Genesis 3:1 – “Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” NASB
The word is “subtle” in the KJV, but other versions use the word “crafty” and both are incredibly accurate and applicable in describing the wiles and schemes of the devil in his dealings with man. He is the master of deception and uses the tactic that some have become quite proficient using, “Answering questions with questions to create doubt or confusion.”
The word is ‘aruwm’ (aw-room) in the Hebrew and means cunning, usually in a very bad sense. The word God uses to describe the serpent is that he was more devious than any of the other animals. He is cunningly deceptive, and the New Testament refers to him as we are told in 2 Corinthians 11:14. We discover that the devil masquerades as an angel of light or as the KJV renders it “transforms himself into an angel of light.” He is not but pretends to be.
Deception is never what it appears and the deceived never realize they are being duped until the trap has been sprung and the prison doors slam shut. The deceiver must have a willing audience to succeed in deception. That is why it is powerfully important that we are attuned to the Holy Spirit and learn to test the spirits to discover their source and intent.
I have had the sad responsibility of dealing with marriages that have been crushed due to one or the other being deceived and falling into the trap of adultery. It usually begins so innocently and even playfully, but the power of deception and flattery weaken even the strongest hearts if we do not keep our commitment fresh. It is devastating to tell the wife or husband, “He/She meant nothing to me.” I had a session once when the man told his wife that and she said, “I’d feel better if she did mean something to you because when you say she meant nothing, that means you value me even less than I had hoped.”
The devil usually attempts his crafty deception by creating doubt as to God’s Word. He does not immediately come in a frontal assault and question God’s character but suggests that we have misinterpreted what God said. The deception is, “You just misunderstood God. Did He really say?” If he manages to gain a foothold and engage us in conversation and we demonstrate even the most remote tendency to question what God’s Words says, he takes the next step.
In step two, the devil begins to cast aspersions on God’s goodness and even suggests that God might be menacingly withholding something good from us. He will add to the Word of God, something we are warned against in the Bible. He suggests that God might be holding something back that would be good for us and that brings God’s character and goodness into question. If he succeeds in drawing us into that conversation and thought, he takes the final step.
He then contradicts the Word of God as we see in Genesis 3:4, completely contradicting what God said about disobedience and death. God made one prohibition in the Garden. You can call it an apple if you please. The prohibition was to achieve obedience and the sin was not the fruit it was the rebellion against the directive of God.
God could have said, “Don’t cross the bridge over this stream” and it would have been the same thing. However, the fruit affords us the opportunity to see how the devil uses things that are revealed in Genesis 3:6, good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and conveyed the idea of inherent wisdom hidden in it. We see this powerfully in 1 John 2:16 – “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.”
Beware the craftiness trap and anytime anyone or any spirit suggests that God’s Word does not say what it says, or that God does not mean what He says, or questions God’s character – SHUN IT! Jesus’ promise regarding the Holy Spirit is that one of His ministries is that He will “guide us into all truth.” (John 16:13).
If you are tempted to question God, don’t. If you feel God is withholding something good from you, ask Him about it. If you entertain the devil’s suggestions, you will fall prey to his deception and his craftiness will rob you of your peace. Therefore, I pray that God will help you to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves through the Gift of Discerning of Spirits.
God bless you as you walk free in Christ!