Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Rattlesnake

I had never seen a rattlesnake before, except in a picture book or in a cage at a science museum. Through the years at the cottage, I had spied several water snakes, some garter snakes, and one thin black snake quickly slithering under the cover of fallen oak leaves. On this particular day I found myself a few inches from a rattlesnake. It happened in this way.

While scampering down the rocky hillside to the boat, I yelled to my husband, “I am going to get my work gloves.” After finding them, I nonchalantly climbed back up the same path, which I had travelled down moments before. Halfway up, the sound of a rattle interrupted my thoughts. I looked down to see a snake sunning itself on a rock beside the path. After carefully backing away, I chose a different route up to the cottage.

How thankful I was that the snake warned me of its presence. That rattlesnake did not want to harm me. As long as I heeded the warning, I was safe.

This encounter reminded me how often God warns people of impending judgment if they refuse to obey his commands. The Lord told Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit of the tree in the middle of the Garden of Eden. If they disobeyed, they would die. In the Old Testament the Lord gave Israel the Ten Commandments. Then he sent prophets to warn them of impending judgment because they had not obeyed his law. In the New Testament God continues to warn people to stop sinning or face the consequences. How merciful and patient God is. He gives everyone time to repent of sin, but not forever. Remember the flood in Noah’s day.