“Picking Up Snakes” ( Jeremiah 10: 2, NEB ) by Carley Evans

“Do not be awed by signs in the heavens; it is the nations who go in awe of these. For the carved images of the nations are a sham, they are nothing but timber cut from the forest, worked with his chisel by a craftsman; he adorns it with silver and gold, fastening them on with hammer and nails so that they do not fall apart. They can no more speak than a scarecrow in a plot of cucumbers; they must be carried, for they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of them: they can do no harm, and they have no power to do good.” (Jeremiah 10:2-5)


People are always looking up, searching the skies for some sign. People are always wanting some spectacular event to validate their faith in whatever they have chosen to believe. People want to see healings; they want to see miracles; they want to get knocked down by preachers claiming to have some special degree of the Holy Spirit’s powers. People want to pick up snakes and not be poisoned by their bites.


I, for one, don’t worship “a scarecrow in a plot of cucumbers” or a carved piece of “timber cut from the forest.” I am not “awed by signs in the heavens” or by “silver and gold.” I don’t follow any object that “must be carried, for [it] cannot walk.” And I am not afraid of that which “can do no harm.” And I do not stand amazed at that which “[has] no power to do good.”


The Lord our God is One. “Where can one be found like thee, O Lord? Great Thou art and great is the might of Thy Name. Who shall not fear Thee, King of the nations? for fear is Thy fitting tribute. Where among the wisest of the nations and all their royalty can one be found like Thee? They are fools and blockheads one and all, learning their nonsense from a log of wood.” (Jeremiah 10:6-8)


“But the Lord is God in truth.” (Jeremiah 10:10)