Updated: Mar 17, 2022
Acts 28: 3-6 "3 As Paul gathered an armful of sticks and was laying them on the fire, a poisonous snake, driven out by the heat, bit him on the hand. 4 The people of the island saw it hanging from his hand and said to each other, “A murderer, no doubt! Though he escaped the sea, justice will not permit him to live.” 5 But Paul shook off the snake into the fire and was unharmed. 6 The people waited for him to swell up or suddenly drop dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw that he wasn’t harmed, they changed their minds and decided he was a god.”
Leading to this point Paul has:
Been arrested for sharing the good news
Endured several nights of raging storms
Survived a ship crash
Here we are, Paul is confronted with conflict again. They have just reached the shore and are being greeted with kindness. The islanders of Malta prepared a fire for the survivors. The fire could be a source of heat and a way to cook a meal. Instead, it was used to draw out the enemy. As Paul was adding sticks to the fire a poisonous snake bit him on the hand. The snake was described as “hanging from his hand” meaning that its teeth were locked in tight. The islanders were sure that Paul had to be a murderer at the site of this snake hanging from his flesh. The islanders expected Paul to have a swelling reaction and fall dead. Instead, he shook the snake off into the fire.
Sometimes we endure seasons that feel like a revolving door of unforeseen, spirit-breaking, burden overloading circumstances. Imagine Paul was arrested for sharing the good news, something that he knew in his heart was right. Then he was shipped away where he endured many storm-filled nights. Those nights were followed by their ship crashing. It hurt but everyone survived. Just when a break seemed near, he was bitten by a poisonous snack. I mean he could not catch a break. We’ve been here in the moment just longing for just one moment of silence. I imagine that at this moment Paul was fed up. Enough was enough. Paul shook the enemy right up off him. This snake had a reputation in Malta. This snake was known for its venom snatching the life of everyone it bit. The islanders accepted the snake’s role in their lives. Essentially, they were a victim of this snake. They feared that he would win in murder again. Paul fueled with faith had other plans.
“He did not bring me this far to let a snake take me out”
Paul knew that if he could survive a storm on the sea and a crash that surely, he could defeat a snake. He was covered! All of that and Paul walked away without any sign of the enemy's presence.
You can do this! With each blow, you get stronger. With each blow, you are getting closer. You’ve endured far more than the enemy can offer you in this season. Consider all he’s brought you through and consider the storm that you are facing. You can handle this. He gave you everything you needed. We are shaking him right up off of us. It's time to shake the table! The fire is ready. Shake him off of your mental health. Your thoughts are your own. You are in control. Shake him off of the body. Your body will function in the proper manner! Shake him off your kids. Give them back to God!! They will return to the kingdom. He has no place here. Shake him off. Get fed up!!!
People will wonder why you don't look like the hell you’ve been through. They will wonder how you’ve endured so much without looking like it. It's because you were covered. It hurt but he had you covered!