Doubt and Fear, where does it come from?
What does the voice of Satan sound like? Each day there is a stadium worth of voices coming at us. There's the voice of God, calling out to us like a beautiful songbird, quietly coming to us each day as steady and predictable as the morning sunrise, and equally unnoticed. Click To Tweet Then there’s the voice of the world, loudly shouting slogans, mantras, and sales pitches. Finally, there’s your own voice trying to reason your way through all the noise. And then there is the voice of Satan, slipping in and out of sentences. Twisting a truth here, concealing a lie there. Sowing some doubt on the left and reaping some fear on the right.
What can we learn about the voice of Satan so that we can avoid his fatal traps?
First, let’s visit the Garden of Eden to find out what Satan sounds like.
Satan’s first appearance and statements are recording in the Bible in Genesis Chapter 3.
He asks Eve “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
So, the first thing that we need to know about the voice of Satan is that he questions everything.
Did God Really Say That???
Here’s a fun little challenge for you. Take a notebook and sit down to watch 4 hours of televangelists preaching and see how many times this question pops up.
Satan has only one goal, and that is to hurt God. Since he can’t attack God directly, he does the next best thing and attacks that which God loves. Us, whom God created in His own likeness and image and into whom he breathed his own spirit.
The Bible tells us in John 10:10 that Satan carries out his objective in three ways; he steals, kills and destroys.
With this simple question, Satan effectively does all three.
He steals our innocence. He kills our divine life with Sin, and he destroys our relationship with God.
Prior to this question, humanity was positioned to live harmony and connection with God. The Garden of Eden is a state in which mankind is enjoying divine dominion over the world. Ruling with the wisdom of God, and experiencing the unlimited potential of the cosmos.
With that one carefully crafted question, Satan effectively spoils it all.
Notice that Satan never told Eve to eat the fruit. He never threatened her, he never forced her. All he had to do was plant a little seed of doubt.
He didn’t even talk about the Fruit of THAT tree.
Let’s look at the question again.
“Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”
Now Satan has Eve thinking. She replies;
“We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”
Here’s something I find interesting, that Eve adds in the little extra bit about not touching it. Nowhere in the bible does it say that they couldn’t touch the fruit of that tree, but I guess Eve felt she needed to put an extra little bit of distance between her and the forbidden fruit. This is the birth of legalism.
Now here comes the lie.
“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” – Genesis 3:4
With these 5 words Satan effectively
- Denies the authority and righteousness of God
- The goodness of God
- The consequence of sin
- And the reality of terms of life within God’s creation.
Having planted the seed of doubt, Satan disappears from the scene.
Up until this point, one might wonder if Eve had even seen the tree before. We can assume that the Garden of Eden is a pretty big space. It was big enough that Adam and Eve could be apart from each other doing their own activities. It contained fields and the animals within it. So it’s entirely possible that she had not yet visited that area of the garden, but with this lie, she decides to go and check it.
Faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains but a lie the size of a grain of sand can destroy the nations.
It’s possible that some time passed between Eve’s interaction with Satan and when she actually picks and eats the fruit.
“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.”
Like any good lie, I think that this one took some time to take root. Eve probably ruminated on it for quite a while before she decided that take a strategically planned walk with Adam toward the center of the Garden.
I suspect that this wasn’t a spontaneous decision.
She decided to go look at the fruit of this tree for herself. She questioned in her heart whether or not what the serpent had said was true. Is God good? Or is He a liar?
The serpent appears to be doing Eve a favor, Satan goes out of his way to expose God and His motives for the forbidden fruit.
The beauty of the lie is that it doesn’t cause Eve to question the motives of the serpent. Doubt is so seductive and inconspicuous.
So she casually goes to check out the tree and look at the fruit. Sees that it is good and decides to touch it. No lightning bolt from Heaven.
She cuts it in half. Still no lightning bolt. No Shout from above.
She takes a bite. Nothing.
She gives half to Adam. He garbles it down. And…
Their eyes are open. They’re naked.
Quite the revelation.
Their fall from grace came as quietly and subtly as the sun slipping behind the shadow of a cloud.
But in that shadow fear set in.
They are naked. They are vulnerable. Suddenly there is a chill in the air. They have goosebumps on the arms. Something has changed, but they’re not quite sure what.
They do their best to sew together a few leaves. Maybe they can find a way to cover up.
There is a conviction. And then that sin gives birth to fear. God is no longer a friend.
God’s goodness is now in contrast to our fallen state. It’s us against Him. And so when they hear Him coming, they hid.
“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
With their new found wisdom I guess they thought they might be able to camouflage.
Then we get God’s first question. “Where are you?”
Of course, God knows where they are, but despite our faults and sin God still desires a relationship and communication with us.
Let’s compare Satan’s question and God’s.
Satan: “Did God really say…”
God: “Where are you?”
When Satan asks questions, they are strategically used to cast doubt and undermine our relationships with God. Notice that Satan’s question has nothing to do with himself.
Let’s look two more of Satan’s questions.
In Job 1:9 Satan asks God; “Does Job fear God for nothing?”
He’s trying to spark a suspicion and doubt. God has just been bragging about how great Job is but Satan wants to undermine and depreciate Job’s love for God. His question is planting the idea that Job only loves you because you’re so nice to him. Take away all his privilege and protection and he too will turn around and curse you.
Satan is not intimidated by the holiness of God, (remember he has a terrible case of pride) and he goes after Jesus the same way.
In Matthew 16:23: The conversation between Satan and Jesus is recorded with Satan questioning the divinity of Christ. “If you are the Son of God… Prove it!”
This is a great example of a veiled question. It’s subtle and less direct. It’s designed to make Jesus doubt and question Himself. To have that spontaneous question pop up in his mind like it’s his own thought. But it was purposely planted. Satan’s questions are meant to confuse you.
God’s questions bring clarity.
“Where are you?”
God had not misplaced His creation like a 6-year-old boy looking in his tank for his new pet cricket.
He knew where they were, what they had done and why they were hiding. But He used the question as an invitation to talk.
His questions help us to confess and confirm who and what we are and who God is.
“Who do you say that I am?” Christ asked Peter.
The God of the universe is asking us, what’s our relationship status.
And when we get flustered and say “I don’t know, it’s complicated!” He turns around and says,
My status will never change. I have you carved on the palm of my hand. Never will I leave you or forsake you, I love you. I’ll get you out of this.
When answering God Adam says, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
Like any child, We lead with a confession of what the outward problem is.
Not quite ready to admit He had committed high treason by eating the fruit, he admits the most obvious part.
Almost like it’s God’s fault for failing to get him some clothes.
Like any good father, God probes a little deeper.
And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
Notice God isn’t playing any games about which tree. Ideally, Adam will own up to the problem and take responsibility for the mistake but once fear sets in, we all start to play the blame game.
The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”
Notice who he is blaming, THE WOMAN YOU. It’s her fault and it’s your fault. You put her here and she gave me the fruit and as a result of that, I ate it.
In your arrogance and fear, what are you reluctantly confessing to while simultaneously blaming God?
God accepts what He has been given and asks the woman
“What is this you have done?”
It’s a very clear question that should draw out a confession and yet Eve does the same thing as her husband and defers the blame to the serpent.
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
Everybody has an excuse.
After God get’s through laying out the consequences of their sin the first death occurs. In an act of mercy, an animal is sacrificed and God clothes his broken creatures.
Up until the point when sin entered the world death did not exist. Sin gave birth to death for all. Adam and Eve’s sin didn’t just affect them. It impacted all of creation. The world is still reeling from the impact of that one sin.
The progression from desire to death is explained in the book of James; “Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” -James 1:15
Every ungodly desire comes from the whispering voice of Satan.
Now that death and sin have entered the world, his power and ability to manipulate humanity through doubt and fear is greater than ever.
Got Questions or comments? I’d love to hear and answer them. And if you found this article helpful or insightful I hope you’ll take two seconds to share it with someone you love.
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