“…lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”
Perhaps Paul’s assertion to the Corinthians sounds overconfident. The devices of the enemy of our souls seem myriad. It doesn’t seem possible to know everything he has up his sleeve. And, he has innumerable assistants. But, thankfully, neither the enemy or his associates are omniscient, omnipresent, or omnipotent.
The first encounter between mankind and the enemy is recorded in Genesis 3. He questioned Adam and Eve about the command that God had given them. God said, “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2:17). After his questions, we read in Genesis 3:4,5, “…the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”
In what he said, the enemy told Adam and Eve two things about God. First, he outright refuted what God had said, suggesting that God had lied about the consequences of disobeying Him. God told Adam and Eve that in the day that they ate of the tree they would surely die. The enemy told them that they would not surely die. Here is an evidence of his devices. He knew what God had said, and he told Adam and Eve that what God said was not true; that God was lying to them.
Second, the enemy told Adam and Eve that God had kept something from them. He said that God knew that in the day that they ate from the tree, they would be like gods, knowing good and evil. The enemy made it sound like that was something wonderful that they would desire. But they did not even know what the knowledge of good and evil meant. Adam and Eve were living in a utopia with God’s companionship. What more could they possibly need or want? The enemy’s device was to make God seem to be unworthy of their trust. Genesis 3:12 tells us that Adam and Eve saw that the tree was to be desired to make one wise. Adam and Eve ended up using their own wits, instead of listening to God.
So, in Genesis 3:4,5 the enemy told Adam and Eve two lies about God. He told them that God lied to them about the consequences of eating from the tree, and that He was not giving them everything that they needed. To this day people still believe both of these lies about God.
In John 8:44 Jesus told the Pharisees, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.” We have seen in Genesis 3 that the enemy called God a liar, while himself lying to Adam and Eve. This continues to be his way. Paul was not ignorant of the enemy’s devices, because he has not changed them! For that matter, he has not needed to change them because mankind still believes his lies. But, God is ever trustworthy, and the enemy is ever a liar.
Consider all of God’s commandments. For each of them, hasn’t the enemy told us that God didn’t mean what He was saying? That the consequences of disobeying Him were not as harsh as He said they would be? Or hasn’t he suggested that God’s commandments were keeping us from something that is “better”? We can see from experience how the enemy has lied to us in exactly the same way as he lied to Adam and Eve.
We need to be aware that the enemy is a cruel enemy. He is uncaring for us and our needs. He hates anyone that sides with God. A clear example of this is the case of Job. After getting leave from God to take away all that Job owned, including his children, the enemy said to God, “… Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.” as recorded in Job 2:4, 5. There was no care in the enemy for Job’s situation, only interest in defaming God and His servant, Job.
We are not ignorant of his devices. Our only stand against the enemy and his lies is trust in the word of the LORD God Almighty, Jesus Christ.
A mighty fortress is our God, A bulwark never failing; Our helper He, amid the flood Of mortal ills prevailing: For still our ancient foe Doth seek to work us woe; His craft and power are great, And, armed with cruel hate, On earth is not his equal. Did we in our own strength confide, Our striving would be losing; Were not the right Man on our side, The Man of God?s own choosing: Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He; Lord Sabaoth, His name, From age to age the same, And He must win the battle. And though this world, with devils filled, Should threaten to undo us, We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us: The Prince of Darkness grim, We tremble not for him; His rage we can endure, For lo, his doom is sure, One little word shall fell him. That word above all earthly powers, No thanks to them, abideth; The Spirit and the gifts are ours Through Him who with us sideth: Let goods and kindred go, This mortal life also; The body they may kill: God's truth abideth still, His kingdom is forever. (Martin Luther)