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)
There are varying opinions as to nature of the serpent in the Garden of Eden. Some things we do know about this serpent is that it was a beast of the field, God made it, and it was a crafty deceiver. John may give us some insight into the nature of the serpent. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. (Revelation 12:9 ESV) Whether the serpent was Satan himself or an animal inhabited by Satan, its most notable accomplishment was facilitating the fall of man into sin.
The serpent began his crafty deception by calling God’s command to the Adam and Eve into question. He asked Eve, “Did God actually say?” Not only did he call God’s command into question he also twisted God’s words.
Often in life we experience temptation. Maybe the temptation is something we desire to do that we know God’s word forbids. Maybe we are being tempted to compromise God’s word due to persecution. When the sinful fruit looks the best the enemy will often come and bring God’s word into question; “Did God actually say?” It is at that point that we must decide if we are going to believe and obey what God has said or become victimized by the crafty words of the serpent. He always seems to make sin look good. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. (2 Corinthians 11:14 ESV)
Satan’s onslaught against the mother of all living (Genesis 3:20) began with a twist of God’s words, but when that didn’t quite accomplish his plan he resorted to a complete refutation of God’s word and an outright lie. 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 ESV) God had said that they would die and even though their eyes would be open, they would know evil in a way God had never known it; by experience. Their likeness of God was about to be tainted and so the rest of mankind that followed after them.
Our present culture is one mouthpiece Satan uses to spread deception and lies, not only to an unregenerate world but also many professing Christians. Issues such as homosexuality, same-sex marriage, abortion and divorce have many in the church asking, “Did God actually say?” And very often when God’s word is called into question the inevitable digression is the labeling of God as a liar. The tragic end of this digression leads to death for those who heed the words of the serpent.
As Christians we must be alert to the devices of the devil. We must seek to know and understand God’s word so that we are not drawn away by every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:11-14). Satan will use God’s own words to tempt us to draw away from God; half-truths that sound good at first hearing (Matthew 4:1-11). And he may even use a preacher in the doing.
Are you diligent to search out God’s word? Are you uncompromising?
Scriptures for meditation:
1 Peter 5:8