I have a sock puppet that I have had for decades from a camp we led years ago. It is called “The Gospel Puppet.” Each finger is a figure from the creation story…Adam, Eve, the tree, the apple, and the snake.
When our granddaughter Jude was 2 she found it in a closet with other books and toys. She brought it to me and asked about it. I put it on and told her the story of creation and the fall. Her parents had been reading her the Bible since she was born, so, she knew the story. She immediately wanted me to put it away because she was so afraid of the snake.
I put it away, but she would always go to where she knew I had hidden it. She wanted to talk about that snake and how he wasn’t going to come get her. She would ask me to show it to her, but she was still afraid of it. I could tell, as time passed by, she wasn’t actually afraid anymore of it being real, but she still would sort of fake cry and nuzzle her face into me. The snake bothered her. She was also intrigued with the snake and the trouble he caused us all. She began to take it very personal … the snake, personally, offended her!
We just kept Sam (3) and Jude (4) for a few weeks at the end of the summer in Kentucky. As usual, she found the sock puppet and brought it to me to tell the story from Genesis 3. After I told it, she grabbed the puppet off my hand and threw it as far as she could manage. She looked up at me, while still sitting on my lap, and said, “I wish that snake wasn’t in the story.” I laughed and agreed with her. Isn’t that what we all wish? If it wasn’t for that horrible snake … we wouldn’t live in a broken world, we wouldn’t be separated from God, we would be perfect and complete. What profound insight children have! They have the ability to cut right to the heart of the matter.
That snake, unfortunately, is in the story, and it changed our lives for all time. Genesis 3 records the account of the fall. “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” (Genesis 3:1)
Adam and Eve chose to disobey God, which brought death into the world. Praise God that isn’t the end of the story, because God sent his Son Jesus to be the second Adam. He lived a perfect life, died a terrible death on a cross, took on all the sin of man in our place so we wouldn’t have to die eternally, rose from the dead, and crushed that snake’s head in victory! One day, the ones who believe this gospel story and give their lives to Jesus will live forever, ruling and reigning with Jesus for all eternity.
Now that is a happy ending to a very true story. Thank you, God, for loving us so much that, in spite of our choice to disobey. You made a way for us to know you personally.
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever.” (I Peter 5:8-10)
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. (Ephesians 6:11)
“I wish that snake wasn’t in the story.” But since he is, the Bible tells us that, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10)