Watch out for those unexpected attacks
Genesis 3:1 “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field”
Assuming that the serpent is a figure of the devil–perhaps a big assumption, I am foolish if I expect that I am going to win a head to head battle against him on my own (I have been watching too much tennis lately). He and his evil companions are crafty, sly, deceitful, liars and they hate God and all of us who call upon His name. Although the imagery of him as a roaring lion in 1 Peter 5 warns me of his danger–he really does want to maim, kill and eat me up!
But the serpent’s slyness should warn me that his attacks are rarely frontal assaults. His normal attack
is by the use of deception and this holds true in the Genesis 3 story. With Eve, he creates doubt–“has God really said?” He whispers lies so that others cannot hear (did Adam hear the conversation?). He tries to isolate me from others.
The evil one preys on those who don’t know God’s word or who know it incompletely. If we misunderstand God’s word either by neglecting something or by adding to God’s commands, as did Eve when she said that God told them not to touch the tree, then Satan will either entice us to sin in a direct way contrary to the word we do not know or he will lead us into the bondage of legalism. He contradicts God’s word.
When we are weak and vulnerable, when we are facing loss, these seem to be the times w
hen the evil one suggests we should question the goodness of god. When we begin to think that God may be witholding something that is good for us, we should expect that the tempter is behind these wrong thoughts. So, when God’s goodness is in doubt and I am not sure what God’s word says to do, I am vulnerable to the evil one’s temptation. Temptation seems to offer relief or comfort or power or control but it does so apart from the will of God.
I need to be aware of my vulnerabilities. I need to keep reminding myself of the goodness of God (Psalm 103) and I need to be aware of the deceptive and sly strategies of the evil one. And I need to remember that with every temptation, God provides me with a way of escape (1 Cor 10:13).