Anglican Morning Devotion for 19 July 2021 Anno domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. 4Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear; 5Which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely. 6Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth: break out the great teeth of the young lions, O LORD. 7Let them melt away as waters which run continually: when he bendeth his bow to shoot his arrows, let them be as cut in pieces. 8As a snail which melteth, let every one of them pass away: like the untimely birth of a woman, that they may not see the sun. 9Before your pots can feel the thorns, he shall take them away as with a whirlwind, both living, and in his wrath.”
(Psalms 58:3-9; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
The Lord makes ample use of the particular creatures of His making. For example, the spider is a most industrious creature that labors to build its intricate web in places deemed by him to bring the best possibility to ensnare its prey. Its persevering spirit is not unlike that which must characterize the eager labors of the believing Christian. Though the net may break, though the prey may escape – still, the spider patiently undertakes to rebuild its web with uncanny ingenuity. And the spider does not stop until the job is finished. He enjoys certain privileges that many of his superior fellows may not enjoy. “The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings’ palaces.” (Proverbs 30:28) The Lord has put wisdom in his inward parts to survive where others may fail for lack of effort.
The ant, too, is industrious and wise. It is not short on effort and perseverance, either. “The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer;” (Proverbs 30:25) Wisdom, like that of David against Goliath, is a gift of God and is able to compensate for any difference in size. In fact, it is one of the four SMALL creatures into which that God has imbued wisdom – the ANT, the CRONIES, the LOCUSTS, and the SPIDER – small but exceedingly wise.
The is another creature that is the antithesis of these small, wise creatures mentioned – the SNAIL! He cannot abide the Light of the Sun. He does not labor for his food, but crawls from under his rock and devours the vegetables of the garden that have grown from the labor of others. At the first glimpse of coming dawn, he slithers back to the cover of his rock leaving tracks along the way. There are two things a snail cannot abide – SALT and LIGHT. The snail is akin to the sinner in character. They cannot abide the bright light of day, neither the SALT of God’s Word. “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 14Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16)
The snail will shrivel up and waste away when exposed to the sun or to grains of salt. So does the sinner slink to the cover of darkness when encountering the Light of God’s Word. The sinful love the hours of darkness where their deeds, they believe, are hidden from public view. Most of our modern politicians fit this description completely as well.
The ANT, the CONY, the SPIDER, and the LOCUST strive diligently for their daily bread, but not the snail. Where do you fit in that equation, friend? Are you more like the OYSTER that lies at the bottom of the mud and lime with opened mouth to devour whatever falls within; or, like the EAGLE that eats only what it captures as its prey? Well did our Founding Fathers name the Eagle as the National Emblem of the United States and not the socialist oyster.