January 14: “Be Shrewd as Snakes and Harmless as Doves”

Today’s Bible Reading:

Genesis 30:1-31:16
Matthew 10:1-23
Psalm 12:1-8
Proverbs 3:13-15

Today’s Bible Verse(s):

Matthew 10:16 (NLT): “Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.” 

Reflections on Today’s Bible Verse(s):

A week ago today (I’m writing this on Wednesday), the U.S. Capitol Building was overrun by Americans. Our Vice President and the United States legislators were meeting to formally count the Electoral College votes. Thugs forced their way into the Capitol Building to bring that Constitutionally-directed proceeding to a halt.

As I looked at the pictures and watched the videos that captured the events of that day, I was shocked. What I was watching seemed to be only possible in a third-world country, not the United States of America. I hope they find every one of those rioters and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.

But one particularly heartwrenching scene was when the name “Jesus” was flashed onto the screen amid those riots. I saw someone toting a “Jesus” flag in the Capitol Building. I saw someone with a “Jesus Saves” poster. A massive banner hung from a Capitol Building railing that simply said, “JESUS 2020.”

Honestly, I’m angry. Those people drug Jesus’ name through the mud! By publicly carrying His name, they associated Him with the insurrection that took place. Unbelievers in America and around the world clearly saw that Jesus was being associated with unthinkable lawlessness.

To see if Jesus would have actually participated in such lawlessness, we simply need to read the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John). In those four biblical books, we observe that He never, not one single time, called on His followers to rise up against Caesar’s pagan rule. Not one single time did He try to overtake the government and set up His own kingdom.

In fact, the kingdoms of this world seemed irrelevant to His purposes. Jesus told Pilate that His kingdom wasn’t of this world. So his followers wouldn’t rise up against the government because of the injustice being done to Jesus (John 18:36). Further, Jesus told Pilate that he was under God’s control and couldn’t do a single thing without God’s permission (John 19:10-11). Clearly, Jesus saw government and governmental leaders as a pawn on God’s chessboard.

As we look in the book of Acts, we don’t see the growing, thriving church rising up against the pagan government. The church didn’t try to overthrow a government that was persecuting them. Instead, they submitted to the authorities as long as they could do so without violating any of God’s commands (Acts 5:29). But, other than that, the government was irrelevant to them.

So, Jesus’ words in the verse that I have chosen today is thoroughly consistent with everything else we read in Scripture. Jesus-followers should be smart and savvy. We need to be wise so that we can make good choices that won’t cause unnecessary problems. But we need to be as gentle as doves. We aren’t insurrectionists or rioters. We should be known for being peaceful.

Matthew 10:16 (NLT): “Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.” 

Let’s pray that people who tote Jesus’ name around actually read the Book He left for us to read. The fact that they drag His name through the mud while breaking our nation’s reasonable laws reveals that they know nothing of our Lord.

Capitol Building (picture taken in July 2016)

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I have an incredible wife that God gave to me on May 10, 1997. Since then, the Lord has blessed us with three wonderful boys. I am also the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Polk City, Florida.

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