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The Subtlety of Satan


I made a statement last week that I believe bears repeating. “Satan’s opposition to the believer is seldom direct, and is most often through other means, which we might not recognize as being satanically inspired.” This teaches us that we need to be aware of the spirit behind what we are seeing or experiencing.


There are three forces we need to be familiar with which are hostile to the believer: the world, the flesh, and the devil. I would like to suggest that Satan oftentimes employs the world and the flesh to attack the believer.


And so it is that Satan is sometimes identified as the ultimate perpetrator when it would appear that the world or the flesh were the sources of one’s temptation.


Who would have seen Satan behind David’s numbering of the Israelites (I Chron. 21:1)?


Who would have imagined that Judas’ temptation arose from anything other than his own greed?


Who would have thought that the deception of Ananias and Sapphira was motivated by anything other than their own greed and desire for man’s praise?


When the Scriptures inform us that Satan is behind a particular temptation, it is because the forces of that attack take advantage of our weakness, shortcomings, and failures. In other words, you open the door, he’ll walk right in.


Satan is more than willing to accept men’s adoration and obedience indirectly. If we become his servants by serving our own interests and seeking the satisfaction of our fleshly desires, Satan gladly accepts our indirect submission to him.


In fact, I think he even delights in it, because he is the great deceiver. How he must find pleasure in letting men think they are free when they are really his slaves!!


It does not seem advisable to give Satan credit for every evil deed or to blame him for every instance of opposition, difficulty, or temptation. Job did not know that Satan was behind the tragedies, which came into his life. It does not seem that he needed to know.


What he needed and we need to know is that an all-wise, all-powerful God was in control of the universe, and of his life. What Job needed to do more than to “bind Satan” was to believe and obey God. When we obey God it will render Satan powerless in our lives. Let’s put our attention, our praise, and our obedience toward the great God that we serve.