CALL TO OBEDIENCE #433
Reimar A.C. Schultze
"But Deliver Us From Evil (the Evil One)"
By Reimar Schultze
Many translators prefer to use the words: “from the Evil One,” because the word “but” implies that there is a masculine term following it. This enforces the concept that you and I are dealing fundamentally with only two moral forces: good and evil, or in other words: God and Satan. Your life is the battleground where these forces meet. Yes, your life is so important, my friend, that it is being fought over by these two, mighty, supernatural powers. The devil is a tremendous enemy against us and therefore we must pray the second part of this petition as much as the first. In reference to this, Peter gave us these sober words of warning: Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world (1 Peter 5:8-9).
Each day, the devil has you on his agenda. Starting a day without first putting on the armor of God is a recipe for failure. If you are spiritually unprepared, many of your actions, reactions, interactions, decisions, words and thoughts during that day will lack the anointing and direction of the Holy Spirit. Without that preparation, people that you intended to bless may instead be hurt, disappointed or crushed by your words or actions. Decisions you make on a prayerless day may be regretted the rest of your life. Yes, this is serious, because as a lion, the devil has a voracious appetite. You will soon find that it is too late to put on your armor when you put on your pajamas at bedtime. By then, the fight is over, the battle has been lost and all that is left is for you to pick up the broken pieces, confess failure and repent.
Do not be discouraged, however. As the devil has you on his agenda each day, it is also true that God has you on His agenda. The Bible says: The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord... (Ps. 37:23). Learn to wait on God each day, and let Him refresh you, refine you and provide you with your orders for the day. Having done that, you will walk in light that day as the psalmist said: ...in thy light shall we see light (Ps. 36:9).
In this warfare, it is important that we acquaint ourselves with the devil and the devices he uses against us. Paul admonishes that we should not be ignorant of his devices (2 Cor. 2:11). To get our first clue about what his devices are, let us look at some of his names:
You can quickly tell by these names that the devil is a force to be reckoned with. As you are reading the Old Testament, the first picture you have of him is that of a deceiver: Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made... (Gen. 3:1).
Notice that the devil did not come to Eve saying: “I am the devil.” Instead, he appeared to her as an upright creature (remember that part of the serpent’s curse was to go on its belly). Had he not looked very beautiful, wise and intelligent, Eve would not have listened to him. The devil never shows himself as ugly or repulsive, but instead, he always hides himself behind something beautiful and reasonable. He never shows his true colors.
During this first appearance to man, the devil spoke to Eve through a creature ...which the Lord God had made..., a serpent. The devil hid himself in the body of that serpent. Martin Luther observed: “Let us therefore establish in the first place that the serpent is a real serpent, but one that has been entered into and taken over by Satan.”
When Eve sinned, something of the devil entered into her heart. She gave a piece of the forbidden fruit to her husband and then something of the devil entered into his heart, and from there that something has entered into every one of our hearts. You can quickly tell that a terrible thing happened here because the first man Adam was created perfect by God, yet the first man born of woman became a murderer. Things quickly turned from light to darkness, and a most terrible, cataclysmic fall came out of that first disobedience of man. Since that fall, the devil has had a foothold in the heart of every man who comes into the world causing Jeremiah to say: The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jer. 17:9).
As the devil was hiding behind a beautiful serpent in paradise, let us now observe what else he hides behind, how he works to defeat God’s people and why we need to pray frequently: But deliver us from the evil one.
1. The Devil Works through the Carnal Nature. The Bible has several names for this evil that entered into the spiritual bloodstream of Adam and Eve when they sinned, one being “the carnal nature” (1 Cor. 3:3). Some of the fruits of the carnal nature are found in Paul’s letter to the Galatians as follows: ...Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness [lust], Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred... (Gal. 5:19-20, emphasis added). In 1 Kings 11, we see how the devil worked through Solomon’s carnal nature in stirring up lust after women, telling him he had the right to have more than one woman. Solomon started out praying one of the greatest prayers ever prayed when he dedicated the temple to the Lord, making the glory fall, but he ended up in disgrace having committed adultery with 1,000 women.
The devil works through man’s carnal nature and you can be sure that whatever he tells you through this medium will sound reasonable and wise. However, Paul said: ...the carnal mind is enmity against God... (Rom. 8:7). Since the carnal nature in every unsanctified person is an anchor for the wicked one, it must be slain. My friend, always remember that staying pure and living holy enables you to see through the devil’s deceitful devices. All deception has its birthplace in the devil and again, the devil works through the carnal nature of man to deceive.
2. The Devil Will Speak to You through Self-Ordained Prophets. Jesus warns us about false prophets, through whom the devil will speak: Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits... (Matt. 7:15-16).
Just because someone professes the name of Christ, is active and well respected in the church and has spiritual gifts, this does not mean that he is speaking for God. Ye shall know them by their fruits... Jesus meant the fruits of the Spirit that come by abiding in Christ (Gal. 5:22-23). Do not confuse the gifts with the fruits. The Corinthians had all of the gifts (1 Cor. 1:7), but they lacked the fruits of the Spirit and were yet carnal (1 Cor. 3:1-3).
The devil can do miracles through false prophets. Pharaoh’s magicians could also turn their rods into serpents and they used them to bring frogs upon the land of Egypt. Jesus referred to such miracle workers as follows: Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (Matt. 7:21-23).
Yes indeed, there are many false prophets during these last days who are hiding behind marvelous gifts, miracles and abilities in handling the word of God. Do not be deceived.
3. The Devil Will Deceive You through Appearances. The only way that you can be sure that you are not being deceived by what you are hearing and seeing is by the revelation of the Holy Spirit. For example, you may be introduced to one of the most beautiful churches with orthodox teachings. Everything about it may look superb, but that does not mean that it is for you. Do not judge by the outward appearance (John 7:24).
Jacob chose Rachel because she was beautiful and he rejected Leah. But Rachel had idolatry hidden in her heart that was passed on to her offspring. Jesus, the Messiah, came through Leah and not through Rachel. Jacob was deceived. The devil hides behind every deception. Do not go by what is beautiful and reasonable. That is what the world does. Go by revelation coupled with faith because God says: The just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:17).
TO BE CONTINUED.
(This is an edited excerpt from the book
Praying the Will of God by Reimar A.C. Schultze)