The third chapter of Genesis should be our go-to guide for how to spot an attack by Satan. It definitely teaches us how not to respond, but we know that part pretty well, and I think most of us have put it into practice at some point in our lives. So, today, I’m going to focus on those verses where Satan was speaking and manipulating his prey.
Satan’s craftiness is not a good trait.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”Genesis 3:1 ESV
It is interesting that in Hebrew, the words for crafty and naked are almost identical. Satan’s craftiness, used for his evil purposes, led Adam and Eve to be ashamed of their own nakedness. Bringing shame is a chief goal of the evil one because he knows shame separates us from the God who created us without shame.
A sure sign that Satan is working to influence your mind is to get you to question God’s Word by using a false statement as an example. We see it in this very first verse. “Did God actually say?”
How many times have we heard this? We hear it all the time in false preachers and teachers, who are amazingly backed up by movie stars, secular reporters, and advocacy groups. “God didn’t really mean that, did he?” or “What he said in the Old Testament wouldn’t continue to carry on into the New, right?”
Watch out for any time you hear someone question whether God would have said something. You’ll know it’s from Satan when it’s followed up with a twisting of Scripture.
When Satan was facing Eve, he put the positive command of God into a negative:
- Positive Command: “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” Genesis 2:16-17
- Negative Twist from Satan: “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” Genesis 3:1
When words are changed or spoken in a different way from what is found in God’s Word, we get confused, and that’s where Satan takes advantage.
How many times has someone quoted something we know to be from Scripture, but in such a way that a word is omitted or the context is completely removed? What does this do? Well, for one, we have a natural tendency to trust others, so we don’t catch it. When we fail to hide God’s Word in our hearts and know it well, verses used out of context or with deceptive wording can lead us to accept false teaching.
Eve’s first response and her inability to get her facts straight on the Lord’s command opened the door for Satan to continue.
But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”Genesis 3:4-5
Satan was quick to counteract God’s truth with a half-truth minus the consequences.
- You will not die!
- Your eyes will be opened and you will be like God.
The death about which God spoke was two-fold: physical and spiritual. Because their eyes were now open to the knowledge of good and evil, they could no longer continue eating from the Tree of Life. Their time on earth would now be limited, and they would also be separated from relationship with God. Sin had entered their hearts, and a holy God could not remain in the presence of sinful man.
Beware of anyone who makes evil look good and good evil. Our sin has consequences, and they are listed in the Bible for a reason. God will not be mocked, so don’t listen to Satan’s attempts, no matter how good they might sound, to make light of disobedience and sin.
In pleasure, Satan hides the poison.
Beware of practices and teaching, even in the church, that appeal to our senses and self. It doesn’t mean that we have nothing to enjoy as Christ-followers, but we do need to be aware that what we enjoy is permitted by the Lord and gives him glory.
God’s grace shows up even while we are yet sinners.
But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?Genesis 3:9
God knew where Adam and Eve were. Don’t think for a minute that he didn’t know. His searching for them is a demonstration of his grace. God calls to us in our sin and shame and gives us a chance to acknowledge our wrongdoing.
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Romans 5:8
I can easily find myself blaming Adam and Eve for the start of all my troubles, but when I look deeply into my own soul, I know that I would have done the same. That’s why we need to read all of this third chapter of Genesis. Just like God knew where Adam and Eve were hiding, he also had a plan pre-prepared to take care of sin’s curse once and for all (see verse 15).
So be on the lookout for Satan’s tricks, but be grateful for the One who seeks us out even when we fall.
Grace and Peace