So, I was surfing the web the other day and saw one of those interesting “Google” facts said if you come across a snake you should not pick it up by the tail. Here’s what an expert wildlife removal professional said: “You should avoid picking a snake up by the tail only. Most snakes lack the muscles to be able to curl up and bite your hand; however, they can thrash and squirm enough to easily catch you on another area of the body.
Holding a snake by its tail elicits a panic response from the serpent and will make it more likely to strike. If you need to pick up a snake, you can use the tail to control the snake, but equal support should be at the front of the body through the use of a snake hook or your hand. You should generally avoid picking a snake up at all.” (www.wildlife-removal.com)
Throw It On The Ground
Then the very same day, I am reading in Exodus 4 about how God discusses with Moses to accept his assignment to lead the children of Israel out of bondage. Moses is reluctant, to say the least. And so, God helps him see He is on Moses’ side by giving him an object lesson: “What is that in your hand?” “A staff,” he (Moses) replied. The LORD said, “Throw it on the ground.” Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it.”
It must have been one SCARY SNAKE! Surely Moses, working in Midian desert, had seen plenty of serpents. But this one must have been either incredibly big or incredibly fierce looking.
Take It By The Tail
“Then the LORD said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.”
Moses may have at least thought… “Whoa… all due respect Lord, but no, no, you don’t pick up a snake at all out here and never just by the tail.”
But to his credit, Moses went ahead and it reads…
“So, Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand.” Exodus 4:2-4 NIV
As Moses touched the squirmy scales, it hardened.
God With Moses
Moses now has in his hands the snake turned staff, the same staff to show Pharaoh God meant business, the same staff he would lift up to divide the water at the Red Sea and the same staff he would use to guide two million people through the desert. The staff had moments before been a startling serpent but now Moses knew God was with him.
God asked Moses to take something scary, to pick up a huge challenge and when Moses obeyed, God turned it into something powerful.
What Scares You?
And I couldn’t help thinking… what might be scaring you? What has God told you to pick it up? Maybe it is interviewing for a new job, or maybe it is undergoing the next treatment, or maybe it is a tough conversation you need to have with the one you don’t want to lose.
Whatever your snake might be… if God tells you to pick it up, even if it’s by the tail, do it and remember, he can take the scary serpent stuff and turn it into a staff of power if we’ll trust Him and pick it up.