The Tiger Rattlesnake . . . Strikes First then Rattles
From God's Word, the Bible: "Now the serpent [Satan in disguise] was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, 'Did God really say, "You must not eat from any tree in the garden"?' The woman said to the serpent, 'We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, "You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die."' 'You will not certainly die,' the serpent [Satan] said to the woman. 'For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.'"1
Roberta, a Daily Encounter reader, wrote, "I enjoyed your devotional about rattlesnakes. I live in Arizona and used to be the maintenance director of an outdoor museum, so I have had plenty of experience with rattlers. There is one kind of rattlesnake, though, that doesn't rattle to warn you of the eminent danger. It's the Tiger Rattler. This is the most beautiful rattler created, with a soft pinkish tint and tiger stripes across its body. We had them at the museum and had to shut down one exhibit until they were eradicated because of the danger. They strike first, and then rattle, as though to laugh at the stupidity of their prey. Isn't that much the same as Satan?"
How very true this is.
Today's scripture is referring to the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, as they were in the Garden of Eden—a place of absolute beauty and perfection. Enter Satan, disguised in the form of a serpent. His goal was to deceive mankind into rejecting God's plan for them. God created mankind with a free will so they could choose, or choose not, to follow God's ways. They were given a simple test: they were free to eat the fruit of every tree in the Garden of Eden except for just one tree. If they ate this forbidden fruit, they would be choosing to defy God's ways and, in so doing, would eat the seeds of their own death—both physical and spiritual.
Satan sowed the seed of doubt in Eve's mind by saying, "Did God really say?" Then Satan lied saying that they wouldn't die but become like God knowing the difference between good and evil." This part-truth was the most deadly lie in human history. What the serpent, Satan, (like the Tiger Rattle snake) didn't tell them was that if they ate of the forbidden fruit, while they would know the difference between good and evil, they would be forever bound in a state of evil. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, evil entered the human race and all of mankind has suffered ever since.
Satan struck first and has been "rattling his evil tail in delight" ever since. That's the way he always operates. He deceives by either part-truths or straight out lies always tempting us to eat of life's forbidden fruits. Furthermore, people who disregard God's directives and promote what God forbids are Satan's agents. They, too, strike first and then rattle their proud deceptive tails ever afterward.
The battle between good and evil began eons ago in the Garden of Eden when Satan entered mankind's domain and it continues to rage today.
Never forget God's warnings and directives—they are given to protect us from evil, deception, and ultimate destruction. His Word says, "Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil [Satan]. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour."2 And again, "Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light."3
While Satan may appear to have won in the first book of the Bible, in the last book and in the end God triumphs. His Word says, "Then the devil, who had deceived them, was thrown into the fiery lake of burning sulfur, joining the beast and the false prophet. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever."4
Suggested Prayer: "Dear God, because you have given me a free will to choose, or choose not, to follow your ways, please help me always to see through the lies and deceptions of the "tiger rattlesnake" serpent, Satan, and the wisdom to always choose to follow your directives as found in your Holy Word, the Bible. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer—gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Genesis 3:1-5 (NIV).
2. 1 Peter 5:8 (NLT).
3. 2 Corinthians 11:14 (NLT).
4. Revelation 20:10 (NLT).