In Genesis 3:1-5, we hear the first words of Satan:
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
From the first book in the Bible to the last, Satan is presented as the wicked, active, powerful, vindictive, enemy of God and man. He is the “Roaring Lion,” roaming about, seeking whom he might devour. He is the “Crafty One” ruining couples like Adam and Eve. He is the “Devil” entering, using, and ruining religious men like Judas. He is the “Tempter” who continues in his attempt to defile and dethrone Jesus. He is the “Antichrist” who is passionate and persistent in his efforts to obliterate the church. And he is the “Deceiver of the Whole World” who continually comes after you and me.
Occasionally he may utilize some form of God-granted supernatural power. Yes, under the mysterious and sovereign providence of God, there is a devil, and he does have superhuman capacity. In Scripture, he is seen using his power for evil, and he remains perniciously active in certain dark corners of the globe. There is no doubt that the devil has malicious might to control, maim, and destroy. To most, he is to be feared.
However my friends, exercising spiritual power is not the devil’s normal tact. Satan’s primary strategy is seen in the second chapter of Genesis. He is the surreptitious and slippery one. The Bible calls him the “Father of Lies.” Consistently, Satan is seen discounting God’s statements of infallible truth. He then reinterprets events, substituting a revised story which turns out to be editorial rubbish. Yes, in the words of a modern-day pop song, “When his lips are moving, he lies, lies, lies.” Lucifer is the ultimate false witness. He is the foremost propagandist. Satan is the inventor of false media.
Consider his most common false statements:
- He lies about our Father’s interest and affection. We are encouraged to distrust our Creator.
- He lies about our Father’s wisdom and the commands he has given in the Bible. We are encouraged to see them as false, or at least out-dated.
- He lies about our Father’s promised consequences or discipline. We are encouraged to discount the pain of sin.
- He lies as he offers us his substitutionary and temporal benefits. We are encouraged to buy that which he is selling, but his benefits rarely come, never fulfill, and never last.
- He lies about our Father’s long-suffering and undeserved compassion. We are encouraged to see ourselves as hopelessly ruined. Spiritual depression is his end-game.
- He lies about our Father’s Gospel. He tells us Jesus’ life and death is fallacious or fictional. He then encourages us to believe Jesus to be optional or not exclusive. And continually he preaches that Jesus’ sacrificial work is not sufficient. Over and over he screams we must do something, we must perform, we must do our part, we must finish the deal because, contrary to Jesus’ claim, nothing is really finished.
Oh friends, Satan is everywhere, and he is loud, repetitious, creative, and compelling in his words of deceit. As we hear his broadcasts, his propaganda will not go in one ear and out the other. No, it will ultimately take root in our minds and hearts. We will begin believing his claims, and we will begin to forget that presented to us by our loving Lord.
Therefore troubled brothers and sisters, what ought we to do as we are bombarded by Satan’s false media? How about changing the channel? Why not listen to faithful correspondents who speak the truth and only the truth? Why not saturate ourselves with God’s inerrant and infallible Word? Why not tune-in regularly and hear true-truth from the station of God?
Friends, listen to the Psalmist’s plea and prayer:
How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes! With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word. (Psalm 119:9-16)
Now, look again at his last statement. May this be our declaration and discipline throughout this coming week, “I will not forget your word!”
Believers in Jesus Christ, start your day with it. Pray through it, meditate upon it, and memorize a verse or two. Listen to it on the radio, the television, the computer, or in your various apps or podcasts. Sing it, whether you be in your shower or in your Suburban. Frequently, throughout the week, gather with friends in worship services and Bible studies. And before you retire, re-read that which you have learned and allow the sweet nectar of God’s Word to put you to rest.
Oh friends, our heavenly foe hate us. However, our Heavenly Father loves us more than we can realize. Consider our blessings if we just change the channel. Like those in olden days, we do not have to wait for a prophet to visit our town. We do not have to wait until the Sabbath to have a rare copy of God’s Word read to us in the Synagogue. Like certain mystics, we do not have to hope and wait for some mysterious writing in the clouds or voice from heaven. Friends, the Word of God is in our house. It can be in our hands in seconds. It can be by our bed, in our car console, on our desk, and in our hearts. How much longer will we listen to the editorial and philosophical dung of the the world, the flesh, and the devil? How much longer will we saturate ourselves with the harmful lies of the devil?
We have the scriptures, so now let us agree with the psalmist and make the declaration, “I will not forget your word!”
Now, go exercise some discipline. Find it. Read it. Pray it. Meditate upon it. Memorize it. Sing it. Do it, and be blessed.
Psalm 1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.