August 04 2011, 2:07 am | Bill Elliff
It is sad, true commentary, that most Christians live defeated lives in comparison to what they could be experiencing. A large measure of this is due to our ignorance of our enemy. We do not understand the "wiles of the devil" which gives him a massive tactical advantage.
The Bible, in all its parts, is given to instruct us. Each story is an illustration, a teaching to equip us in living a victorious, God-glorifying life. And, our daily lives should be the continuation of that story, giving encouragement and teaching to those who follow us.The account in 2 Kings 18 of Hezekiah's encounter and defeat of his enemies is classic. It displays for us some of the common ways the enemy often defeats us before we even recognize we've been hit. (He is probably planning to use one of these tactics with you today, by the way).
The enemy often...
1. Discredits the object of our faith.
"And the Rabshakeh said to them, “Say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you rest this trust of yours? Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? In whom do you now trust, that you have rebelled against me?" (2 Kings 18:19-20).
In thousands of ways, the enemy whispers (and even shouts) to us that what we are trusting in is not reliable or sufficient. "Hast God said...?” the devil whispered to Eve, subtly implying that God was lying and should not be trusted.
2. Suggests a subtle compromise.
"Come make a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria and I will give you two thousand horses..." (2 Kings 18:23).
God is often calling for radical steps of faith and obedience. Satan suggests a slight turn. "You want to be like God? Then adjust your methods just a bit and eat of the forbidden tree." God is calling you to pray for an hour, but the enemy suggests 10 minutes. To give the whole tithe, but you settle for a token gift. To fast, but the thought "comes to you" (from where?) that you could modify this a bit. To abstain from a sin, but you hear something telling you it's not really all that bad and you can start new tomorrow.
3. Misrepresents God.
"Moreover, is it without the Lord that I have come up against this place to destroy it? The Lord said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.’”(2 Kings 18:25).
The enemy loves to confuse serious-minded Christians as to the will of God. Shouting, whispering, cajoling, offering alternative routes, and all the while trying to convince us that this is God's will, God's best.
4. Promises what he will never deliver.
"Do not listen to Hezekiah, for thus says the king of Assyria: ‘Make your peace with me and come out to me. Then each one of you will eat of his own vine, and each one of his own fig tree, and each one of you will drink the water of his own cistern" (2 Kings 18:31).
Our enemy loves to promise us life, joy, peace, happiness, satisfaction, contentment "if only" we will simply follow his plans. These are ALWAYS empty promises, mere holograms of reality.
I once had a friend who was a highly decorated Army Special Forces officer and served during the Viet Nam war. He told me that before a mission, his team would always go into a 7-day lockdown. Their main purpose was to study the enemy. To know more about him than he knew about himself, so that they could prepare for every contingency and assure victory.
Want to end the defeat in your spiritual life?
Recognize you are not in a mere flesh and blood battle (Ephesians 6). Know your enemy so that you are not duped by his devices and beat him at his own game. And start today.
Order Bill's books here including "The Child of 10,000 Names" and "WhiteWater".