In warfare you always target your enemy’s weakest and most vulnerable point. Take what Russia did bombing a key bridge in the Ukraine followed later by the Ukraine bombing the bridge linking Russia and Crimea. Whether it is “tit for tat” or not, the weakest and most vulnerable point becomes the target.
The devil is God’s enemy. He was cast out of heaven with his demonic legion. He will attack God at what we might think is the most unsuspecting targets … yet these are calculated and purposeful. His ambition is to be that thorn in the flesh wherever possible. He targets the weakest links in the chain to God.
For him, the Garden of Eden was the perfect battle ground. He wanted to hit God hard and what better than damaging the relationship God had with His most prized possession … man. God’s creation of man and appoint him to care for the Garden and animals on the planet was only one aspect of the relationship. The other, more important and dynamic was that of fellowship. You need to see an angry devil seeking revenge upon a good, loving God, who not only ejected him from heaven, He pronounced eternal punishment upon him.
His strategy is similar to those who do what is known as State Capture in South Africa. To win a tender or to gain personal enrichment, you don’t target the State President. You target those close to him, like a minister of cabinet or a director-general of a state portfolio. Once you win their confidence and trust through promising lucrative rewards, they will find willing conspirators within departments to assist. Down the line, the problem falls to the State President. After all, he appointed the minister.
This sort of approach was the devil’s. How could he capture the human being? How could he corrupt the planet and everything on it? How can he negatively influence what God says was “very good?” How could het change the very good into very bad? His target would be the woman. Remember, as we have said a few times, God gave the man the Probationary Command before the woman was made. She would have been aware of the content of it, but she was not accountable to God should it be broken.
Quickly we must add that her intention would not have been to break it … rather she was seduced by the cunning, scheming, sinister enemy of her Creator, who would do whatever was possible to bring “injury” to God. Another thing to remember is that God is never caught off guard. He is omniscient. If he know the thought before it’s in the mind or the word before it’s on the tongue, he knew what the devil was scheming to do! Please read:
Ge 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” 2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” 4 “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. 5 “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Ge 3:6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
1) Creating doubt.
Ge 3:1 … He said to the woman, “Did God really say …?
Before asking the actual question, the tempter starts off creating doubt by saying … “Did God really say?” This is a clever tactic to cause doubt because as soon as there is a question in the mind, the rest of the operation is far easier.
2) Using a false statement.
Ge 3:1 He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
Look how the tempter slants the question capitalize on the doubt created … but what did God actually say? For context read:
Ge 2:15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
God prohibits eating from … the tree of the knowledge of good and evil … after saying … you are free to eat from any tree in the garden. The tempter however asks the woman … “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Do you see the thought the devil implants in the woman’s mind? It goes from God saying they could eat from any tree in the Garden, but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil to … “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” See how the tempter manipulated God’s Words? Watch out for those who do this. It is so subtle that the unsuspecting … the ones who lap up every new teaching … those who neglect to give proper thought and study to God’s Word. We need to take heed of our Lord’s teaching:
Lk 21:8 He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them.”
3) Causing temptation. The way the tempter styled his question not only created doubt through manipulating God’s Words, He sowed the seed of temptation. Temptation is deceitful because it does not necessary demand an immediate response. Through implanting the picture of doubt was sufficient. The woman was destabilized but the twisting of God’s Word and responded like this:
Ge 3:2 The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
She gets the instruction correct … free to eat from the trees in the garden (implying “any”), but the rest of her repeating what God said is not accurate. She say God prohibited the “the tree that is in the middle of the garden” and not … but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Then she adds to God’s Words … and you must not touch it, or you will die … where God said … for when you eat of it you will surely die. Beloved, this is not cutting at straws … this is adding to God’s Word! Now … do you see how relevant the following passage is:
Rev 22:18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. 19 And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
Our Father, Your Son, our Lord taught us to pray, saying “and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Mercifully protect us from this terrible enemy of our souls, keeping us true and faithful to You. Amen.