View Full Version : A Walk in the Garden--Part 2

Jun 18th 2010, 06:32 AM
The original “forked tongue.”

Now the serpent was more subtle 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?
And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
And the serpent said unto the woman, 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.
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 3:1-6)

Much insight into Satan’s wiles as a master deceiver can be gained by examining the serpent’s deft manipulation of Eve, as portrayed in the above text. The tactics revealed here warrants a closer look:

“Did God say you can’t eat from any of the trees in the garden?” asked the cunning serpent.
“Oh no,” replied Eve, “We may eat from any of any of the trees, except the one in the middle of the garden. We can’t eat from it, or even touch it, or we’ll die.”
The serpent is not called the most “subtle” (crafty) creature for nothing. Notice how that extremely loaded question was designed to take Eve’s mind off the many fruit trees available to her, and focus her attention instead, on the one she couldn’t have. Satan is here, exploiting a basic trait in human nature that makes us want something because we know we can’t have it. This incident in fact, reveals the origin of the old saying, “forbidden fruit is sweetest.”

Notice also, Eve’s embellishment about not touching the forbidden fruit. God didn’t say anything about touching the fruit--Eve added that. Apparently, she had the wrong perception about the prohibition to begin with: the danger did not involve some poisonous property in the fruit itself, but rather in the consequences of disobeying God’s commandment.

In an outright contradiction of God’s warning, the serpent said, “You will not die.”To this blatant lie, he adds theinsinuation that God had selfish motives for prohibiting the fruit: “God knows that if you eat of that fruit, then your eyes will be open, and you will be like Him, knowing good and evil.”
In other words, the serpent was saying, “God is lying to you to keep you from being equal to Him.”

Here then, is an object lesson in Satan’s expertise in blending half-truths with blatant lies—making the truth seem a lie, and a lie seem like truth. The truth that Adam and Eve would die, he called a lie, and the lie about equality with God he presented as truth. The “opening” of their eyes to know good and evil was true, but the glorious enlightenment promised them was a lie.
There is a reason Satan is called the father lies (John 8:44). He works with deceit like an artist works with paints. He’s very good at gaining trust, and then betraying it.

So then, convinced that God was selfishly withholding from her some glorious wisdom she was entitled to; and reasoning that the fruit was, after all, good for food, and oh so lovely… she bit into the fruit, with Adam following suit.
This might be a good time to interject some more useful information about Satan’s strategy:

You can be sure the Devil studied Adam and Eve carefully before he did anything. He noted both the weaknesses and strengths of the original humans. Then he developed a definite formula as an effective strategy. It is in fact, a three-pronged attack that he has used effectively many times, and at least one of the three prongs always seems to work on most people.

The Apostle Paul refers to this three-fold assault as:

1. lust of the eyes,
2. lust of the flesh,
3. the pride of life.

And indeed, all three of these are evident and well-defined in the temptation of Eve :
Lust of the flesh :
"the fruit was good for food…"
Lust of the eyes:
"it was pleasant to the eyes…"
Pride of life:
"a tree to be desired to make one wise…"

Notice that Satan in fact, employed this very same formula in his efforts to tempt Jesus:
Lust of the flesh:
…Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered
And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread
And Jesus answered him, saying,It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. (Luke 4:2-4)
Note the subtle, “IF you’re the Son of God…” Satan knew exactly who Jesus was; this was simply an appeal to Jesus’ human ego, hoping He would feel the need to “prove” Himself by demonstrating His divine power—distracting Him with fleshly cravings, and indirectly getting Jesus to obey his will in the process. Satan is a master at manipulating the human mind, yet he was out of his league here.

Lust of the eyes:
And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, showed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.
If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.
And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. (Luke 4:5-8)
Here we see Satan attempting to dazzle Jesus with the majestic splendor inherent in a world kingdom. Again, this was an appeal to the humanity of Jesus. We covet with the eyes, as well as with the heart, and while we can’t fully envision what was presented to the Lord, we can be certain it was impressive to behold.
Yet, the Devil came up short again. Jesus refused to be bribed with this earthly glory and dominion, and remained faithful to God. He was afterward rewarded with heavenly glory and dominion without measure.

Pride of Life:
And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.
And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season. (Luke 4:9-13)

Since Jesus consistently countered with Scripture, Satan tried using a little Scripture himself. Prefacing it with another, “if you’re the Son of God,” Satan quotes Psalms 91:11, which speaks of the Lord’s angels safeguarding His holy One from harm. Playing the carnality card again, Satan sought to get Jesus to deliberately put Himself in harm’s way; hoping such a foolish act of pride would result in His death.

Notice how Jesus persevered and overcame all of Satan’s temptations: He simply remained faithful to God and His Word--presenting to us, a practical application of the simple but fundamental exhortation, “Resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) Let’s follow His example.

So then, we’ve seen how some of Satan’s “mind games” work, and how they are structured. And we have learned from Jesus that adhering to God and His Word can defeat any attack from the Deceiver. Notice also, that Satan can quote Scripture when it suits his purpose—probably far better than any believer can.
Understand that he has many false apostles, teachers, and preachers who also quote Scripture well, yet are propagating false teachings. Always try the spirits, and verify them by the Spirit and the Word.

It would be wise as well, to recall the teaching of the Apostle Paul regarding preparation for doing battle with Satan: Using the analogy of a soldier’s armor, Paul describes the components of the spiritual “armor” God makes available to all believers:
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; (Eph 6:10-18)

Just as a successful soldier needs the proper equipment to protect and defend himself on the battlefield, the believer must be spiritually equipped with the means to fend off the spiritual attacks of Satan, and to emerge from the encounter triumphantly.

One final thought about this armor of the saints: like its military counterpart, it was designed to protect one from frontal attack, but offers little protection for the back. Why? Because a soldier is supposed to always meet the enemy head on, not run away from him. Of what use is a shield of faith if the Devil’s fiery darts are fired toward a believer’s retreating backside?

God promised the Israelites they would inhabit the land promised to Abraham, yet they still had to fight many long, bloody battles to obtain it. Victory was assured, but they still had to engage the enemy. Man’s Salvation is accomplished by the power of God, working through man; that is the essence of Jesus.

In the same way, our victory over Satan is complete in Jesus, yet we are required to stay armed, vigilant, and to “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might,” as we fight the good fight of faith until the Lord returns to grant us eternal rest and peace. Onward Christian soldier…