Tuesday, April 9, 2013

005. Wise Serpents (Part III)

What characteristics of the serpent should we adopt as followers of Christ? Serpents are indeed wise creatures. So wise and prudent in fact, that, according to the bible, Satan made use of a serpent to deceive our first parents: "The serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field" Genesis 3:1.

Solstice Snake petroglyph, Moab, UT. Like many snake petroglyphs, this one has 13 bends. 
On the day of the summer solstice, a shaft of sunlight makes this arrowhead of light appear on the head of the Solstice Snake petroglyph. 

Snakes have various means of perceiving their surroundings, using primarily smell and taste to track their prey. They can also use their keen eyesight as well as infra-red and vibratory sensitivity receptors to perceive their surroundings. We should also use various means to understand and monitor our surroundings and watch out for weaknesses that wolves might attack. The serpent can discern between threats and non-threats and we should too develop the capacity to discern between good and evil, light and dark, truth and error. We must pray for and seek these gifts. Doctrine & Covenants 46:
7 But ye are commanded in all things to ask of God, who giveth liberally; and that which the Spirit testifies unto you even so I would that ye should do in all holiness of heart, walking uprightly before me, considering the end of your salvation, doing all things with prayer and thanksgiving, that ye may not be seduced by evil spirits, or doctrines of devils, or the commandments of men; for some are of men, and others of devils.
 8 Wherefore, beware lest ye are deceived; and that ye may not be deceived seek ye earnestly the best gifts, always remembering for what they are given;
 9 For verily I say unto you, they are given for the benefit of those who love me and keep all my commandments, and him that seeketh so to do; that all may be benefited that seek or that ask of me, that ask and not for a sign that they may consume it upon their lusts.
The serpent's chief concern in a confrontation is to defend its head. A blow to the head could be deadly or paralyzing, even temporarily, and for the most part a snakes only defense are its fangs. Likewise, our chief concern should be to defend our heads from error, anger, and cruelty. If our minds are tainted with false doctrines, anger, jealousy, or impurity we will be lead into sin and fall prey to our enemies.

Serpents are also patient, waiting quietly a long time before striking their prey or hiding from their enemies. They carefully consider the risks involved in their moves and actions; self-preservation is paramount. Likewise, we must be cautious in our actions that could cause harm to ourselves or others. From Mosiah 4:27, the Lord urges us to
...see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.

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