Tuesday, July 15, 2014

“Heralds of Darkness, Heralds of Light"

    Satan tempted Eve not as a questioning of God's truthfulness, but rather of Adam's reliability.

    "Hath God said, "Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?" (Genesis 3:1).

    Genesis records that Eve did not exist when God prohibited Adam from partaking of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17).  Moreover, no Scriptural record exists of the Lord ever speaking to the woman about the forbidden tree.  We must conclude, therefore, that Adam communicated the restriction to his wife, particularly in light of the question Satan addressed to Eve - "Hath God said?"  Thus, the devil's temptation cast aspersions in the woman's mind upon her husband's reliability.  In essence, the tempter said, "Did God really say that to Adam?  Or is your husband either incorrect or disingenuous?"  As the Apostle Paul wrote in the New Testament, this deceived Eve, who became Satan's surrogate mouthpiece of temptation to Adam (I Timothy 2:14).  The man then sinned willfully, in full knowledge that he "hearkened to the voice" of Eve rather than God (Genesis 3:17).  Or, in the original Hebrew, he obeyed the word of Eve rather than the word of God.

    The devil's methods have not changed through the ages.  I am often asked, "Can Satan or his demonic influences communicate with us directly in our thoughts?"  In my view, the Bible never directly answers this question.  However, we know with absolute certainty that our enemies speak to us through people.  Moreover, as with our original forebears, devils may challenge us through those near and dear to us.  Little wonder that the Apostle Peter commands sober vigilance regarding our adversary (I Peter 5:8).  Indeed, Satan often confronts us through voices we might never expect would serve (almost always unwittingly) as devilish mouthpieces.

    We must also personally seek to avoid the deceptions that can cause us to become temptations to others.  Our Lord gave us His Word so that we might recognize the darkness and error that misleads us into misleading others.  When offering opinions about Biblical truth, we must always keep the question in mind, "Have I read and pondered the Scriptures enough about this matter to even have an opinion, much less, seek to communicate it with someone else?"  If we cannot affirmatively answer this question, we risk become the herald of darkness rather than light, and thus, a temptation rather than a benefit to our hearer.  

    No less than Peter serves as a prime example of the truth we consider.  "Get thee behind me, Satan" declared the Lord Jesus to His chief disciple when Peter suggested that the Savior should avoid the cross (Matthew 16:21-23).  By no means did the Lord mean to imply that Peter had become the devil, but rather than Peter's succumbing to temptation regarding so vital a matter as Calvary led him to become a devilishly influenced voice of temptation to Christ Himself.  Succumb to temptation … become a tempter - this was Peter's troubling experience and it may be ours as well in those times when our giving in to the devil's lies results in our not only absorbing darkness, but also disseminating it.  

    Our enemies are subtle.  We must be aware and wary of their attempts to mislead us, and then to spread deception through us to others.  No believer is exempt from either possibility.  Consistently and prayerfully exposing ourselves to the Scriptures prepares us to hold the Truth-formed convictions that secure our own hearts, and then enable us to shine as heralds of light rather than darkness.  It is difficult to imagine a more serious matter in our walk with the Lord, or with people.

"I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him."
(II Corinthians 11:3-4)
"For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.  And no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.  Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works."
(II Corinthians 11:13-15)

Weekly Memory Verse
    When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; What is man, that Thou art mindful of him, and the son of man, that Thou visitest him?
(Psalm 8:3-4)

Weekly Memory Verse
   I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless Thy name forever and ever
(Psalm 145:1)

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