Updated: Mar 17
“Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.” (Genesis 3:1)
Webster gave us several definitions of the word “subtle”, but the one I want to look at is ‘making use of clever and indirect methods to achieve something.’ Let me try and explain what I mean.
A seasoned Christian has read, does read, and will read their bible. And they will consider all scripture, not just the warm and fuzzy verses. Believe it or not, there are many who only choose and focus on the “Jesus loves me and wants to give me good things” passages. They conveniently overlook scriptures like Psalm 5:5 which says, “God hates the workers of iniquity.” I understand that isn’t very pleasant reading. But if we’re going to be honest with ourselves (and with God) we must believe that “all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness.” 2nd Timothy 3:16
A mature Christian knows about the devil, his character, how he operates, the power he has (or doesn’t have), and how subtle he really is, because they read their bible and have had their own personal experiences. I see those “personal experiences” happening more and more in these last days. And Revelation 12:12 tells us plainly that “the devil has come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.”
With Christians who are educated in how the devil operates, the devil works subtly, trying to pull the wool over their eyes. Hoping to pull off his little schemes and catch them unawares.
Let’s consider the following scriptures. They clearly reflect the times we are living in now. We can not overlook or deny them. Matthew 24, Ezekiel 38 and 39, Luke 21, and Revelation, are just a few that point directly and undoubtedly to our present times. We see these prophecies coming to pass right before our eyes. Let’s be honest, these are very difficult times.
I question any Christian who looks at our current world situation and isn’t deeply troubled by it. Yes, I know God is in control, but he is also the very essence of love and compassion, and we are called to be like Him. Our thoughts and deed should be his. If you are not deeply troubled, I have to ask you, how in touch with God’s complete word and reality and tangibility are you?
Hebrews 10:24-25 informs us that “we should not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, even more so in these last days.” The devil knows that when the body of Christ assembles together, positive things happen. The bible is clear that when we gather together we exhort one another, we stir one another up to love and good works, encourage one another, teach and admonish one another, build each other up, proclaim the excellencies of him to each other, who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. we bring each other peace, and the list goes on and on. The bottom line is this: God unites. Satan separates. (Look closely and you’ll see a rat in the middle of separate!)
So naturally, Satan will do anything and everything he can to keep us separated from each other.
I’m not saying that the devil brought the Covid-19 worldwide pandemic upon us. He does, however, place wicked thoughts in the hearts of evil men who are happy to comply to his corrupt and sinful schemes. Some results of this pandemic are separating families and friends, preventing Christian gatherings in homes or churches, instilling fear in adults and children alike, and causing us to treat others like they have leprosy. Sadly, this includes those who are closest to us. I am not attempting to downplay the seriousness of the virus, I am simply presenting the negative effects it has had on God’s people. I agree with taking needful precautions and do the best we can to keep our environment healthy and safe, but I can’t help but see the works of Satan throughout all of this.
I’ve had people tell me that this has been one of the loneliest times in their lives, having to be separated from their family. Nursing home residents who could no longer receive visitors, rapidly declined in their emotional and physical health, some even unto death. School children, no longer allowed close social interaction with classmates, have turned to suicide to ease the depression that being alienated caused.
But, there is good news too!
It makes a difference what we look at. And we get to choose! In Luke 21, Jesus told us, “when you see all these things happening, look up, for your redemption is coming near.” (He IS our redemption!) In Matthew 24:22, Jesus said, “unless the days be shortened, even the very elect of God’s people would be deceived. But for their sakes, the days will be shortened.” (I don’t want to go down a rabbit trail here, but I will tell you that twice the days on earth have literally been shortened. Once by the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004, and again by the Chili earthquake in 2010. (Information is available on Google by searching these topics.)
In a world where so many things are uncertain, here are some steadfast truths we can hold to:
Jesus is returning and it won’t be long (Luke 21))
He promises to destroy the wicked and save the righteous (Psalm 37:28)
We have tribulation in this world, but he has overcome it (John 16:13)
He gives us peace (John 14:27)
We do not have to fear (Isaiah 43:1)
He will exalt us (1 Peter 5:6)
He restores our soul (Psalm 23:3)
He restores what the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25)
He is unchanging. Hold fast to him. He and only He can give us what we need to endure to the end and be saved!
“Hold to his hand God’s unchanging hand Hold to his hand God’s unchanging hand Set your sights on things eternal Hold to God’s unchanging hand."