A Cunning Trickster

sg2-q3-Lucifer-Crossed-ArmsThat cunning, slippery, shrewd, devious, astute, shifty, subtle Trickster of all the ages — easily engages his fancy footwork to trip us up every time we attempt to “be a doer of good”. Think about this evil Trickster and how he successfully bewildered the innocent Eve!  This woman lived in a perfect world so she could not blame her parents! Eve had never been lied to, or ever been rejected by her Daddy or her adoring mate Adam. No person in authority over her had ever abused her in any way.  Eve was never beaten, or left alone to defend herself from harm.  She had no bad experience with a family member, a boss, or a preacher. She lived in a magnificent garden, free from any negative emotions, or any demonic oppression. Eve walked in complete confidence of her Father’s love. All her needs were wholesomely met. She happily walked and talked with the only Father she knew!  So how did the devil deceive her?  Taking time to analyze how she was so easily deceived is vital to our safety from an easy slip into similar trickery.  So what motivated Eve to dishonor her Dad?  When God restricted her access to the tree of good and evil, He did so out of His love.  Her depositphotos_107667822-stock-photo-beautiful-woman-face-close-upFather gave her a free choice to love and obey Him and thereby stay in a good standing relationship with Him. Without God’s command to NOT eat from the tree of good and evil, Eve would not have had the choice to offend or obey.  “Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.” (Gen. 3:1).  Satan is the ‘Rebel with a Cause’ to destroy. The Deceiver said, “I hear that God said you can’t eat from every tree. Is that right?”  His effective strategy was to change, or distort the Father’s command. With a simple twist of words, the devil implied that the Father was limiting her pleasure as the Cosmic party pooper!  God’s prohibition now seems to be out of meanness.   Her reasoning mind led her to disobey her Father’s authority, His covering, His Way ….of protecting her from harm.  Eve’s first sin was to question the goodness of God.  Eve could have replied “Are you out of your skull, look around, this is paradise and the Father knows exactly what He is doing and I trust Him implicitly!”  Well as Genesis 3 details, that is not what Eve thought. She did not resist the devil and flee, but according to her will, she chose to disobey and dishonor her Dad.  Eve had access to a variety of foods to eat, but the slick serpent drew her attention to the one tree her Father commanded her to NOT eat from. Eve’s focus was shifted to what she could not have. She then began to question the goodness of her Father. Consider Eve’s thinking as she499e69f53a0583fdbae87a91976ae5be rationalized disobedience. “The tree looks harmless, the fruit appears healthy, perhaps Dad wants this tree to Himself.” Eve experienced doubt about her Dad’s motives and His authority to tell her what to do, what to eat!  Satan had successfully deceived Eve and caused her to question God’s authority, truthfulness, and integrity. Satan assured Eve  “Instead of dying, you’ll become more like God. You’ll be able to choose for yourself between good and evil because you will be wise. You won’t have to hear everything secondhand or be subject to unfair commands anymore.”  The moment Sin was Conceived—Slavery Followed.  Confused, Eve judged the fruit to be good, not bad or harmful. Afterall it would make her wise! Her reasoning blinded her to all else around her. She forgot the abundant goodness provided as she focused on the forbidden tree.  She questioned her Father’s warning and chose the dangerous path of reasoning. The beautiful-nature-orange-tree-image-hd-desktop-wallpaper-background-free-hd-wallpaper-cool-download-wallpaper-1920x1200master of disobedience became her dark lord. Scripture confirms, “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin [disobedience to God’s authority] leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” (Rom. 6:16). Before her disobedience, there was no hatred, anger, unforgiveness, strife, gossip, corruption, fraud, bitterness, or extortion. There was no sexual perversion, drug abuse, drunkenness, murder, wife or child abuse, sickness, disease, or poverty. Earthquakes, hurricanes, pestilence, and plagues were unknown to mankind. The will, favor, and protection of God covered all creation. Adam and Eve’s one act of insubordination marked the beginning of the Rebel’s lawless Cause on earth. 2017089_univ_lsr_xl  “Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above. ( James 1:16). Like many of us, Eve looked outside God’s provision to fulfill her desires. How many have shrugged off warnings because we allowed our reasoning to supersede God’s will?  How many of us have chosen what was most pleasing to us, rather than what pleased God?  It is always better to wait on God, and obey His voice, however, many believers choose to run,  leave the spouse, the job, church or city — where God has planted them —because they disagree with the authorities He has set over them.  People often reason that any consequence of their disobedience will be outweighed by what they perceive as the immediate gain of their decision. “Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” 2 Thess 2:3-10 Adam and Eve did not have physical covering or clothing; rather, they were “crowned” with glory (Psalm. 8:5). The word crowned means “to circle or surround.” Like Adam and Eve, today those who trust in Jesus as their Lord and Savior, we are encircled, or surrounded, or under the Cover of God’s glory and His Authority.585571826-beautiful-tree-wallpaper.jpgGod desires our obedience over any sacrifice and His living Word repeatedly warns us “not to be deceived.” Why did God tell His people that He did not want their songs and sacrifices? “Because, when I called, no one answered, when I spoke they did not hear” (Isa. 66:4). They sacrificed, but did not listen or obey what God. The highest form of worship is obedience. The lord of lawlessness, is Satan. He is the voice behind our choice to rebel or disobey. His evil voice was granted entrance into the mind of man through Adam an Eve’s disobedience. The man of lawlessness has the same objective today: to control or rule everyone and everything. In the story of Cain and Abel, Cain was a slave to sin, and he obeyed the voice of lawlessness when he killed his brother in a rage. He was easily angered and quick to speak!  When God questioned where Abel was, Cain lied “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Gen. 4:9). Consider a time when you were being corrected, exhorted or questioned. Did you angrily defend yourself?  Did you begin to justify a lawless behavior or a disobedient act which was in question? If we humble ourselves before the Lord, and confess our sin, our pride, our rebellious anger, then the image of God will be honored in us and through us. Cain imagined himself as wise as God—or sometimes even wiser. Repeating rebellious actions, or angry defenses over and over, dulls the voice of the Holy Spirit. We become more in tune with the voice of Satan, and we are quick to anger. Many believers today are much like Cain and Saul.  They started out diligently, but over time, their many words and their anger issues kept them in disobedience. With a deaf ear to the Spirit of God, the deceived one refuses to admit their error. They choose to persist in their own way, and the spirit of lawlessness floods their life.  God graciously attempts to open our eyes to areas of disobedience, but as with Cain or Saul, we will not see truth until we first humble ourselves. Lawlessness manifests in many forms:  greed, hatred, anger, unforgiveness, strife, selfishness, sexual sin, or murdering others with gossip, or the stubborn mental state of “I am right and you are wrong.” Often in this deceived and offended state, we can easily imagine we are right with God. As we rebel against obedience, we step out from under God’s Covering, His holy umbrella of Authority, favor and protection.  On the Day of Judgment when truth is revealed, let us not be the one caught in the rain of God’s wrath and wonder, “How did I drift so far from obedience to the ways of God?” Let us willingly submit to being under God’s Covering, His Authority. There is only one hope for people in deception: that God’s mercy will open 578d21dbd582a480912136their eyes; that the light of His truth will cause them to fall to their knees and ask to be forgiven for their stubborn rebellion an disobedience. Through the story of king Saul we learn that partial obedience is not enough in the eyes of God.  Even if we obey 99 percent of the time? How often do we hear this lament: “Why don’t you look at all I have done? You’re just focusing on the little I didn’t!” Saul could have said that for sure. Human reasoning, or self justification is NOT in line with the divine Way and Will of God, the supreme Authority over heaven and earth. “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22). The moment a person disobeys the Word of God, a veil of deception goes over his heart. That veil distorts and obstructs his perception according to the will of Satan. Saul was deceived in his reasoning and confident that he was right when, in reality, he was wrong. Saul’s belief conflicted with God’s reality.  The veil of deception covers our hearts, thereby lessening the sense of conviction and replacing it with human reasoning. As we repeat our ways, we fall short, justify our choices and another veil blankets our hearts, muffling the voice of God. The next time we transgress we sense a mere tingle of conviction. If again we justify, another shroud of deception veils our hearts. If we sin again, the veil is so thick, there is no conviction at all—only justification, and our hearts are hardened against the voice of the dark-heartHoly Spirit. Deception has hidden the truth from us.  At this point a person may fall away from all holiness, or godliness while at home or at work as they live outside the Authority, the Covering of God. Even though they confess Jesus is Lord, they live by their own misled reasoning about what the Scriptures say. Their sense of right and wrong or good and evil is now drawn from a voice other than the living Word of God, which is breathed by the Holy Spirit. God always attempts to reach a rebellious person through conviction. As we repeat disobedience, we lose touch with the heart and directives of God due to the veil of deception. God then sends a prophetic messenger, just as He sent Samuel to Saul. The true ministry of a prophet opens eyes to see the ways of God. However, God can send any person, it will not always be an actual prophet. God has effectively used the voice of a pastor, parent, boss, spouse, friend or even a stranger. When the deceived believer still does not hear what the Spirit is saying, God attempts to reach us through judgment. Paul wrote, “For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged” (1 Cor. 11:31). God then punishes our disobedience with a consequence like a form of hardship, sickness, or some other type of affliction. A man with an unrepentant heart diverts blame to others when caught in disobedience, thus failing to take responsibility for his own actions. Adam blamed God and Eve. Eve blamed the serpent. Saul justified his disobedience.  Jesus said of Himself, “I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me” (John 5:30). Our Lord is drawn to those who live listen for His voice and obey it. The spirit of rebellion manipulates people into a life of jealousy, anger, hatred, strife, murder, and deception. Satan controls people to the point of unrepentant disobedience. Saul chased and tried to kill David, a faithful servant because Saul was deceived 502018361_univ_lsr_xlinto believing that David was a traitor, when in reality he was a man after the heart of God. As a result of the demonic control, Saul only saw fleeting glimpses of truth through a thick cloud of deception. Truth became a lie, and the lies became his perceived truth.  “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). We resist the devil by choosing to submit to God’s Authority, and His voice. If we take a detour, out from under God’s Covering, we are subject to the chaos of the storms in life.  When a person casts off the authority of those that God has placed over them, they cause their own suffering. It is also true that many suffer while living obedient lives, however, the discerning perceive God’s hand forging His way through unlikely people. God’s favor, His covering was ever over the entire life of David as well as these Biblical people who suffered while walking in obedience: Jesus, Joseph, Hannah, Daniel, Jeremiah, Hagar, Job, Tamar, and others. The difference between the hardship of the obedient and those under the spirit of lawlessness is that there is spiritual progress for the obedient. 2 Sam 12:13 “Then David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’” A truly repentant heart offers no angry defense, they simply admit their sin, and they receive grace from God, but not without consequences. “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.  Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.” (Rom. 13:1–2) We are called to obey men in authority because God’s authority is upon them. Every leader has legitimate authority.54They have all been appointed by God, for a specific reason, never by accident. Scripture validates thru history, corrupt and godly authorities. If those under authority take the yoke of judgment upon themselves, they have exalted self over the counsel of God, and have unwisely elevated themselves as judges. Their hearts are dark with pride. “‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matt. 7:22–23). “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matt. 28:18). Jesus is the head of the church, and the day will come when He will turn the kingdom over to His Father, after putting all rebellion under His feet (1 Cor. 15:24–26).  “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:11-12.  Many times God will send us what we need in a package we don’t want, or choose to recognize.  Who has God placed in your life to speak the truth in love? What is true victory in Christ? Our faithful obedience. We must confess the times we have disagreed with God’s Authority, and get back under His Covering and make the most of our time for His glory.  AMEN

4 thoughts on “A Cunning Trickster

  1. “How many people, like Saul, start out with enthusiasm, then when things get uncomfortable, difficult, or results aren’t as fast as expected, they disobey? Or with others they see an opportunity to benefit themselves while only slightly detouring from the directives of authority. All the while they justify it with religious purposes or reasonings, as Saul did when he spared the best sheep for sacrifices to God, sheep that were to be destroyed according to the word of the Lord. If obedience is not complete, faith will not increase, but dwindle!”

    Bevere, John. Under Cover (pp. 257-258). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

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  2. “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by obedient actions, and not by faith only . . . For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without obedient actions is dead also. (2:20–24, 26) In the final verse, faith and obedient actions are compared to the body and spirit of a man. In his example, you’ll discover faith is compared to the physical body, and obedient actions are likened to the spirit of a man. The two must have each other to express themselves.”

    Bevere, John. Under Cover (p. 258). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

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  3. “Jesus” (1 Tim. 3:13). Two things are promised the servants Jesus described in our opening parable: (1) good standing, which includes spiritual promotions (Ps. 75:7); (2) great faith for those who fully obey. Faith and obedient actions are seen as inseparable and dependent on each other in the Scriptures. Examples abound throughout the Bible: •​Abel’s faith was revealed by his obedience, and his testimony still speaks thousands of years later (Heb. 11:4). •​Enoch’s faith, manifested by obedience, caused him to walk with God and then to be taken and escape death. •​Noah’s faith was evidenced by his obedience and salvation was provided for his family while condemning a world completely saturated with sin. •​Abraham’s faith, which was evidenced by his obedience, made him the father of many nations. •​Joseph’s faith, manifested by his obedience, brought his family deliverance. •​Joshua’s and Caleb’s faith, through their obedience, granted them an inheritance of the promised land. Joshua was faithful to serve Moses and became his successor. He led the younger generation into the promised land of milk and honey. •​Rahab the prostitute was “considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction” (James 2:25 NIV). Her obedience saved her whole household. It was the evidence that she had true faith. •​Hannah’s obedience and submissive attitude to the priest who insulted her opened a womb that would provide revival for the nation. •​David’s obedience not to attack his leader made him a great king with a heart after God, not after the order of Saul. •​ Each Hero of the faith intermingled faith with obedient actions. They’re inseparable. If faith was given just to receive miracles, then why would he include those who wandered in the deserts and mountains, afflicted and tormented? Those men and women finished well. They obeyed to completion. This is true faith. If you desire great faith, then obey God’s authority, whether direct or delegated, all the way to completion. Your faith is directly proportional to your obedience!

    Bevere, John. Under Cover (p. 261). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

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