I never re-inevent the wheel, and use the Bible as my source of sound advice. Thus, my logic is one that I would liken to Matthew 10:16 which states: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.”
This verse is single handedly wisdom, but it has always bothered me, because of the the negative connotation I associate when I hear the word “snake”. However, after research and some personal reflection, I was able to come to peace with what bothers me so much from this verse.
First off, the words”shrewd” and “innocent” form an interesting combination when put into practical application that I would dub best communicated with “loving humor”. Shrewd means having sharp power of judgment, being astute, intelligent, perspicacious, perceptive, canny, and archaic. Innocent means not guilty of a crime or offense yet suffering its consequences.
Today, I read 2 Corinthians 11:3: “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” Mind you, while a serpent is a snake, the primary difference from a literature point of view is the poisonous venom of a serpent.
Naturally, my contention goes back to Garden of Eden when it occurred to me most likely, the Snake and Eve had been friends, until the snake decided to become the serpent. While the Bible does not say this directly, one could apply common sense practicability to assume Eve trusted the Snake’s counsel more so than she did Adam or God’s command based on eating the forbidden fruit. It would make sense, after all.
However, the Bible is clear that Eve was deceived by the serpent, of which today God instructs us to be as shrewd as snakes, giving credit to snake’s intelligence.
However, being aware and utilizing these methods, we are not to poison someone with such logic, but use it in counter-balance.
But when is it time to escape?
Thou mayest do in this as it is in thy heart. If it is in thy heart to fly, fly; if it be in thy heart to stand, stand. Anything but a denial of the truth. He that flies, has warrant to do so; he that stands, has warrant to do so. Yea, the same man may both fly and stand, as the call and working of God with his heart may be. Moses fled, Ex. 2:15; Moses stood, Heb. 11:27. David fled, 1 Sam. 19:12; David stood, 1 Sam. 24:8. Jeremiah fled, Jer. 37:11-12; Jeremiah stood, Jer. 38:17. Christ withdrew himself, Luke 19:10; Christ stood, John 18:1-8. Paul fled, 2 Cor. 11:33; Paul stood, Act 20:22-23. . . .
There are few rules in this case. The man himself is best able to judge concerning his present strength, and what weight this or that argument has upon his heart to stand or fly. . . . Do not fly out of a slavish fear, but rather because flying is an ordinance of God, opening a door for the escape of some, which door is opened by God’s providence, and the escape countenanced by God’s Word, Matt. 10:23. . . .
If, therefore, when thou hast fled, thou art taken, be not offended at God or man: not at God, for thou art his servant, thy life and thy all are his; not at man, for he is but God’s rod, and is ordained, in this, to do thee good. Hast thou escaped? Laugh. Art thou taken? Laugh. I mean, be pleased which [how]soever things shall go, for that the scales are still in God’s hand. (p. 726)
Let us be slow to judge the missionary who chooses death rather than escape. And let us be slow to judge the missionary who chooses life. Rather, let us give ourselves daily to the disciplines of word-saturation and obedience which transform us by the renewing of our minds that we may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect in the moment of absolute urgency (Romans 12:2).
I strive to act in accordance with my God’s logic at all times, and in many cases, that does urge us to incorporate the shrewdness of a snake, giving much credit to their methodologies.
I think what always bothered me about this passage is the fact that there is certainly more to the relationship between Eve and the snake then the Bible goes into. In many ways, they perhaps were able to understand the minds of one another, which would help shed some light on just how the biggest fall this world has ever known transpired from a an emotional perspective (if one is a Christian and adopts its theology).
God makes it clear that Eve’s offspring and the snake’s offspring would be at odd’s with one another for all of time, making it the first and perhaps biggest rivalry known to the world. This discord was not between men, but between a women and a snake who chose to become a serpent.