Saturday, March 25, 2017

STAND on Who God is NOT--Spiritual Warfare, VI

Satan’s greatest weapon is to assassinate God’s character, and make you doubt His integrity.  If Satan can make you doubt God’s fundamental honesty, then the words that fall from His lips are questionable. If the words God has uttered are suspect, then His Word is suspect. Satan always tries to make God less of who He is.  Belittling God and His Word is first nature to him.  For God’s Word is Who God is and vice versa.  God speaks from His character, and His character directs what He says. 
Satan’s character is also represented by what he says, and what he says emanates from his character. 

Let’s look at Satan’s tactics in Genesis 3:1-13.  Satan has not changed throughout the ages as to how he operates with human beings.  His interactions with human beings started on this very note of questioning what God says and therefore Who He is.

1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.
   And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 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.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
8 And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.
9 And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?
10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
12 And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.
13 And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

Let’s walk back into the Garden to the scene of the crime.

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.
And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

Snakes are subtle.  They slither into place stealthily. They hide. They strike with lightning speed. They are deadly. They blend in and then seem to materialize out of nowhere as they start moving.  Is it any wonder that Satan choose a snake to hide in and talk to Eve through?  The snake piqued Eve’s curiosity. Right out of the gate, Satan comes swinging.  He questions what God said.  God said that Adam could “freely eat” of all the trees but one.  So, right off, Satan twists what God said. 
Satan also goes after Eve. Adam got his information straight from God Himself; Adam told Eve.  So, should Eve have verified what she heard from Adam by asking God Himself?  Yes. Adam was sincere in what he said.  Perhaps he didn’t quote to Eve everything exactly as God has said. Sometimes we are wrong just enough to trip someone up, including ourselves.  This is why we must individually pursue the Word and not rely on others for what it says.

And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

Eve is quoting this portion right:  “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat…” (Gen. 2:16)  Obviously Adam told her and she remembered what he said.  But up to a point.  Did Adam review God’s words with Eve periodically?  To review God’s Word means to renew His Word in our hearts.  Psalm 119:10-11 says, "With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.  Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."  That’s good advice but it is rarely followed.

But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

God originally says in Genesis 2:17: "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."  

She got most of what God had said correct.  But, she adds to God’s words, “nor shall you touch it.”  Where is that in God’s instructions?  Did she get that from Adam, or is she being overly confident in what she thinks she knows?  But that error opens a door into which Satan slithers.  If she is overly confident, that is pride. Pride says, I got this. Satan, whose own fall was due to pride, is truly like a pit viper.  Pit vipers have an infrared sensor on top of their heads, so they can sense heat coming from prey.  Satan senses pride wherever he goes, and zeroes in on Eve’s statement. 

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

Satan is calling God a liar.  God did indeed say that death would be the result of eating from that one tree; Satan immediately pounces on the last few words of Eve’s, which were the last few words of God’s.  The last were the most important, so in satanic logic, they must be made null and void.  Satan is saying this prohibition is not true.

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.

Then Satan “reveals” the “real” reason that God prohibited the eating of the fruit:  not death, but equality.  In other words, only God wants to be God and thus He is selfishly guarding this position for Himself.  He wants no competition in the divine realm.  According to this satanic logic, that is why He put a good scare into Adam and Eve by saying they would die if they ate that fruit. Adam and Eve don’t know what death is (death is the result of sin, and they have not sinned yet) but they need to trust God’s words and obey.  Why? Because He loves and treasures them. But Satan insinuates that God isn’t looking out for them but is concealing something that they deserve.  Satan says that death won’t happen, but the knowledge of good and evil will be theirs, and it will make them like God. 
Adam and Eve don’t know what good or evil is any more than they know what death is, but now Eve is wondering about God’s motive.  She may be thinking:  Why is God not letting us be like Him?  Why, if He loves us, has He not allowed us all the fruit in the garden?  If He is good, everything here is good.  Knowing this good and evil thing must be good, too.  Why is He not letting us have this good thing? The poison is slowly but surely working.

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

Satan has stopped talking.  But Eve has not stopped thinking.  Just the mere thought that Eve is “missing out” on something is intriguing to her.  Why?  Go back to pride:  If you believe that you are smart, nice, kind, or brilliant enough to have it all, and then you find out that something is missing, well, just take it!  Eve may be thinking:  If God is holding out on you, then you deserve to know because you are, well, YOU!   God made it clear to Adam:  The Garden is yours to tend and keep; one tree is forbidden; death will come if you are disobedient and life will continue if you are obedient.  God presented Adam both paths and their consequences.  Adam relayed this to Eve but the suggestion that she was missing something (that she thought she deserved) made her look harder at the tree and its fruit. Perhaps she is pondering: It looks tasty, looks pretty and promises wisdom.  How could something so right be so wrong? Satan has shifted her attention from God’s word to her contemplation of the forbidden object.  Her focus is on the immediate, tangible object at hand; not on some spoken prohibition given to her husband by Someone whose words are now suspect anyway.  She grabs a bite, hands it off to Adam and nothing immediately happens, except laughter from the tree.

And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

Yes, their eyes are opened, but not to a whole new world of divine knowledge.  They see each other as naked, and what once caused pleasure and delight now causes shame.  The world looks different.  No longer is it a garden filled with God’s presence and wonder; now, it is too spacious.  God could happen upon them at any moment; shame drives them to hide. Somehow, like a small child, we think if we close our eyes or go into the dark, the world can’t see us.  We run from the very One Who longs to forgive our sin and reunite with us.  He wants His light to be always shining in our hearts.
Adam and Eve’s world is no longer centered on God and His fellowship, abundance and love.  They hid thinking:  If He can’t see us and our shame, we are safe. But the darkness is never safe.  That is where the snake hides.

And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.

They hear God’s voice.  Despite trying to hide from one another (using fig leaves) and from God (in the shadows under the trees) they could still hear God. God will never stop calling us.  If He has to walk right up to the very gates of hell looking for us, He will. 

And the Lord God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

“Where are you?”  God knows.  Adam knows.  The “where” is not just a location but a state of the heart. God immediately knows the fellowship is now broken.  Death has already started because sin has started.  Adam and Eve’s praise has turned to fear. Breaking the law means (even if we get away with it at first) we are always looking over our shoulder.  Or hiding. 

And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.

Why would Adam’s nakedness be a cause to hide?  The Word says, "Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled." (Titus 1:15)  Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." (Matt. 5:8)  Their hearts ruined by rebellion, Adam and Eve’s eyes are now capable of seeing darkness. Before their rebellion, all they beheld was light: God’s face, their own innocence and the sunlight streaming into the garden. The darkness now crowded out the light and they hid where they felt comfortable:  in the darkness, away from God, and unable to see each other.  Fear—that drawing back when someone feels shame—left the garden silent and empty. God knows why His children have withdrawn.  He wants them to say out loud why they are absent.  Adam’s words portray the state of his heart: "A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of."
(Luke 6:45)

And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

God does not condemn His children.  He knows the answers to the questions before He even begins.  He wants Adam to connect his actions to the results.  Adam’s actions replaced innocence with insinuation, freedom with fear, and communion with condemnation. God looks for Adam, even though He knows the state he is in.  He still does the same today.

And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

Pride says: I got this! Pride also says: If I don’t got this, it’s your fault! Adam’s pride is showing. He took the apple and ate it, despite hearing the prohibition from God Himself, he thought the satanic logic told to him by Eve had merit. Then, when caught, he denies any responsibility. Pride is rebellion against God’s loving character. God (despite the lies Satan tells) has only our good in mind: "Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets."  (Matt. 7:9-12) God treats us with love and expects us to do the same to Him and to each other. 

 Adam is truly now on the Dark Side. He is ungrateful (“The woman whom thou gavest to be with me”); he denies personal responsibility (“she gave me of the tree”); and he denies having any choice in the matter (“and I did eat.”)

And the Lord God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

God lovingly confronts Eve.  She is on the Dark Side as well.  She denies any personal responsibility (“The serpent beguiled [deceived] me”) and she denies having any choice in the matter (“and I did eat”).  So sad for her and her children.

Satan is a liar.  Thus, any claim he makes about God is false. Here are some verses to S.T.A.N.D. on (Spiritually Trained And Not Defeated) and declare what God is not: 

God is not insincere in what He says, for He is Truth, Light and true to His Word: 
  • But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. (John 16:13 NIV)  
  • I am the Way, the Truth and the Life… (John 14:6)  
  • This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)
God is not inconsistent:  
  • Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  (James 1:17)
  • I have many things to say and to judge of you: but he that sent me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I have heard of him. (John 8:26)
God is not vague about what He desires for us and the consequences when we choose to obey or disobey:  See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the Lord your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall surely perish...So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him… (Deut. 30:15-20)


God does not lie:
  • Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.  (Prov. 30:5)
  • God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?  (Num. 23:19)
  •  And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor relent. For He is not a man, that He should relent. (1 Sam. 15:29)
  •  To shew that the Lord is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him. (Ps. 92:15)
  • For I am the Lord, I change not… (Mal. 3:6)
  • Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. (Rom. 3:4)
  • In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began... (Titus 1:2)
  • [I]t is impossible for God to lie... (Heb. 6:18)
God does not withhold things that would benefit you:
  • For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.  (Ps. 84:11) 
  • Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  (James 1:17)
God does not hate you:  I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. (Jer. 31:3 NIV)

God does not wound you like an earthly father can: 
Yet it is I who taught Ephraim to walk,
I took them in My arms;
But they did not know that I healed them.
I led them with cords of a man,
with bonds of love,
And I became to them as one who lifts
the yoke from their jaws;
And I bent down and fed them. (Hosea 11:3-4)

God does not ignore your suffering:
Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
And the justice due me escapes the notice of my God”?
Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired.
His understanding is inscrutable.
He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.
Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
Yet those who wait for the Lord
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary. (Is. 40:27-31)

God does not tempt you:  
  • No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.  (1 Cor. 10:13)
  • Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.  (James 1:12-15)
God does not allow you to bear your burdens alone:  Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. (Matt. 11:28-30)

God does not punish you:  
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
For He Himself knows our frame;
He is mindful that we are but dust. (Ps. 103:10-14)

God does not discipline you out of anger: 
  • I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference.  (Rev. 3:19) 
  • Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.  No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. (Heb. 12:7-11)
God does not delight in the death of those who disobey Him:  Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? (Ez. 18:23)

God does not hold yesterday with its failures against you: It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. (Lam. 3:22-3)

Done. God’s character is illustrated by what He says and does. Satan’s character is illustrated by what he says and does. The lies about God are just that: lies. Stand on His Word, not Satan’s accusations.  I rest my case.

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