The deadly viper. Sneakier than your larger variety constrictors. They will try to suffocate you over time, but the viper strikes quickly without warning.
The apostle Paul dealt with one on the island of Malta.
Acts 28:3 – “Now Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and he was laying them on the fire when a viper crawled out because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand.”
Sometimes they slither and crawl. Sometimes they come at you on two legs. The “heat” brings them out.
Rest assured, from Adam and Eve in the Garden, to Paul on Malta, and to us today, the deadly viper, whether manifested physically or spiritually, is alive and well and wants to disrupt, maim, and even kill and destroy you and the ministry of Jesus Christ in your life and in your church.
Demons, devils, fallen angels, Satan himself, and the people they use, all in the category of deadly viper.
On your job, in your neighborhood, perhaps within the walls of your home.
Even in your church.
Maybe even particularly in your church.
In fact, the church makes an excellent “woodpile”.
It’s where the “shapeshifters” hide.
They will lay dormant, perhaps for years, and then one day, without warning, you go to the same woodpile to gather where you have for years, and suddenly…you’re bitten.
Not just you, but everyone in the congregation. The spiritual venom seeks it’s level like water. The situation becomes fluid and unstable.
There is that one tedious, uncertain moment during the initial part of the crisis where one wonders just how deadly is this going to be?
I am convinced that this is the critical period. A church could rise or fall during this time.
“Strike the shepherd and the flock will scatter”.
Some may be waiting, perhaps the viper itself…baited breath…uncertainty…fear…
sorrow…ANGER…what will happen?…
And then…the slow exhale begins…Wait a minute! Praise God! It’s OK! It’s going to be all right!
“(5) Then [Paul simply] shook off the small creature into the fire and suffered no evil effects.”
No evil effects. Those on the down low could not get the church on the low down.
They (whoever and whatever fits the bill as a “viper”) have been trying for centuries. They bite, they nip, they scratch, they deride, they slander, they whine, and they exhibit their foolish pride and self-serving ways…all to no avail.
As long as the church is strong and the shepherd does not fail (connectivity to THE Shepherd).
Beware of the viper in your woodpile. It will strike without warning and shock and disbelief will be your first reaction. However, if you are prayed up, read up, and in close fellowship with Jesus, you will shake it off and suffer NO EVIL EFFECTS!
Keepin’ it Real, and providing solutions to “real life” difficulties…