By: Dr. Steven C. Riser
How do we know what isn’t so?
The biblical picture of Satan is quite different from the popular one. In the Bible, he is not the comical cartoon creature with horns, tail, and pitchfork, ludicrously dressed in long red underwear. Rather, Satan is an adversary, who is clever, crafty, deceptive and dangerous (1 Pet. 5:8). Satan knows our weakness and exploits them to great advantage against us. The Bible does not speak so much about the power of Satan as of his extreme subtlety, trickery and deceptiveness. He uses clever wiles, deceptive devices, wily stratagems and deceitful designs.
He is spoken of as a roaring lion (1 Pet. 5:8). Paul wrote about the evil powers of darkness against which we struggle (Eph. 6:12). And it is in the darkness that we are easily attacked and deceived. Therefore, Paul said in 2 Corinthians 2:11, “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.” Ignorance is not bliss, especially when it comes to knowing our enemy! One of the cardinal rules of military warfare is to know your enemy. The better we know what we are up against, the more likely we are to recognize how and when the enemy attacks and the more likely we will be able to resist the fiery darts of the evil one in the strength of the Lord.
In the old hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God,” Martin Luther alerts us to be on guard: “For still our ancient foe doth seek to work us woe; His craft and power are great, and armed with cruel hate, On earth is not his equal.”