‘Hath God Said?’ – these are the first recorded words of Satan to appear in the Bible (Genesis 3:1). He used them to bring Adam and Eve to sin leading to the devastation of God’s creation which followed. It has often struck me how Satan so frequently uses this same tactic to cause us to sin – he causes us to question the word of God.
God had clearly instructed Adam and Eve that they were not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17) and had made known to them that the consequence of doing so would be death. We know that they had understood God’s instruction because in her reply to Satan Eve repeated his command (Genesis 2:3). However, when Satan spoke to Eve, saying, “hath God said…?” he sowed the seed of doubt in her mind. As Satan then continued to speak the opposite of what God had spoken, the seed of doubt took root and started to grow until Eve believed the lie of Satan over the word of God, took of the fruit of the tree and ate it, giving it to Adam too.
Sin had entered the world and all that Satan had needed to do was to speak words which contradicted the word of God. How often it is that similar lies of Satan – perhaps arising in our own thoughts, perhaps spoken to us by others – result in sin. We know that something is against God’s word but our friends tell us it will be fun, that we’ll enjoy it, that no harm will come, and we end up sinning against God. Perhaps we are unhappy about some circumstance in life and we start to blame God and question His care and goodness to His people. We forget the truth of his words that “all things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28). Maybe you’re in a situation at school, university or work when you know you should be making a stand for the truth but the fear of man becomes greater than the fear of God and you compromise – is it because you doubt that God is able to keep you and care for you even in the face of opposition from others?
So often when I fall into sin or dissatisfaction or fail to be a witness it is because I am doubting God’s word. But if I stop and think and remember the promises of God – “I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Deuteronomy 31:6) or “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:4-5)– then it is possible to resist the doubts that Satan is trying to place in my mind.
Satan is always alert to opportunities to cast doubt in our minds about what God has said and we must be alert to recognise this and to fight off Satan’s attacks using “the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17).