(No, this is definitely not risqué in any way – it is ‘U’ rated!)
Watching Countdown recently, the guest in Dictionary Corner told this true story. Apparently a chap took his almost full-grown python to the vet who asked him to talk through his regime, at the end of which the man said that the python slept in bed with him at night.
The vet was horrified (who wouldn’t be?) and said he must stop it immediately and suggested that he get rid of it. “Oh, it’s quite sweet really,” the man added, “he has recently started uncurling himself and stretching out beside me”. “Get rid of it at once,” the vet directed forcefully, adding, “Don’t you realise he is measuring you up, trying to assess whether or not he can swallow you whole! Get rid of it.”
I wouldn’t need any second telling, would you? As I pondered this tale, with a little horrified fascination, I thought of Jonah who ended up being swallowed whole by a whale as a result of being thrown overboard by his fellow sea travellers, in order that the raging storm would abate since it was due to the presence of Jonah who had disobeyed God. No measuring up first, just one, two, three and throw. Eventually the whale’s stomach ejected Jonah onto a beach, where Jonah had plenty to say to God and God to Jonah. The story had a good ending after Jonah realised there was no real option but to do what God had directed. Jonah went to Ninevah and told the people there about God, and they became a people who were changed for the better.
After the coming of Christ, His followers were told that, what had now become the gospel, was to be preached everywhere so that all nations would have the opportunity to become followers also. They were also instructed that they were to be in the world but not be part of it, not to behave as the heathens lest they be led astray.
The two above stories are both, in their own way, cautionary tales, as well as having a link to unwanted bedfellows. The apostle Paul puts it quite plainly in 1 Corinthians 5:11: “But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolator or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.” An important point to note is that Paul is referring to those who would call themselves followers of Christ, not just those who rejected Him.
As the saying goes, ‘you are known by the company you keep’. Watch out for unwanted bedfellows!