Then Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel.
–1 Chronicles 21:1
When Satan wants to gain influence in our lives, he does it through our minds. One way he influences our thoughts is through the corrupt desires we inherited from Adam and Eve. But Satan understands that he cannot rely on our sin nature alone to influence our lives. So, second, Satan influences us through other mediums. Genesis 3 is a great illustration of that. Before Adam and Eve fell into sin, Eve did not have a sin nature. If Satan could not rely on her corrupt desires, how was he going to influence her life? He used a neutral creation, the serpent, to communicate to Eve. Through the serpent, Satan asked her, “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden?’” (v. 1). Today he might use the alluring talking box that is at the center of every family’s home. Am I saying television is evil? No, not at all. Television is a neutral medium, but Satan can use it to voice his enticements to us–just like he can use internet sites, books, and other media to speak his messages to us.
Third, sometimes Satan speaks to us through other people. Last week we looked at Matthew 16:23, when Peter was trying to dissuade Jesus from going to the cross. Jesus said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan!” Why did He say that? He realized that Peter was simply being used by Satan to voice an invitation to disobey to God. It is the same way in your life. Sometimes Satan will use a friend, your mate, or even a pastor to voice his messages of disobedience to you.
Finally, sometimes Satan or his demons speak to us directly, without any intermediary. Have you ever been somewhere, maybe even sitting in church, when out of nowhere a blatantly sinful thought comes into your mind? You think, “Wow! Where did that come from?” Sometimes those thoughts come from our corrupted desires, but many times it is simply Satan or his demons speaking to us. David was a man after God’s own heart and yet he experienced Satan talking to him directly. Look at 1 Chronicles 21:1-3: “Then Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel. So David said to Joab and to the princes of the people, ‘Go, number Israel from Beersheba even to Dan, and bring me word that I may know their number.’ Joab said, ‘May the Lord add to His people a hundred times as many as they are! But, my lord the king, are they not all my lord’s servants? Why does my lord seek this thing? Why should he be a cause of guilt to Israel?’” Let me explain what was going on here. God had told David, “If you count your troops it means you are depending upon your troops rather than My power to protect you.” But David decided to disobey God and count his troops anyway. What would cause David to do such a foolish thing? Verse 1 tells us it was Satan who moved in David’s heart to commit that sin. Sometimes Satan himself can be the one who is speaking to us.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Winning The Mind Games” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org.