CALL TO OBEDIENCE #439
Reimar A.C. Schultze
"The Devil's Devices"
By Reimar Schultze
Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God 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 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).
In 2 Cor. 2:11, we read: ...for we are not ignorant of his [the devil’s] devices. God does not want us to be ignorant of his devices, but I think many times we are indeed ignorant and this is where we get into trouble. The devil is extremely tricky. Paul said in Eph. 6:11: Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil or tricks of the devil. Eve was ignorant of the devil’s devices. I will examine some of those devices today to help us to be safeguarded from some of those tricks that he may try to play on us.
The devil stirs up dissatisfaction. He is a master at deception as we read in Gen. 3 where here he tried to get Eve dissatisfied with her lot in life and once he succeeded in that, it became easy for him to turn her against God. I marvel that Eve could become dissatisfied in a perfect world. She never had pain in her body; the weather was always perfect; she could eat everything in the garden except for just one little thing that was denied her; and yet she became dissatisfied. So since this woman who had everything could become dissatisfied, how easy will it be for you to become dissatisfied?
Therefore Jesus warns us: ...if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness! (Matt. 6:22-23). Well, that means as long as you are entirely focused on Jesus, remaining in praise and praising the Lord for what you have, there is no room for the devil to bring dissatisfaction into your heart. Yes, dissatisfaction always brings darkness.
This staying positive in a negative world is a daily pursuit. Therefore the Bible says: Rejoice evermore. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thes. 5:16 & 18). Notice, it does not say to give thanks for everything but in everything. The Lord Jesus Christ is your Helper and worthy to be praised all the time, no matter whether things are easy or difficult, whether you feel like it or not. This keeps us in the light, the joy and the peace of our Lord.
And it never fails, once the devil has you dissatisfied with one thing, he can easily dissatisfy you with another and another and another thing, And with dissatisfaction comes skepticism, criticism, complaining, self-pity, anger, etc. Yes, your whole body becomes full of darkness. For example, a man may be totally satisfied with his wife, but once the devil gets him to focus on a weakness or fault in her, he will soon be dissatisfied with other things about her and become attracted to another woman and divorce his wife. Every divorce begins with one dissatisfaction being dwelt upon.
Paul does not want us to be ignorant of the devil’s devices. I had a wonderful mother. She lost her husband to starvation; she lost a baby daughter to starvation; then for two years our family ended up in a detention camp of 36,000 people. Behind the barbed wire, our family shared one room with others, making 17 of us together in one room for those two years. We were given soggy, green, moldy bread every day and wore the same clothes day and night. Of course we had no hot water, pillows, etc. But my widowed mother taught us four children by example never to focus on what we did not have but on what we did have. What we did have was feet for walking, hands for handling, eyes for seeing, ears from hearing and a working brain. These were all portable and they were something to be thankful for. We also had escaped the Russians and we soon learned that there were 18 million people who wished they had been given green bread because they died of starvation. Oh did we ever have it good. There was no depression or pity parties. This training of focusing on what I had, not on what I did not have, was worth going through the Holocaust for. It was worth more than 1,000 Sunday school lessons as a child or youth.
Eve was happy, but the devil managed to make her unhappy. Do not allow this happen to you.
Another device of the devil is that he caught Eve when she was alone. The easiest times for the devil to get to you is when you are alone. Jesus sent His disciples out in twos and in the book of Acts, they went out in twos. Heb. 10:25 says not to forsake the assembling of yourselves together. There is something about being with someone else that will sustain and strengthen you. Therefore Solomon said: Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up (Eccl. 4:9-10).
If the devil can get you alone, he can get you to look at what you are missing and he can easily get you into a conversation and deceive you.
This also happened to Elijah who was a mighty man of God. He was such a great man that he did not die a natural death, but he was picked up by a chariot of fire. Yet there was one day in which he was discouraged and dissatisfied, and God put it into the Bible for all of us to learn from it. The key here is that after a great victory when he destroyed all the false prophets and prayed rain back on the earth (1 Kings 18), Elijah left his servant behind, to be found alone by the devil. That is when things started going downhill. Had he kept his servant with him, he would not have had a pity party under a juniper tree, and would have avoided being punished by the Lord. It is expensive, very much so for us to get into a place where we cease to hear another dear saint say to us: “Now wait a minute.”
As the devil got Eve and Elijah into a conversation when they were found alone, so he likes to get into conversation with all of us. It is by these means that he begins to reinterpret what God said. For example, he did not take the word of God away from Eve, but he twisted it. This is another one of his devices. He told her that God did not mean what He said. He told her that if she would eat of the tree, she would be happy and she would not die. Remember when the devil approached Jesus, he told Him beautiful things by quoting and twisting the Word of God three times. The devil likes the Scriptures and knows how to use them to trick you. Oh! All twisters of the Word of God have been in conversation with the devil. Today, in many Bible colleges, the devil has twisted the minds of the professors. They tell young people coming in with pure faith that the Scriptures do not really mean what they think they mean. The devil can give you enough interpretations of Bible verses which will permit you to commit any sin you want without you going to hell. It is easy to twist the Scriptures and then it becomes very easy to deny punishment.
Hence the devil got Eve to believe that she would not be punished but rather be blessed once she ate of that which God denied her! Then instead of asking Adam what he thought, she just persuaded him to go along with her. Usually, if you go down, you will take somebody else with you.
Also notice that the devil will not come to you as an awful devil to cast you into hell, but he comes to you as your friend. And if you are dissatisfied with anything and you listen to him, you are in extremely dangerous territory. Again, once you open your heart to one negative, your heart becomes open to all negatives.
If the devil tempts you to become dissatisfied with anything in your life, please turn from it. Get with a saint and pray. Look to God and resist the devil because the devil is a liar and he will deceive you if he can.
This message was adapted from a sermon preached by Rev. Robert Morgan