The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”, Verbal Kint from the movie The Usual Suspects
Serpent. Deceiver. Thief. Accuser. Tempter. Terrorist. Do we give the Devil too much credit? Can’t we just ignore the Devil? Isn’t God all-powerful? Since God is in control then why learn about the Devil. These are all questions and comments that I have heard from Christian believers. The Devil seems to receive either too little or too much credit for the happenings in this world. I believe that there is a balanced perspective needed.
Since Adam and Eve, all of us have been born with free will. This allows us the opportunity to listen, contemplate, and decide. However, we are not exempt from the consequences of our choices. God even gave free will to the angels, which resulted in a third rebelling and being cast from heaven.
We have two spiritual influences in our lives; God and the Devil. God created the world and knows how man should live. Satan is the God of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4) after Adam committed treason by transferring his authority to the Devil. Satan’s lease will expire when Christ returns.
When we walk by the spirit and the Word of God then we are equipped and aware of how to confront the Devil. When we walk by the flesh then we walk in ignorance of the Devil’s influence on our lives.
What is God’s perspective concerning the Devil’s influence on our lives?
God, Satan, Adam, and Eve
In the book of Genesis, God highlights the influence of the Devil in the first conversation of the Bible.
1) Now the serpent was more subtle [cunning] 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?
2) And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3) 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.
4) And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
God had told Adam to freely enjoy everything in the garden except to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil because, on the day that you eat of it, you shall die.
- If you eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil then you will be just like God. They had only experienced God’s goodness in the garden. That means that they only needed the knowledge of evil to be Gods.
- You will not die on the day that you partake of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve had body, soul, and spirit from the beginning. This meant that they have soul/breath life and spirit life. Since Adam did not die on that day but lived until he was over 900, then it was his spiritual life that died that day.
5) For God, doth knows that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
6) 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.
7) And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they [were] naked, and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.
8) And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
9) And the LORD God called unto Adam and said unto him, Where [art] thou?
10) And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I [was] naked, and I hid.
11) And he said, Who told thee that thou [wast] naked? Did you eat of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
12) And the man said The woman whom thou gavest [to be] with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
13) And the LORD God said unto the woman, What [is] this [that] thou hast done? And the woman said The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
14) And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou [art] cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
15) And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
16) Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire [shall be] to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
17) And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed [is] the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat [of] it all the days of thy life;
18) Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee, and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
19) In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust shalt thou return.
In the first encounter with God’s crowning creation, the Devil is introduced. His first words are to attack God’s word. God shows the Devil’s influence on his creation and the consequences of Adam choosing to obey the Devil instead of God. The consequences extended to Satan, Eve, and Adam.
God, Satan, and Job
The next occurrence that we will consider is the oldest book in the book, Job. In Job, God contrasts the Devil’s evil intent and influence versus God’s goodness and influence. In Job chapter 1, Job’s prosperous lifestyle is presented.
Job 1 (ASV)
1) There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and turned away from evil.
2) And there were born unto him, seven sons and three daughters.
3) His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she-asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the children of the east.
Job had ten children, thousands of livestock, and a great household. He was the greatest man in the East.
4) And his sons went and held a feast in the house of each one upon his day, and they Sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.
5) And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt-offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned and renounced God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.
God now proceeds to have a rare conversation with Satan. God shows Satan’s intentions and influence.
6) Now it came to pass on the day when the sons of God came to present themselves before Jehovah, that Satan also came among them.
7) And Jehovah said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered Jehovah, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
8) And Jehovah said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job? for there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and turneth away from evil.
9) Then Satan answered Jehovah, and said, Doth Job fear God for naught?
10) Didn’t you make a hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.
11) But put forth thy hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will renounce thee to thy face.
12) And Jehovah said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thy hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of Jehovah.
God tells Satan that all that Job has, is in his (Satan’s) power. This is because Satan is the God of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4).
13) And it fell on a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house,
14) that there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them;
15) and the Sabeans fell [upon them], and took them away: yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
It was the Sabeans, influenced by Satan, that killed Job’s servants and stole the oxen and donkeys. One messenger was spared to tell the story.
16) While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep and the servants and consumed them, and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
The fire of God (lightning?), influenced by Satan, consumed the sheep and the servants. One messenger was spared to tell the story.
18) While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house;
19) and, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead, and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
A great wind (tornado?) killed Job’s children by crushing his eldest son’s house. One messenger was spared to tell the story.
20) Then Job arose, and rent his robe, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshiped;
21) and he said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: Jehovah gave, and Jehovah hath taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah.
22) In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.
In spite of these devastating pains inflicted by Satan, Job did not sin or blame it on God. In Job chapter 2 Satan visits God again.
1) Again it came to pass on the day when the sons of God came to present themselves before Jehovah, that Satan came also among them to present himself before Jehovah.
2) And Jehovah said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered Jehovah, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
3) And Jehovah said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job? for there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and turneth away from evil: and he still holdeth fast his integrity, although thou moved me against him, to destroy him without cause.
4) And Satan answered Jehovah, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.
5) But put forth thy hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will renounce thee to thy face.
6) And Jehovah said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thy hand; only spare his life.
7) So Satan went forth from the presence of Jehovah and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.
8) And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself therewith, and he sat among the ashes.
Sickness, influenced by Satan, then attacks Job’s health by inflicting boils on his body from his head to the soles of his feet.
The remainder of the book is about Job’s conversations with his wife and his “miserable comforter” friends. Then God shows his influence in chapter 42.
10) And Jehovah turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends: and Jehovah gave Job twice as much as he had before.
11) Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him and comforted him concerning all the evil that Jehovah had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and everyone a ring of gold.
12) So Jehovah blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: And he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she-asses.
13) He had also seven sons and three daughters.
14) And he called the name of the first, Jemimah: and the name of the second, Keziah; and the name of the third, Keren-happuch.
15) And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren.
16) And after this Job lived a hundred and forty years and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, [even] four generations.
God delivered Job after Job prayed for his friends. Then God doubled everything that Job lost except God seemed to miscount the children. He lost seven sons and three daughters, but after the doubling he only had seven sons and three daughters. God did not miscount. The discrepancy is that in eternity, after the resurrection, then Job would have fourteen sons and six daughters.
Jesus Christ and Satan
The third occurrence is immediately after Jesus Christ is baptized then he is led in the wilderness to fast for forty days. At this moment of physical and mental weakness, Satan confronts Christ in Matthew chapter 4.
1) Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
2) And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered.
3) And when the tempter came to him, he said, If you be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.
4) But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
Jesus first response to the Devil’s influence is “It is written” and quotes the Old Testament.
5) Then the devil takes him up into the holy city and sets him on a pinnacle of the temple,
6) And said to him, If you be the Son of God, cast yourself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning you: and in their hands they shall bear you up, lest at any time you dash your foot against a stone.
7) Jesus said to him, It is written again, You shall not tempt the Lord your God.
Jesus second response to the Devil’s influence is “It is written” and quotes the Old Testament.
8) Again, the devil takes him up into an exceeding high mountain and shows him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
9) And said to him, All these things will I give you if you will fall down and worship me.
10) Then said Jesus to him, Get you hence, Satan: for it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.
11) Then the devil leaves him, and, behold, angels came and ministered to him.
Jesus third response to the Devil’s influence is “It is written” and quotes the Old Testament. Jesus responded to the Devil’s influence with God’s word by quoting the Bible.
10) To whom you forgive anything, I forgive also: for if I forgave anything, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;
In 2 Corinthians chapter 2, God expresses his desire for us to be keenly aware.
11) Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
This verse is about Satan’s influence on us through unforgiveness. Unforgiveness gives Satan an advantage in our lives because it keeps us under his influence.
Also in verse 11 God reminds us that He does not want us to be ignorant of Satan’s schemes. Being ignorant is to our detriment.
God is very clear about the importance of Satan’s thoughts and ways. He teaches us about Satan’s influence in four significant passages.
- Book of Job – Considered the oldest book in the bible. God clearly shows the workings and influence of Satan.
- Genesis – the first book of the bible. Satan interacts with the first man and his wife in the garden paradise.
- Matthew – After Christ is baptized he is led by the Spirit into the wilderness to fast for forty days. Then he is confronted by Satan in his weakness.
- 2 Corinthians 4:4 – God does not want us to be ignorant of Satan’s ways.