Trampling on Scorpions

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you. But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.”

Luke 10:19

When my family and I first moved to Texas, we had lunch on a ranch with some family friends. For some reason, we started talking about the “critters” in Texas. Before long, we were being regaled with stories about rattlesnakes and copperheads and all measure of dangerous beasts. Naively, I asked, “What about scorpions?” “Scorpions!” someone laughed. “We don’t even think about them. They’re a dime a dozen out here. Everybody I know has been stung by scorpions.”

I must confess that this didn’t reassure me, because I’ve always had a particular fear of scorpions. I think it’s because they look so scary. Not to mention their sting. So when we moved to our home in the Hill Country, I kept my eyes peeled for scorpions. Sure enough, two showed up in our house one day. I quickly dispatched them while my wife called the pest control people. Now, I keep my eyes peeled for those little nuisances, especially when I’m out in my workshop, where I’ve trampled on at least a dozen. No stings yet, but I figure some day a clever scorpion will get revenge on behalf of his clan.

When Jesus told his disciples that they could “walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them,” he wasn’t talking about literal critters. Rather, these pests represented the “power of the enemy” and, in particular, “evil spirits” (10:19-20). You see, the seventy-two disciples whom Jesus had sent out to do the work of the kingdom returned to him, excited that they had power over demons (10:17). Jesus reaffirmed that he had given them authority over “snakes and scorpions.” Then he added, “But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven” (10:20).

When we’re doing the work of God’s kingdom, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of our victories. There’s just about nothing more wonderful in life than being used by God to heal someone or bring that person into a saving relationship with Christ. It’s natural to be glad when God works through us. But we must remember that being used by God in this way is a result of something more profound and eternally significant. God works through those whose “names are registered in heaven” (10:20). Evidence of God’s power in our lives confirms the fact that we are citizens of his kingdom, that we belong to him for eternity. And this, Jesus said, is a matter for profuse rejoicing.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: Can you think of times in your life when God used you in a wonderful way? Did your rejoicing in that situation remind you that you belong to God? As you experience God’s good gifts in your life, does this draw you closer to the Lord? Why or why not?

PRAYER: Gracious God, I thank and praise you for the high privilege of being used in the work of your kingdom. Indeed, it is a great joy to know that you are at work in and through me.

As I am glad about the ways you are using me, may I remember what matters most: that I belong to you, that everything I do is a fruit of my abiding in you, that I am a citizen of your kingdom. May my rejoicing draw me near to you, refreshing me with gratitude to you and love for you.

All praise be to you, O God, because you are at work through your people...even me! Amen.