In my first post, I talked about what the Bible says Satan is, and how his titles are synonymous with his activities. Some of the titles we discovered from the scriptures are tempter, deceiver, destroyer, accuser, and the ruler of this world.
From what we read in some of the scriptures, it is obvious that Satan got access to rule this world when man fell. We can also see that in Luke 4:5-6, it says,
“Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, all this authority I will give you, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish”.
Note that he said the kingdoms of the world were delivered to him.
In case you have not read the first post, click here to get a clear understanding of the series.
This particular post shall talk about how Satan operates.
For us to overcome Satan we must know his secret, and that is what we shall explore from the scriptures in this post. We shall see some of his strategies, activities, and his attacks.
Eph.6: 11b it says,
“Put on the whole amour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil”.
It would be wise to define wiles to get a better understanding of the verse quoted above. Dictionary.com defines it this way:
“Devious or cunning stratagems employed in manipulating or persuading someone to do what one wants”. Stratagems appear to be another vocabulary that needs to be defined to get a further understanding of the word wiles. This is the definition from the same source:
“A plan or scheme, especially the one used to outwit an opponent or achieve an end”. In a simple way, we can say wiles is skilful tactics or cunning schemes employed in manipulating someone to do what one wants or to outwit an opponent.
Going by what wiles mean, it shows that Satan does a lot of planning before executing his programs against us. As it is, we need the whole amour of God to withstand him.
But as earlier mentioned, it would be good to know how he operates; that would help us to what extent we need God’s armour.
So, we shall see some of the ways he employed against some characters in the Bible. Let us consider how he approached the following people:
i. Eve in the Garden of Eden. Gen.3:1-6
“ 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 should not eat of every tree in the garden”?
Take note of the tricks he employed here.
- He asked a critical question so that he can engage her in a conversation.
- He claimed complete ignorance of the command God gave Adam and Eve.
- He appeared as trying to prove a point; imagine the statement, “did God indeed said….?
ii. The temptation of Jesus Matt.4:1-11
“And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards He was hungry.
Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, if You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread”.
Consider the strategy here: after fasting for forty days and forty nights it is obvious Jesus must be in dare need of food. Since Jesus needed food badly it would be easier to lure him into displaying his power as the Son of God.
Satan is very smart; he would keep an eye on you till you are in a vulnerable situation then he strikes. He can twist the truth to suit his purpose, and if you are ignorant of God’s word, you can easily fall prey.
iii.Samson and Delilah Jud.16:1-20
Do you remember Samson, one of the judges God appointed to deliver his people from their enemies? In case you don’t know or have forgotten the story, Samson was a man set apart by God to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines; unfortunately, Samson became fond of the Philistines women, and his end was not honourable.
as earlier said, Satan uses different sources to reach out to his target, and in Samson’s case, he used Delilah.
“Afterward it happened that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.
And the lords of Philistines came up to her and said to her, entice him, and find out where his great strength lies and by what means we can overpower him…”
Now see the trick;
“Then she said to him, how can you say I love you when your heart is not with me?
You have mocked me these three times, and have not told me where your great strength lies”.
Samson yielded and told her his secret. After that, the Bible said she lulled him to sleep on her knees, and called for a man and had his seven locks of his head shaved. (Jud.16:19) If you read further in that chapter you will see how he was humiliated and eventually died; all in the name of love.
Though the scripture did not mention Satan in the whole story, yet his activities are visible. We know that he uses people as his agents.
The scripture in Job 1:6 says that Satan roams to and fro through the earth and walking back and forth on it. As seen in the description of who Satan is, his activities include temptation, deception, accusation, destruction and the like. How does he do it?
i.By tempting us
Some characters in the Bible that became the victim of Satan’s temptation.
a. Achan (Josh 7)
Achan was attracted to the accursed things when the israelites attacked Jericho. Having been commanded by God not to take them as spoils, Achan took the accursed things secretly.
That single act led to the defeat of the Israelites in their war against Ai, and subsequently, destruction of his whole family along with him.
b. Saul ( 1 Sam.15)
when God commanded Saul to destroy completely the Amalakites and everything there, Saul was lured by the best of the animals he saw, and took some and also spared the life of the king contrary to God’s instruction.
God rejected him as king.
c.David (2 Sam.11)
David saw the nakedness of Beersheba(Uriah’s wife) and was enticed; he sent for her and committed adultery with her. When he was told she was pregnant, he brought Uriah back from the war and tried to make him sleep with his wife but couldn’t succeed. At last, he instructed the commander of the army to put Uriah at the war front to be killed, and his instruction was carried out. When David learned that Uriah was dead, he married Beersheba(Uriah’s wife).
The Lord said the sword would not depart from David’s house, and his wives would be given to his neigbour and he would lay with them in broad daylight.
Now, this is what the scripture says with regard to temptation.
“But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then when desire has conceived it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death”
ii. By deceiving us
We learned that Satan’s language is lies; so he is skilled in framing lies that looks like the truth to deceive us. Consider what he told Eve; Gen.3:4a says,
“Then the serpent said to the woman, you will not surely die”.
Can you see how he wrapped an element of truth in the lies? What does he mean by “you will not surely die”? By my understanding, he means there is the possibility she may truly die, but the benefit supersedes the implication.
That is the way he seeks to deceive us. In most cases, he twists the scriptures and makes us see it in his own perspective; especially when we don’t have a good knowledge of the word of God.
iii.By accusing us
He brings charges against us with the view of making us lose sight of our identity in Christ. He may do that by recalling our past to us, or certain weaknesses we may be struggling with, and make us guilty of the sins God has forgiven. In like manner, he goes back and accuses us before God of the same weaknesses.
Consider the act of Satan in Zach.3:1,
“Then He showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him”.
“The thief does not come except to steal, to kill, and to destroy”. Jn.10:10a.
Every attempt of the devil in whatever way is to destroy you. That we can see from what he did to Job. Satan lunched a simultaneous attack on Job without mercy. First,he made the sabeans to raid his oxen and the donkeys, killed all the servants except one that brought the report to Job. While that servant was still speaking, another servant brought a different report that fire came down frome heaven and consumed all the children of Job.
Who do you think Job would hold responsible for his children? I guess he would hold God responsible because the fire came from heaven. But from the conversation between God and Satan in verse 9-11, we know it was the act of Satan. Someone may say how comes Satan sending fire from heaven? Eph.6;12c, talked of spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
Satan did not give Job a break; it was one tragedy after the other. Finally, he attacks Job directly on his body and instigated the wife against him. She advised him to curse God and die. When he refused, he went through Job’s friends and accused him of having sinned against God.
I think you would agree with me when I say that Satan is a genius in strategy development and teamwork? He sets his strategies and makes sure his team of agents execute them logically. All his attempts are to make us turn our back on God, and be separated from God forever. He does not give up easily; he must exhaust all his strategies; when they fail, he leaves you for a while. After sometimes he would reinforce himself and come in a different way. He is always moving about like a roaring lion seeking for whom to devour; take heed, lest you become his victim.
In the next post, we shall see what God did in Christ that makes believers in Christ have an upper hand over Satan.