Satan has been mimicked so much by writers, artists, actors, and comedians that most people don’t believe the devil really exists; or if they do believe he exists, they don’t take him seriously. For example, the English novelist Samuel Butler wrote,
“It must be remembered that we have heard only one side of the case. God has written all the books.”
And Mark Twain wrote,
“We may not pay Satan reverence, for that would be indiscreet, but we can at least respect his talents.”
A popular television comedian always got laughs when he said,
“The devil made me do it!”
Although we don’t understand much about his origin, we know that
- Satan is real,
- Satan is an enemy,
- Satan is dangerous.
- Satan is compared to a serpent, an image that’s repeated in 2 Corinthians 11:3
- He’s called a dragon; Revelation 12 and both names are combined in Revelation 20:2.
- But Satan is not only a serpent who deceives; he’s also a roaring lion who devours (1 Peter 5:8).
- Among his names are “Abaddon” and “Apollyon” which mean “destroyer” (Rev. 9:11);
- “Satan” which means “adversary”
- “Devil” which means “slanderer”
- Jesus called Satan a murderer and “the father of lies.” John 8:44
- He also called him “the evil one” (Matt. 13:19) and “the prince of this world” (John 12:31).
- Paul said Satan was “the god of this age” (2 Cor. 4:4),
- The ruler of the world system (Eph. 2:2),
- And the leader of demonic forces of evil (Eph. 6:10-12).
In short, Satan is no pushover, and God’s people must be careful not to give him a foothold in their lives (Ephesians 4:27). That’s why we’re studying God’s Word and seeking to understand the strategy of Satan (2 Cor. 2:11).
The Man and Woman Sin
The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”
Genesis 3:1 (NLT)
Why did Satan choose the serpent?
It was because he was “subtle.”
Why didn’t he choose an elephant, so he could overpower them? Or why didn’t he choose a lion to scare them?
It’s because Satan had no power to force Adam and Eve to do anything. The only thing he could do was deceive them and get them to destroy themselves. That’s the way he works with us too. His only power is deception. We are the ones who destroy ourselves, because we fall for his lies (Hosea 4:6).
The Strategy Of Satan
A temptation is an opportunity to accomplish a good thing in a bad way. It’s a good thing to pass a school examination but a bad thing to do it by cheating. It’s a good thing to pay your bills but a bad thing to steal the money for the payments. In essence, Satan said to Eve:
“I can give you something that you need and want. You can have it now and enjoy it; and best of all, there won’t be any painful consequences. What an opportunity!”
Note the stages in Satan’s temptation of Eve.
Satan Disguised Himself
Satan isn’t an originator; he’s a clever imitator who disguises his true character. If necessary, he can even masquerade as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14). When he came into the Garden, Satan used the body of a serpent, one of God’s creatures that He had pronounced “good” (Gen. 1:31).
Eve didn’t seem disturbed by the serpent’s presence or its speech, so we assume that she saw nothing threatening about the encounter.
Satan spoke to Eve. He didn’t overpower her. He had to plant a thought in her head to overcome her. If she had dealt with the thought and rejected it, she would not have fallen. Sin has to be conceived in our thoughts. The best way to stop the birth of sin is to stop its conception.
Satan still works today as the great impersonator. He has produced a counterfeit righteousness apart from the righteousness that comes only by faith in the Saviour. Satan has false ministers (2 Cor. 11:13-16) who preach a false gospel (Gal. 1:6-10), and he has false brothers (and sisters) who oppose the true Gospel (2 Cor. 11:26). The devil has gathered his counterfeit Christians into false churches that God calls “synagogues of Satan” (Rev. 2:9); and in these assemblies, Satan’s “deep secrets” are taught (Revelation 2:24).
Satan Questioned God’s Word
Second Corinthians 11:3 makes it clear that Satan’s target was Eve’s mind and that his weapon was deception. By questioning what God said, Satan raised doubts in Eve’s mind concerning the truthfulness of God’s Word and the goodness of God’s heart.
In order to change Eve’s thoughts, Satan attacked the word of God. The devil cannot deceive us in our thinking until he gets us to consider things contrary to God’s Word. To think only spiritually produces only life and peace (Romans 8:6). Thinking spiritually is thinking only God’s Word (John 6:63).
Satan’s question was slanted and deceptive. He didn’t say,
“Do you really mean that you can’t eat from every tree?” Was the import of the subtle question? “If God really loved you, He would be much more generous. He’s holding out on you!”
That would have presented the situation in a different light. Remembering all the good things God had allowed them to do would have made the one thing God forbade them to do seem insignificant. But Satan focused Eve’s attention solely on the one tree that she was forbidden to eat from.
Likewise, Satan tries to make us forget all the great things God has done in our lives and focus our attention on the very few things the Lord has told us not to do.
Thoughts contrary to God’s Word should not be answered they should be rebuked!
It is interesting to consider why the devil approached Eve instead of Adam, who was with her (Genesis 3:6). Some have taught that it’s because women are more susceptible to deception, but that leads to foolish doctrines.
It’s most probable that Eve’s knowledge of God’s command was secondhand. The command not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was given to Adam before Eve was separated from him (Genesis 2:16-17). Therefore, it would have been easier for Eve to think that maybe Adam hadn’t represented the Lord’s command properly, etc. The application is that God’s Word has to become personal or first person to us. It can’t be,
“The preacher said God wants us to do this.” It has to be, “God told me to do this.”
Growing In Godliness
Satan tempted Adam and Eve in the same ways he tempts people today:
- The lust of the flesh
- The lust of the eyes
- The pride of life (1 John 2:16)
They traded the eternal for the temporary, the truth for a lie.
Hold fast to the pure, inspired Word of God. Satan twisted God’s word and Eve added to it. This perversion of truth ultimately led to the fall of humanity.
Bible Exposition Commentary – Be Basic
Andrew Wommack’s Living Commentary