THE WILES OF THE DEVIL
"Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" GEN 3:1.
Every descendant of Adam's fallen race is exposed to the wiles, i.e., "the sly tricks--beguiling trickery--to lure away by confusion," of the devil. Our text teaches that Satan appeared in the form of a serpent because, "The serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field."
Every individual must be ware of these sly tricks recorded in Holy Writ which Satan most commonly uses, to escape being lured away by his flood of mass confusion.
Satan's first trick in Eden, which is still most common today, was to cast doubt upon the Word and goodness of God, teaching the principle that God's restrictions are unkind. Satan encouraged rebellion against God with a lie saying, "Ye shall not surely die, [assuring that man would] ...be as gods, knowing good and evil," GEN 3:1-7.
This principle of freedom from all God's restrictions would enable them to decide for themselves what was right or wrong. As Satan's lawful captives, men who hold and teach these broad principles are the authors of the flood of mass confusion in the world today.
To escape these wiles of the devil, we must learn to recognize the easy or ready objects he uses for his attacks. In Eden the tree was this object. Satan's ambush was laid by the general manner in which he posed his question.
Satan's question, "Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" made reference to every tree in the garden. God's restriction was not to all the trees, but a particular tree, GEN 1:29. Satan's broad general approach was to avoid suspicion of his motive.
Satan's second manner of approach is a negative one. "Yea, hath God said." He engaged his victim in a dialogue wherein a suspicion could be cast against God's Word, goodness, character and integrity. Immediately upon gaining control of the human reasoning through dialogue with his victim, Satan zeros in on his target.
When Eve answered that they could eat of all the trees of the garden except one, then the devil suddenly zeroed in on just that one tree and, "Changed the truth of God into a lie," ROM 1:25. Satan said, "Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil," GEN 3:4-5.
This forbidden tree was in plain sight, "in the midst of the garden," GEN 2:9, and now it became the object of lust. "And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat," GEN 3:6.
Oh, beloved, you can never have a dialogue with the devil and win. Even Michael the archangel, "when contending with the devil...durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee," JUD 9.
Satan is the strong man spoken of in LUK 11:21, but thanks be unto God there is a stronger than he, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is able to deliver us from Satan and all his wiles.
Isaiah spoke of this salvation in Christ in a prophetic way when he said, "Shall the prey be taken from the mighty, or the lawful captive delivered? But thus saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children," ISA 49:24-25.
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you," JAM 4:7. Amen.
In all our worst afflictions,