Summary: God has an arsenal of tools or weapons at His disposal to mold and shape believers, as well as to draw unbelievers to Himself. This arsenal might even include bigger and better rattlesnakes.

Bigger Better Rattlesnakes

TCF Sermon

August 9, 2009

If I asked for a show of hands this morning, and I won’t, but if I did, and I asked how many of you had a loved one, a son or daughter, a father or mother, a brother or sister, or some other family member, or even a close friend, who has either strayed from a relationship with the Lord, or doesn’t follow Christ at all, my guess is that nearly every hand would go up.

Based on my conversations with many of you, this is something that’s on the hearts and minds of most of us, and something that we think about often.

It’s a top concern for many of us. This morning, I’d like to extend some hope to all of us in this boat. I’d like to help us remember that our loved ones, are loved not just by us. They’re loved by the Maker of the Universe. And though it’s hard to imagine, God loves them more than we do. And while we may feel some sense of responsibility to facilitate them coming to Christ, either for the first time, or to return to Him, God in His love, is pursuing them.

Sometimes it’s important to remember that God has tools at His disposal to move in the hearts of people, that we don’t have.

There was a farmer who had three sons, Jim, John and Sam. No one in the family ever attended church or had time for God. The pastor and the others in the church tried for years to interest the family in the things of God to no avail. Then one day Sam was bitten by a rattlesnake. The doctor was called and he did all he could to help Sam, but the outlook for Sam’s recovery was very dim indeed. So the pastor was called and informed of the situation. The pastor arrived, and began to pray as follows:

"Oh, wise and righteous Father, we thank You that in Your wisdom you sent this rattlesnake to bite Sam. He has never been inside the church and it is doubtful that he has, in all his time, ever prayed or even acknowledged your existence. Now, we trust this experience will be a valuable lesson to him and will lead to his genuine repentance.

And now, Oh Father, will you send another rattlesnake to bite Jim, and another to bite John, and another really big one to bite the old man. For years, we have done everything we know to get them to turn to You, but all in vain. It seems, therefore, that what our combined efforts could not do, this rattlesnake has done. We thus conclude that the only thing that will really do this family any real good is rattlesnakes, so Lord, send us bigger and better rattlesnakes. Amen."

It’s clear that only God has bigger and better rattlesnakes. Now, this may seem like an odd prayer. But I have to admit, I have in the past found myself praying a similar prayer, though I never prayed for God to send rattlesnakes.

Those we pray for may be people we’ve prayed for many times over many years. Sometimes when we pray for those people, we might find ourselves praying something like this: "God, use everything at your disposal, use all your tools, all your weapons of love to bring these people to you, to draw them into your Kingdom."

Many of us have prayed prayers such as "do whatever it takes, God." As I’ve thought about this recently, the idea that God has bigger and better rattlesnakes captured my attention. God can do things that I can’t do. Yes, I can cooperate with Him through prayer. I have spiritual weapons at my disposal, too, but they’re His weapons. And I believe the warfare analogy is appropriate. 2 Corinthians 10 talks of the weapons of our spiritual warfare.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NIV) For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

It says pretty clearly that they’re not our weapons, they’re God’s. Verse 4 says these weapons are not the weapons of the world. They have divine, or Godly, power In the context of this passage of scripture, we’re just using these weapons. I also realize this passage is talking about our use of these weapons, and not God’s use of them, but again, they’re His weapons, and I think it’s safe to say that God can use His own weapons more effectively than we can use them. He has bigger, better rattlesnakes.

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