Treading on the lion and serpent

What a delightful thing it is to have a familiar Bible verse suddenly explode with new meaning when viewed in spiritual light.

This happened to me recently while reading this passage from the much-loved ninety-first Psalm: "Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder." Ps. 91:13; In the past, I suppose, I had more or less considered this line a comforting promise for anyone facing an angry lion or poisonous snake. But I dismissed it as having little relevance for me, since where I live a personal encounter with a lion or adder is hardly an everyday happening! This time, however, I read the verse not as a promise but as a command. It seemed to me that the Psalmist was enjoining us to trample the lion and serpent with the same authoritative "Thou shalt" that Moses used in the Ten Commandments.

Clearly, this injunction calls for spiritual interpretation. Here the lion and adder that we are divinely empowered to tread on are symbols for evil. Specifically, they could symbolize two ways in which evil suggestions try to enter our thinking.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

November 24, 1980

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.