Beware your adversary
‘Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made.’ Genesis 3:1
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING: James 4:1–10
To the Word of God we are indebted for the knowledge we have of the first state of things. We have here the mournful account concerning the entrance of evil, which is given not to indulge our curiosity, but because it most highly concerns us to know it and to be suitably affected with it.
The serpent. Yet he was not a mere serpent, but that evil spirit who is called in Scripture (I suppose upon this account) the old serpent the devil (John 8:44; Revelation 12:9). The Scripture is very brief in the account it gives us of the invisible world. But this much is clear: that there is in the scale of God’s creatures an order of beings, superior to man in powers and knowledge, called angels, formed for the service and vision of God; that many of these angels kept not their first estate, but rebelled against God, were cut off from his light and holiness, and became fallen, apostate and hopeless spirits, or in other words, devils; that the word ‘devil’, singularly in Scripture, seems used sometimes collectively for the whole body and interest of these powers of darkness, and sometimes to denote one chief spirit or head amongst them who is called the prince of the bottomless pit and (from the advantages he gained over our first parents) the god of this world; that Satan and all his associates in misery are filled with malice, enmity and rage against God and his creatures. Their study is to defile and to destroy, and though they are chained by the power of God and cannot do all they would, yet they have a permissive liberty, which God by his holy wisdom makes subservient to his own glory. In brief we may collect from Scripture that Satan, or the head of these apostate angels, was suffered to tempt Adam to break God’s commands—force him he could not.
FOR MEDITATION: Be sober—be vigilant. You have an adversary. Did he attempt thus against Adam in Paradise and shall you escape? If you do not find him assaulting and endeavouring to deceive you, it is because you are asleep in his hands. He thinks he has you sure—he has blinded your eyes and stopped your ears and is leading you captive at his will.
SERMON SERIES: GENESIS, NO. 5 [1/4], GENESIS 3:1