The Devil Seeks Our Fall
“Hit the enemy where he is weakest!” That is good military strategy. It provides the best expectation of success with the least casualties. Yet there are times when the attacking force is so powerful that even the strong defenses fail.
This is not news to the devil. He will attack the strong, even at their strong points, and overcome them.
Consider some examples from Scripture. “Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth” (Num 12:3). At Meribah, using impatience and anger, the devil goaded him into disobeying God.
Instead of only speaking to the rock to bring forth water, he struck the rock with the rod and said: “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” (Num. 20:10-12). Moses also failed to give God the credit for the miracle.
God called David ” . . . a man after My own heart, who will do all My will” (Acts 13:22). Yet the devil was able to lead him through the desires of his flesh to commit adultery and murder (2 Sam. 11). As was the case with Moses, David repented and escaped from the grasp of the devil.
It seems that the devil was more successful with Solomon. “God gave Solomon wisdom and exceedingly great understanding. . . . For he was wiser than all men” (1 Kgs. 4:29ff). Yet the devil led him into the foolishness of worshiping heathen gods.
God had warned the Israelites: “You shall not intermarry with them (foreigners), nor they with you. For surely they will turn away your hearts after their gods.” Solomon had hundreds of wives, many of them foreign. The said result: “It was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods” (1 Kgs. 11). The devil led the wisest man into the deepest folly.
There was Job, a man who “was blameless and upright, and who feared God and shunned evil” (Job 1:1). The devil used physical affliction to lead him to the sin of resentment against God. Here too repentance and forgiveness freed the devil’s victim.
Judas was one of the twelve original disciples. He was blessed with the opportunity to sit at the Lord’s feet and learn of the riches of eternal life. The devil blinded him to those riches and led him to seek those few pieces of silver instead. He fell into despair and eternal damnation.
We Too Are Tempted
The devil seeks our fall as well. He may tempt us to hear the Word without heeding it. And how easily that can happen when we allow ourselves to be caught up in the “busyness” of this world.
How effectively the devil uses the physical cares and pleasures of this life to accomplish his evil purposes. We see on all sides those who are frantically engaged in the pursuit of the “good things” of this life while they ignore the more important matters of eternal life. The devil encourages us to do the same.
He may tempt us to expect earthly joys and physical comfort because we are believers in Jesus. When they elude us, resentment can arise as in the case of Job. Then the devil does all he can to lead the person take the next step — into unbelief.
The dangers are there — a powerful and cunning foe and strong and attractive temptations. By ourselves we would surely fall into sin, be stripped of faith and perish eternally. But our gracious Lord does not abandon us. Through His Word He guides, comforts, strengthens, and encourages us so that we may continue in faith in Him for the forgiveness of sins unto eternal life. We have His promise: “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Mt. 28:20).
— Keith Olmanson