God was clear to Eve that to eat from those trees were not allowed, but Satan comes and shows the apple, a beautiful tasty apple. Eve might have had some hunger pains, she might have craved for something so pretty, Satan knows that and entices on that specific point. Eve might have asked: “How can something so good, so wholesome, so fruitful, and created by God be bad for me?” I wonder many times if people who get caught up in affairs does not also think the same thing. “It feels so good, love is good, love is created by God, how can this be bad for me? “ In my life I think food is one temptation I struggle to overcome. “It tastes so nice, is it nutritious, God created it, how can it be bad for me?” You might now want to overwhelm me with reason why, and please do, I need to break free from THIS temptation. Although I know the facts in my brain, it has not dropped down into my heart. We know what is not good for us, but our hearts have not been convinced yet.
In Genesis the devil is referred to as the ‘serpent’ in Matthew 4 as ‘’the temptor’’ and in Luk 4 as the ‘’devil’’. The devil comes in different shapes and disguises, but it seems ‘’the tempter’’ is synonymous with the devil, it is one of his most favourite activities, which he is and expert in – from the beginning of mankind. He has more experience on how to tempt us than we have to resist him!! Luckily for us Jesus has been able to resist him, which gives us the supernatural ability to do the same if we believe in Him and follow His advice and guidance through the Holy Spirit.
Now, during the first temptations, the devil devised a plan on Eve, the Bible describes the serpent in Gen 3:1 “the serpent was more subtle than any best of the filed the LORD has made: And in verse 13 the woman said: “The serpent beguiled me.” Let’s look at what ‘’more subtle’’ and ‘’beguile’’ means, let’s understand the devil’s modus operandi. The quicker we can discern when we are tempted, the quicker we can put the correct defences in place.
The word ‘’subtle’’ used here in Hebrew is the word ‘’arum’’, which means: crafty, shrewd, or sensible. This immediately puzzled me, because sensible sounds good, it means:
Done or chosen in accordance with wisdom or prudence, likely to be of benefit.
It comes from the Latin word: sensibilis (sensus, perceptible by the senses)
Sensible sounds like a good quality, but crafty (clever at achieving one’s aims by indirect or deceitful methods) from old English craeftig, meaning strong, powerful. Or shrewd (having or showing sharp powers of judgement, mischievous, malicious) has both positive and negative connotations,
Shrewd comes from middle English ‘’evil in nature or character’’.
Subtle means of the nature of or involving careful discrimination on fine points.
Subtle: careful discrimination of fine points
Crafty: Clever to achieve your aims by indirect or deceitful methods
Shrewd: sharp powers of judgement, malicious, mischievous
Sensible; done in accordance with wisdom or prudence.
You might have heart the phrase, the devil is no one’s fool. In this evaluation it seems true: he can discriminate of the fine points, he is clever, he has sharp powers of judgement and does his things with wisdom (a shrewd version of it) in order to deceive maliciously.
He will not tempt you openly with something he knows you have a strong conviction of. His style will be to find something that you do believe in and add a little, short lie or deception to it. He can cleverly find the one small crack or opening in your defence.
Gen 3:1 he starts off with the truth ‘’hath God said…” and he adds the lie in verse 4 ‘’Ye shall surely not die’’.
At that time the snake was just a normal animal from God’s kingdom, it was not yet cursed. I think the snake became a serpent, when the devil used it as a tool for his own deceitful means.
The devil does that, he does not approach you in a form you will recognized e him in. Eve knew God in all three His persons, Father, Son and Spirit. If Satan approached her in Spirit or normal body, she would have KNOWN, no, he presents himself in something God created. Something innocent. It’s not the snake that was the problem, Eve saw snakes the whole time and was not tempted by them, it was only when the devil decided to use the innocent vessel to reach Eve. And then he starts the conversation with something that she knows I true and from God. That means her Spirit and mind is open and not on defence. Then, when he sees she is open and approachable, he adds the kink, the temptation, the lie “you will surely not die.”
This week I want to ask you to practice looking at the possible disguises the devil uses to approach you. Practice your discernment skills. Next week we will look into how the devil ‘’beguiles’’ you. Also, send me the number of someone that might be interested in receiving this message on a weekly or biweekly basis.
May the LORD bless you and keep you.
May His face shine upon you and be gracious to you
May He turn His face toward you and give you peace.
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