Read Genesis 3:1. How is Satan, in the form of a serpent, described?
How is the truth of that depiction revealed even in that one verse?
The cunning of the serpent is seen in the way he introduces his temptation. He does not make a direct attack but attempts to engage the woman in conversation. Note that the serpent’s words include at least two problematic aspects. First, he asks if God really made a particular statement. At the same time, he phrases his question to raise doubt about the generosity of God. In effect, he asks, “Did God really withhold anything from you? Did He not give you permission to eat from every tree in the garden?” By intentionally misquoting God’s instructions, the serpent entices the woman to correct his statement and successfully draws her into conversation. The serpent’s strategy is certainly “cunning.”
Of course, none of that should be surprising. Jesus called the devil a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44). In Revelation 12:9 the devil deceives the whole world, which means that none of us, even as Seventh-day Adventist Christians, are safe. Satan has, obviously, lost none of his cunning or deceptiveness. He still uses the strategy that was successful with Eve. He raises questions about God’s Word and God’s intentions, hoping to raise doubts and draw us into “conversation.” We must be vigilant (1 Pet. 5:8) in order to resist his devices.
Compare Matthew 4:3-10 with Genesis 3:1. What similar ploy did Satan try on Jesus, and why did it fail? What lessons can we learn from how Jesus responded to the devil’s attacks in the wilderness? In what ways does Satan try the same thing with us, now?