The point I want to make has to do with the word ‘subtle’. The Bible says that “the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.”
The first thing that is clear here is that the serpent was not that Force that had been fighting against God since the beginning of the ages. Many people wrongly think the serpent was the Devil himself. But no. The serpent was simply one of the “creatures of the field” that God had made. (One day, not too long into the future, we will be cavorting with cobras and adders in heaven!)
Someone or Something else, was that Force.
The second thing the Bible says is that the serpent was “more subtil” than all the other creatures that God had made. In other words, he was brainier than all the other animals. The serpent, it appears, could think.
And – bingo! – we see that Whoever was waging war with God found in the serpent’s high-end IQ his most effective tool in his war against God. In the grey cells of God’s wiliest creature, Satan found the perfect means he could possibly find in all the cosmos to fight God with.
The human brain.
Now, I might have used a rather roundabout way, but I hope my readers will get the point. In this war that has been going on for ages and generations, Satan, God’s great opposer, has always used, and he still uses the same instrument he used then – our brains.
To bring this whole thing to our realm of understanding, it translates into that nearly everyone who opposes the gospel of Jesus Christ is someone who has used his or her mind in one way or another. That is the bottom line.
The Apostle Paul says: “If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness” (1 Cor. 3:18-19). The word ‘seemeth’ here means ‘thinks’. In other words, if you are the sort of guy (or lady) who relies on the smartness of their minds to get around, Paul advises you to cry to God that He would make you brainless – literally – in order that God’s wisdom may be invested in you.
Have you ever noticed the kind of people you find in truly spiritual churches (especially in Africa)? Most are uneducated folk. They are the people from the villages. They are the sort of people who can’t think straight, can’t talk straight, can’t walk straight – the type who cannot seem to do anything to any degree of ‘perfection’. They have no good table manners. They do not know how to dress up. Some are dirty (oh, yes!). One time I was invited by a sister for a meal and I almost refused to eat, everything seemed so dirty! Cockroaches and flies were flying all about and I saw a rat nibbling at one of her pots. I ate her food ‘at gunpoint’, literally.
I will leave it to the health specialists within the body of Christ to come and hold a one-week conference or something at this sister’s house. Suffice it to say that today, that sister is one of my most prized companions on the narrow road of the cross. God loved her then even when she was dirty! (Doesn’t this make you crazy about God – one way or another?)
Did we ever read that Jesus once went to have a meal at a leper’s house, one Simon? Food for thought there.
I am glad I am so stupid. I even look stupid, praise the Lord! (When my mind is working, I hate looking at my stupid-looking face in the mirror. Probably, in order to allow God’s wisdom to work more in me, I should begin looking at myself more in the mirror: “Mirror, mirror, who is the most foolish, stupid-looking, brainless, planless guy on the block?”
“Thou art, thou most wretched of wretches.”
Human wisdom is folly in God’s sight. I pity all the brainy guys in this world. They will never arrive at a knowledge of God’s wisdom. That is a sweeping statement all right, but hopefully it will wake some folks up. I will leave it to whoever wants to start a world war with regard to that assertion to do so.
Brother Miki Hardy once said that if it were possible, it would be far much better to have our heads cut off and leave them at the door as we entered church! This is because the disobedient human nature in us wants to take God’s word and make it suit its pride.
Prayer: “Lord, make me a fool, for Christ’s sake. Take away my human reasoning, my cleverness, my smartness, and instead give me the humble mind of Christ.”