now that I am older I can appreciate not taking stupid chances. I never want to test God. You can read about the snake that got away here. http://dilemmamike.com/2013/12/10/rambo-knife-plus-teen-boy-equals-er/

  3. February 8, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    Surely I have. I hate to think how many times I’ve gotten myself into pickles and all I could do is pray for the situation to pass without much more damage being done.

    I agree with you about purposefully putting yourself in danger as a sign of faith. To me it feels awfully close to testing God. Or even to boasting, “look what my God can do”. I put my trust in God in so many little ways every day, without snakes or any kind of show. (And that’s hard enough for me to do that some days.)

  4. February 8, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    The story of Paul and the snake is a symbolic rehash of his story itself. The snake represents wisdom and in this case it would be a viper thus a poisonous or deadly wisdom. You hands represent the works in which you do thus his former understanding affected the things he did prior to salvation but as he did not die it shows he has become enlightened and the death of ignorance would not come to him from the light of salvation. The fire is a testing of the soul or mind that test our works and thus helps us to refine our understandings of the world around us and thus gain spiritual enlightenment. So to take up serpents simply means to gain the enlightenment of the world and not come to ruin in your understanding by having faith in the truth that is the ultimate reflection of God Himself… not being a bunch of loonies carrying around real vipers and calling that sage advice.

    • February 9, 2014 at 7:09 am

      I can honestly say that I would never have gotten any of that from the narrative found in Acts.

      • February 9, 2014 at 8:23 am

        I have spent the last several years trying to understand a mystery hidden in the Bible. I didn’t know what it was at first that I was on the trail of only that there were oddities in my reading that didn’t seem to make sense like the parables. Why would Jesus only talk to the crowds in parables but then explain in private to His disciples and yet only explain so very few of them and then ask why they don’t understand? So then I used the information from the ones He explained and wondered if perhaps this was a type of symbolic language that His followers should have already known because if it was then perhaps more of the Bible might be written in the same way. So I tried out the symbols elsewhere and they fit! I started on a path to know more and learn this symbolic language but yet I could not get the full mystery until some years later when the context began to fully form. The book is a manual of insightfulness that removes fear and ignorance and gives solid truths that lead to ultimate peace. It is actually a linear progression and thus the way God changes towards His people progresses and the wars stop etc. The world is you and all things are reflections of you and your struggles to gain enlightenment and create Jerusalem within. This is the path of kings, to conquer the inner-world in ultimate victory and thus mirror God as his Son the KING. OF ALL KINGS. There is so much we have been missing and our modern religious dogma we created is wrong as it is only based on the pretext of the context without ever truly understanding what truths are hidden in plain sight from those that think they are so wise.
        Please follow my latest series to help you unlock the greatest mystery of our age and I promise you will know the voice of God. He never left us alone in the darkness, we just didn’t recognize His voice.

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