Title:- Coiled Cobras
2 Samuel 13:30-32 And it came to pass, while they were on the way, that news came to David, saying, “Absalom has killed all the king's sons, and not one of them is left!” So the king arose and tore his garments and lay on the ground, and all his servants stood by with their clothes torn. Then Jonadab the son of Shimeah, David's brother, answered and said, “Let not my lord suppose they have killed all the young men, the king's sons, for only Amnon is dead. For by the command of Absalom this has been determined from the day that he forced his sister Tamar."
Bohun Upas, the ‘Tree of Poisons’ is a mythical plant from the middle ages.’ The first travellers returning from South East Asia told tales of a tree that gave out such toxic fumes that it would kill plants and animals for miles around. Like old fishing stories, the power of the tree seemed to grow more with the telling. One such story was that ‘prisoners sentenced to death would be forced to sit the night under the tree of poisons and so were gruesomely dispatched’; or that ‘out of twenty warriors sent to harvest the sap of the tree of poisons, well, only two or maybe three would return alive!’
The Upas tree does in fact exist and yes, its latex sap is extremely deadly and has over the years, been used to make the tips of arrows and spears and blowpipe darts, both the definite and certain instruments of death. William Blake’s poem, ‘A Poison Tree’ is based on the existence of the Upas. His opening Stanza is most instructive: -
I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.
And I water'd it in fears,
Night & morning with my tears;
And I sunned it with smiles,
And with soft deceitful wiles.
And it grew both day and night,
Till it bore an apple bright;
And my foe beheld it shine,
And he knew that it was mine,
And into my garden stole
When the night had veil'd the pole:
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretch'd beneath the tree.
King David’s son Amnon, had raped and disgraced his half sister, Absalom’s full sister that was, Tamar. Amnon had so called 'loved' her in unrequited lust and then once he had his way, hated her with a passion. Tamar was brutally and culturally shamed. Absalom, said nothing that terrible day but he planted a tree of hateful revenge in his own heart and meticulously watered it. The growth and grotesque beauty of his poison tree was enough to have Amnon take a bite of it's fruit and in the morning be found underneath it. Dead.
Look! Poison trees grow stronger once their fruit is picked. The death of Amnon did not kill it when Absolom’s revenge was poured upon him but rather, its blood-leeched roots now reached deeper still within the heart of Absolom the bitter avenger. In just over 40 years time, Absalom’s now deeper rooted poison tree will fully blossom and cause so great a stench on the plains of Israel that it will split the kingdom and break his father' heart. Yes, Israel will never be the same again after Absalom’s pure latex poison shall pierce the flesh of David. Mark this well friends and be afraid. Poison trees are host to all the chickens that will eventually come home to roost.
Tell me, do you feel its serpentine root formation around those festering areas of your own offended heart? Today, all those dreams, all those projects, all those people you are touching, are they living or dying beneath your leafy boughs? Tell me, what particular slimy snake is trying to coil itself around your hurting heart today dear friend? Do you not know, that it is simply trying to squeeze out your poison and drip it on all and everything that walks beneath your tree? If you see the snake today, then kill it, before death permanently encamps beneath the beastly boughs of those hate dripping holes of your own pierced and scarred little heart. Deal with the damage, else it shall most surely deal with you.
Listen:- “Though evil is sweet in his mouth, And he hides it under his tongue, Though he spares it and does not forsake it, But still keeps it in his mouth, Yet his food in his stomach turns sour; It becomes cobra venom within him. Job 20:12-14
Pray:- Lord. Help me to acknowledge my hurt, and command and vent my poisonous wrath into Your cleansing and waiting wind. Bring up all the coiled cobras of my twisted soul, O Lord that I might kill them dead! Amen.