by: Cris Corzine-McCloskey
A scripture in Ecclesiastes says “whosoever breaks a hedge, a serpent shall bite him” (10:8). If that sounds like mumbo jumbo, stick with me. I promise this is going somewhere.
In Biblical times hedges were not decorative shrubbery. They were walls built around dwellings to keep out predators. This verse is saying that a gap in a protective hedge could allow a snake to slither in and bite someone. What does that have to do with you? Everything.
As a therapist, I see people with every problem imaginable. Some issues are mental health (anxiety, depression, etc.) and some are suffering from destructive life choices. Regardless the issue, they share a common trait. Somewhere along the line, their hedge broke, and they got snakebit.
For example, hope is a hedge. As long as we surround ourselves with hope, we remain resilient to life’s punches. If we begin to lose hope, our hedge breaks. Every time the phone rings there is anxiety. It might be bad news. Every victory is tinged with dread because the other shoe might fall. The optimist becomes a ‘realist’ (which is pessimism in disguise) and soon, depression kicks in. That’s what I call snakebite.
I see marital faithfulness as a hedge. If a couple starts struggling in their marriage, the hedge suffers stress fractures. Add in a husband watching porn, and he has broken the hedge and invited in the serpent. A lonely wife starts texting a sympathetic male friend; broken hedge and an engraved invitation for snakebite.
As most of us know, the Bible uses ‘serpent’ as a metaphor for the devil. We also know that he is the enemy that comes to destroy our lives. But quite often we are the ones that open that door. Ecclesiastes 10:8, in it’s entirety, says “He that digs a pit shall fall into it, and whosoever breaks a hedge, a serpent shall bite him.” That was written by the wisest man who ever lived, King Solomon. Ironically, the wisest man who ever lived dug himself a big pit, broke his hedge, and suffered a severe case of snakebite.
His pit was lust, his hedge broke from hooking up with idol worshipping women, and he got sucked into idolatry. Snakebite! Solomon’s idolatry ultimately resulted in God allowing the Kingdom of Israel to divide. The Promised Land split in two. That sounds like marriage and divorce to me!
If you have a break in your hedge, or are already suffering from snakebite, call Caring Counseling Ministries, or any reputable Christian counselor. We have the antidote for that bite. If you are in a pit, quit digging! Ask God to show you where your hedge is weak and batten down the hatches. Snakebite can be terminal.