I’ve been in ministry for forty years and I’ve never heard this particular verse preached on much.
Matthew 10:16 — “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”
I’m afraid of snakes.
There are only two types of snakes in Tennessee that can kill you, those are the live ones and the dead ones. The live ones will poison you and the dead ones will scare you to death.
Most snakes have the ability to be nearly invisible because they were designed to be camouflaged. I wonder how many copperheads or rattlesnakes we’ve stepped over because they were so well hidden and we didn’t see them. If we go into a new job, new community, meeting new people, we might have more effect if we didn’t go in preaching so loud or pointing our fingers so straight. Maybe we would have more effect if we just let our light shine instead of pointing it in people’s faces. Sometimes, a lost person might just want you to sit down and talk about working on a car or plowing a field. People are not going to want what you have until they see that you care.
Being as wise as a serpent.
The snake will not just strike, it will set you up. It will blend into the environment. Rather than announce their presence they will lay low and stay quiet. Proverbs 17:14. Snakes seldom seek out a fight. If they can, they are going to run. Don’t argue over the bible. You are a light. Don’t let mean people put you in the middle and twist and turn your witness.
Snakes will multiply and flourish more than any other animal in the world.
Exodus 1:12-13. The flame couldn’t burn us. Pharaoh couldn’t drown us. We will always overcome any storm and we will walk out of every trial. The more the devil hits us, the more we worship, and the more we worship the stronger we get. Snakes continue to exist in a world that fears and hates them. You kill one, and another will take its place. The enemy will not stop us. We may cry for a little while, but there is something inside of us that the enemy won’t keep down. 2 Corinthians 4:8-9.
Lay low and move slow.
When God calls us to move into new territory or seize a new opportunity, it’s wise for us to move slow and carefully into that new phase in our life. The common mistake is to act quickly before all the facts are gathered. This often leads to wrong decision-making.
Isaiah 40:31. The wisdom of a serpent lies in its timing. They can strike at any time, but their best position is when they are coiled. The timing must be right to win a soul, for a family to be changed, for a life to be healed.
Now, talking about being harmless as a dove.
Matthew 3:16. The dove is gentle, it’s easy to see, hold, and easy to sacrifice. It is a clean bird and represents the Holy Ghost. Doves were the original carrier pigeon. They would get messages through enemy countries. That’s the Holy Ghost. When the enemy is all around you, He can fly above it all and drop peace down in your soul.
The dove signifies peace, love, and togetherness.
People look for those characteristics in your life. When Noah let the dove out of the Ark and it didn’t return, I am persuaded that for the next 2,000 years, representing the Holy Ghost, that dove flew through time, looking for a shoulder to land on. It moves from Abraham to Isaac to Jacob. Then it flies right in the middle of prison and lands on Joseph. Then the dove moves on and rests on Moses who later brings the children out of Israel out of Egypt. Then Joshua. He moves to Saul and then the dove moves from the shoulder of a king to a shepherd boy named David. It goes to his son Solomon. He goes to Elijah and then to Elisha. It flies, sweeping through time until finally, it rests on the shoulder of the Lamb of God.
Then He circles above the upper room on the Day of Pentecost and this time He didn’t light on their shoulder. This time He went into their heart promising to never leave them nor forsake them.
He promises to be with us even to the end of the world.
I want to encourage you to listen to the whole message down below. I pray you are blessed!
— Pastor Anthony Wynn