WISE AS SERPENTS, AND HARMLESS AS DOVES – Matthew 10


Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

Matthew 10:16 ASV

The serpent was considered a symbol of wisdom among the ancients, especially the python.

The maid at Philippi who followed Paul and Silas was said to have had a “spirit of divination” (Acts 16:16), but the Greek word denotes that she had a PYTHON!

Genesis declares that “The serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field” (Genesis 3:1).

The dove as a symbol of harmlessness and innocence derived significance from Noah’s use of it as a messenger in the ark.

Matthew 3:16 refers to the sign by which John was inspired to recognize the Messiah (John 1:32-34).

Thus, it is clear the Holy Spirit adopted the shape of a dove on that occasion, otherwise John could not have seen and borne witness.

As in all Scriptural symbolism, the dove was a creature most admirably suited to serve in that situation as a vehicle for suggesting the Holy Spirit.

(1) The dove was a “clean” creature under the ceremonial laws of the Jews

(2) it was used in their religious sacrifices, two, in fact, being offered upon the presentation of our Lord in the temple (Luke 2:24)

(3) it is a monogamous creature!

(4) it is a symbol of peace

(5) it is a marvel of gentleness, love, and affection

(6) it is a messenger (the homing pigeon is a dove)

(7) the dove has no gall, suggesting that there is no bitterness in the service of God

It has been suggested that one reason for the gentleness of the dove is that the bird has no gall, the gall having been considered by naturalists of old as the source and fount of contention.

The brutal and vicious dangers to which the apostles would be exposed were not concealed by the Lord.

Their mission was dangerous and fraught with countless perils. The figure “sheep in the midst of wolves” is peculiarly apt and expressive.

One wolf in a flock of sheep is a source of incredible slaughter and destruction.

Ask any herdsman upon the far slopes of the Rockies how sickening is such a sight! Far worse, even than that, would be a few sheep in the “midst of wolves”!

True wisdom comes from God

Open your Bible and read Job 28.

The caverns of the earth may be discovered, but not the counsels of heaven.

Wisdom cannot be discovered by searching the Earth; it cannot be purchased with gold or precious stones; and man cannot even ascertain the place where it might be found.

It is no ordinary kind of wisdom that is spoken of in God’s Word.

It is not the practical kind of `wisdom’ spoken of in the Book of Proverbs, but the full and complete understanding of the world and its order…

There is a great gulf between human and divine wisdom.

Men can discover anything that is hidden, all but one thing, wisdom!

And the irony is that all of the precious fortunes he can discover cannot purchase the one thing he needs more than anything else.

Real Wisdom comes from God.

There is but One who possesses perfect knowledge and wisdom, that is, [ELOHIYM].

He is the omniscient, ubiquitous and omnipotent One. Infinite knowledge and understanding are His and His alone.

Any man who would travel in the direction of acquiring any portion of the true wisdom, of which only God is the possessor, must do so only as a moral and upright worshipper of the Creator.

Not only is the fear of the Lord the beginning of wisdom, it is the chief part of it as well.

No amount of intelligence, or cleverness, or information, or knowledge, or of worldly or scientific wisdom will be of any avail for any man unless he starts with this beginning, `The Fear of the Lord,’ (Psalms 91:10; Proverbs 1:7), building upon that as his foundation.

That foundation of true wisdom Job most certainly possessed, as the concluding chapter of this remarkable book fully reveals.he fear of the Lord is not merely the `beginning of wisdom,’ it also stands as the principal burden and assignment that God has laid upon all of his human children.

The fear of the Lord is not merely the `beginning of wisdom,’ it also stands as the principal burden and assignment that God has laid upon all of his human children.

“Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man”

(Ecclesiastes 12:13).

And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway from the water: and lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon him; and lo, a voice out of the heavens, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Matthew 3:16‭-‬17 ASV

It's Your Turn. Write Something. Say Something.