Left Menu
Life News
Are we using our memory for the glory of God? by Timothy Raymond
Can we in good conscience vote for Labor? by Andrew Lansdown and Dwight A. Randall
National MP slams perversity of Safe Schools program
Adult children of gay parents testify against same-sex marriage by Kirsten Andersen
Domestic Violence: Women can be as abusive as men by Dr Augusto Zimmerman
With the Lord: Wilma Drew
18th Annual Walk and Rally for Life
Former senator speaks up for the unborn by Joe Bullock
Qurans deadly role in inspiring Belgian slaughter by Nabeel Qureshi
Germany:Christian refugees persecuted by Muslims by Soeren Kern
Web Design and Development - abcplus Publishing Australia
by Andrew Lansdown
One for All
A Son to the war
Becoming a Christian
Train home
Sons Laid Down Their Lives
An Accurate Diagnosis
Starting again
Following hard after God
Starving our children
The first duty of fatherhood
The origin of fatherhood
An Easter Song
A Christmas carol
For This Purpose
In royal David's city
God's Placard
Believing the Bible: the issue of inerrancy
Marriage according to scripture
A biblical perspective on prostitution
Prostitution and social justice
Abortion: A biblical perspective
If people were dogs & other false arguments for euthanasia
How porn harms us
How Green is God?
Christians and Politics
When Christians Take Their Lives
The High Kings Watchmen

Snake stories


by Andrew Lansdown

Summer and snakes go together in Australia, as I well know.

When I was a boy my parents used to take my brothers and me camping during the Christmas holidays to a place called Meelup, south of Dunsborough. The toilets were rather primitive, being made of weatherboard and tin, and having open, chain-flushed cisterns. I recall one lady rushing out of a toilet in disarray because she had discovered a dugite, a highly venomous snake, drinking from the cistern above her. A man sauntered in with a stick and killed it.

On another occasion at Meelup I heard a blast from a shotgun and ran to investigate. One of the campers had shot the head off a dugite. He gave me the long slack body, but my mother refused to let me keep it.

When I was a pastor of a country church I often went for a walk with my wife in a small forest of white gums near our house. One summer day we were strolling along a familiar track, hardly noticing where we were stepping, when my wife suddenly jumped to one side, almost knocking me over. Coiled beside the path, like a piece of rope in a Western, was a large snake. It was sunning itself in a patch of flattened grass, and was quite unperturbed by our passing. We stood at a safe distance to observe it. It was light brown and shiny, as if it had recently sloughed its skin. Uncoiled it would have been perhaps one and a half metres long. It looked harmless enough, but it was in fact another deadly dugite. It raised its head to stare at us for a minute, then slithered away into the long grass.

When I worked as an education officer at Barton’s Mill Prison Farm I had a close encounter with another extremely venomous snake. One day in midsummer I went for a walk during my lunchbreak. I knew snakes were out in force (someone had killed one only the day before and had dumped it in the rubbish bin outside my classroom door), so I did not walk into the bush, as I often did in the cooler months, but kept to a gravel road. Then I came within sight of a dam and I quite forgot about the safety of bare ground. Standing in the full sun, I watched a dabchick paddle about on the water. When it dived, I decided to make a dash towards a patch of shade closer to the dam to get a better look at it when it resurfaced. And as I sprinted through the grass I almost trod on a tiger snake. It reared up in front of me, bringing me to a sudden halt. It actually flattened its head like a little cobra! Tiger snakes are fierce and easily provoked, and I was too surprised and off-balance to escape had it decided to strike. But miraculously it dropped, turned and slithered away.

I could go on, but I want to shift from my snake stories to God’s.

The Bible mentions snakes from time to time. Understandably, it often uses them to picture evil. Hence, having urged his readers to avoid strong drink, Solomon warns, “At the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like an adder” (Proverbs 23:32). Incensed at the hypocrisy of the religious leaders of his day, Jesus addressed them as “You serpents, you brood of vipers” (Matthew 23:33).

However, the biblical references to snakes are not always negative. Writing in the book of Proverbs, for example, Agur declared that one of the things that was too wonderful for him to understand was “the way of a serpent on a rock” (30:19). It seems that Agur was impressed by the effortless mastery of a snake’s movement over difficult terrain. The Lord Jesus infers something positive about snakes when he instructs his disciples to be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16).

In the gospel of John, Jesus actually likens himself to a snake! This striking and unlikely picture draws its significance from an incident in Israel’s history.

After their deliverance from slavery in Egypt, the people of Israel spent many years wandering in the wilderness. On one occasion, they became impatient and spoke spitefully against God and against Moses, whom God had appointed as their leader. To punish them for their ingratitude, “the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died” (Numbers 21:4-9). Repenting of their sin, the people pleaded with Moses to ask God to take away the serpents. In answer to Moses’ prayer, God instructed him to make a snake from bronze and to set it on a pole in a prominent place. Moses did this; “and if a serpent bit any man, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.”

Jesus compared himself to the bronze snake that Moses made. He said, “as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life” (John 3:14-15).

Jesus made it clear that he was going to be lifted up on a cross, just as the bronze serpent had been lifted up on a pole. And so he was. He died on the cross for our sins so that, by looking to him, we can be saved from spiritual death, just as the people in Moses’ time could be saved from physical death by looking at the bronze snake.

Every person in the world has been bitten by the snake called Sin. Sin’s venom is in our lives and is in the process of killing us. But Jesus is our antivenin, our antitoxin, our antidote. He can neutralise the poison and restore us to spiritual health. Hence, he invites and commands: “Look to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth!” (Isaiah 45:22).


Web Design and Development - abcplus Publishing Australia
Web Design and Development - abcplus Publishing Australia
2015 Vol 3 Jul - Sep
2015 Vol 2 Apr - Jun
2015 Vol 1 Jan - Mar
2014 Vol 5 Nov - Dec
2014 Vol 4 Sep - Oct
2014 Vol 3 Jun - Aug
2014 Vol 2 Apr - May
2014 Vol 1 Feb - Mar
2013 Vol 5 Dec - Jan
2013 Vol 4 Sep - Nov
2013 Vol 3 Jun - Aug
2013 Vol 2 Apr - May
2013 Vol 1 Jan - Mar
2012 Vol 5 Oct - Dec
2012 Vol 4 Aug - Sep
2012 Vol 3 May - Jul
2012 Vol 2 Mar - Apr
2012 Vol 1 Jan - Feb
2011 Vol 3 Jun - Aug
2011 Vol 2 Apr - May
2011 Vol 1 Jan - Mar
2010 Vol 5 Nov - Dec
2010 Vol 4 Sep - Oct
2010 Vol 3 Jun - Aug
2010 Vol 2 Sep - Oct
2010 Vol 2 Apr - May
2010 Vol 1 Jan - Mar
2009 Vol 4 Aug - Sep
2009 Vol 3 Jun - Jul
2009 Vol 2 Apr - May
2009 Vol 1 Feb - Mar
2008 Vol 5 Oct - Dec
2008 Vol 4 Aug - Sep
2008 Vol 3 Jun - July
2008 Vol 2 Apr - May
2008 Vol 1 Feb - Mar
2007 Vol 5 Nov - Jan
2007 Vol 4 Aug - Oct
2007 Vol 3 Jun - Jul
2007 Vol 2 Apr - May
2007 Vol 1 Feb - Mar
2006 Vol 5 Oct - Nov
2006 Vol 4 Aug - Sep
2006 Vol 3 Jun - Jul
2006 Vol 2 Apr - May
2006 Vol 1 Feb - Mar
2005 Vol 6 Dec - Jan
2005 Vol 5 Oct - Nov
2005 Vol 4 Aug - Sep
2005 Vol 3 Jun - Jul
2005 Vol 2 Apr - May
2005 Vol 1 Feb - Mar