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"And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him." (Gen.22:2-3)
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Br. Samuel Babu, Believers Brethren Assembly, (BBA), Majlis - Bahrain For the last few days, we have been relentlessly praying for Br. Samuel Babu, who suffered Cardiac Problems and was admitted in Salmaniya Medical Complex, Bahrain. It was well pleasing for our Lord to call HIS child to the Eternal Home, where there is no pain, no sorrow, no tears, no sickness and no death. He went to be with the LORD around 10:30 PM Bahrain Time today (Friday 23rd 2015). Let us uphold the grieving family members to the Throne of Grace. May the Lord bestow upon them heavenly Grace, Peace and strength and console them with the word of God.
 
 
 
E-DEVOTIONAL

THE TRAP OF TEMPTATION

Dr. VARGHESE JOHN, Trivandrum

 

Mark Antony was known as the 'silver tongued orator of Rome'. He was brilliant, courageous, strong and handsome. As far as personal qualities are concerned, he could have become a world ruler. But he was morally very weak. In his childhood, on one occasion his personal tutor shouted into his face, "Oh, Marcus, oh, great child! Able to conquer the world, but unable to resist a temptation".

That sharp comment applies not just to Mark Antony or just to the unsaved people, it is applicable to all human beings. In fact, we all face temptations of one kind or another every day. Besides, all of us struggle each day to triumph over temptations. Dealing in detail with the topic 'overcoming temptations' is not the scope of this article. However I would like to focus on certain strategies of our arch enemy, Satan. Knowing our enemy and his strategies is the first step forward in our attempt to overcome temptations.

The story of temptation and the fall that took place in the Garden of Eden helps us discover some of the basic strategies that Satan still makes use of successfully. Adam and Eve lived in a perfect environment and they didn't have a sinful nature as we have. Even then Satan succeeded in pulling them down. Beware! Satan is very shrewd in his strategies. Let us identify some his strategies from this story of first temptation.

 

DISGUISE

When Satan came to Eve he came in disguise. The Bible says, "Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman: Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?" (Gen.3: 1). When the serpent approached Eve he did not come up to her as an ugly creature. There was nothing that would make Eve feel frightened.

When Satan comes to us he would not come in the form of a coiled cobra or as a roaring lion or in the shape of a creature with 'horns and claws and a forked green tail' (as we see in some advertisements). Satan simply slides into our life. He comes almost like a familiar friend or a comfortable companion. The New Testament warns that he transforms himself into an angel of light, a servant of God or a minister of righteousness (2Cor. 11: 14, 15). When the enemy attacks us he often wears a disguise.

When Satan comes to us he would not come in the form of a coiled cobra or as a roaring lion or in the shape of a creature with 'horns and claws and a forked green tail' (as we see in some advertisements). Satan simply slides into our life. He comes almost like a familiar friend or a comfortable companion. The New Testament warns that he transforms himself into an angel of light, a servant of God or a minister of righteousness (2Cor. 11: 14, 15). When the enemy attacks us he often wears a disguise.

Not only he disguises his person, but he also disguises his purpose. He didn't whisper to Eve, "I am here to tempt you". He merely started with a religious discussion. He discussed theology with Eve. The serpent opened the conversation by asking, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?" He had pretended that he asked only for clarification. "Look I want to check your interpretation. I want to make sure what God really says". You see! He talks about God and his word. But he will discuss the truth of God to your destruction.

Another thing that Satan did in his conversation with Eve is to focus Eve's attention on that forbidden tree in the centre of the garden. He asked her, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?" This is a tricky question and cannot be answered by a simple 'Yes' or 'No'. Therefore Eve was compelled to mention the only tree, which God had prohibited (Gen. 3: 3). Thus Satan succeeded in his first strategy.

 

DOUBT

The next thing Satan did was to attack God's word. He told Eve, "You will not surely die (Gen. 3: 4). What does his statement imply? God does not mean what He says. God must have used a bit of exaggeration to get your attention. Since He has given you a marvelous garden and all these trees with bountiful fruits He won't surely prohibit you from this tree alone. Therefore don't take God's commandment seriously. Thus Satan succeeded in sowing a seed of doubt in the heart of Eve.

For thousands of years Satan has repeated this strategy successfully. When he comes to us he may ask: "Has God really said that we are not to do that?" "What is wrong in doing that?" "Are not these Biblical commandments outdated?" "Are they meant to be strictly obeyed by us who live in the twenty first century?" and so on.

We find many people asking such questions without realizing that they are becoming mouthpieces of Satan. Even when their conscience tells them that something is wrong they will find out reasons to justify some actions that are forbidden by God. Satan tries to develop doubts in God's Word. Satan's ultimate aim is to make us question God's Word. Doubting God's Word will eventually take us away from our fellowship with God.

 

DISTRUST

Not only did Satan attack God's word but also he went further and attacked God's character. The serpent explained to the woman, "For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Gen.3: 5). In effect he said, "Do you know why God gave that commandment? He wants to spoil your fun. He doesn't want you to be free and experience the good life. He is out to deny your pleasures. He desires to forbid you the excitement that life offers. He knows very well that when you eat that fruit you will be like him and will know good and evil. He has an ulterior motive, a hidden agenda and it is an evil one."

It is said, "Once the spring is poisoned all the water is polluted". This is exactly what Satan did. He questions the motive of God behind his commandment. He caused distrust in the mind of Eve concerning the character of God. "If God is not good in Himself how can his words be good for me?" Eve must have reasoned in her mind. When we doubt God's Word because we doubt God's goodness then Satan has succeeded in his work. How easily do we often agree to Satan's suggestions! How easily do we suspect the goodness of God when some reversal happens in our lives!

Genesis 3: 6 says, "So when the woman saw that the tree was good for fruit, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate". How did that happen? The forbidden tree was there always. It didn't attract Adam or Eve so far. But now it has become a 'desirable' tree. When Eve listened to the lie of the tempter, Satan started controlling her senses. If you doubt God's Word and do not trust in God's goodness, then your senses come alive to what is evil. Thus what you had hated once becomes what you desire the most, though it is something that can destroy you. The essence of sin lies in not trusting God's goodness and then rejecting God's Word.

Yes, what Satan did in the Garden of Eden, he does today also in different forms and ways. He appears in disguise; he causes doubt in God's Word and leads us to distrust God Himself. Satan has many more schemes at his disposal. But the child of God is not without any defense. The apostle Paul had warned the believers at Corinth to be spiritually alert, "lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices" (2 Corinthians. 2: 11). Spiritual vigilance is the cost we have to pay for overcoming temptations. Through God's Word (Sword of the Spirit) and by the help of the Holy Spirit we can resist the Devil and be more than conquerors. The words of the Lord Jesus are loud and clear and are relevant to us also. "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation" (Matt. 26: 41).

 

Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin;
            Each victory will help you some other to win;
            Fight manfully onward, dark passions subdue,
            Look ever to Jesus, He'll carry you through.

             Ask the Savior to help you,
                         Comfort, strengthen and keep you;
                         He is willing to aid you,
                        He will carry you through.

Shun evil companions, bad language disdain,
            God's Name hold in reverence, nor take it in vain;
            Be thoughtful and earnest, kindhearted and true,
            Look ever to Jesus, He'll carry you through.

 

To him that o'ercometh, God giveth a crown;
            Through faith we shall conquer, though often cast down;
            He Who is our Savior our strength will renew;
            Look ever to Jesus, He'll carry you through.

                                                   Words & Music: Ho­ra­tio R. Pal­mer (1868)

 
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