You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot. – Psalm 91:13
I was around three years old. My family was close enough to our pastor who was a fellow National Guardsman of my dad’s, that I referred to him as “Uncle Brother Cook.” Like a good pastor, he would not only visit in the halls after Sunday school, but he would even take an interest in the little ones. He, like everyone else in my life at the time, was big. So I remember one Sunday, after having acquired some new boots – which is about the most exciting thing a three year old boy could think of I am sure – that I had something burning within me that I needed to share with the pastor to tell everyone: I had new boots. However, I was shy enough that I did not tell him myself, but I remember telling my favorite big people – otherwise known as my parents – that I would like to announce to the entire church that I had brand new snake skin boots. They quieted me. The time came in the service for announcements. I do not know what we had just finished singing, maybe something like “just as I ham” or perhaps one of my favorites “I surrender all” (as I pictured my Grandaddy’s blue overalls – hey, I was three, made sense) I remember that urge I had to stand up in my seat and yell, “I have new snake skin boots!” – but I didn’t.
Well, yesterday, I had the opportunity to preach (this is what happens to those children) from the passage in Mark’s Gospel that speaks of Jesus going into the wilderness for forty days where he faced Satan. Among the appropriate texts to support this passage include Genesis 3:15 that speaks of the One Who is coming who will crush the head of the Serpent, and Psalm 91:3, “You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.” And as I have been reflecting it came to mind that I was actually moved to speak the Gospel – in some way – even at that tender age. What more appropriate symbol might there be than the reality of what took place at the Place of the Skull when the Seed of the Woman crushed the Serpent’s head? If the Resurrected Jesus wore shoes, what would be more appropriate than snake skin boots? Perhaps this should be required dress for preachers of the gospel. Either way, when I think of the victory of our Savior, I now walk away with this very same conviction I have now held for a quarter of a century:
I have an announcement to make: I have snake skinned boots!