The Bible gives strong warnings that Satan is a competent adversary. Paul's motivation for instructing us to put on the armor of God is "to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against... spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:11-12). But God goes beyond mere warning and provides us with first-hand accounts of Satan's interactions with men. A considerate reading of these can give valuable insight into just how frighteningly clever the devil really is!
This realization hit me as I was reading through one such account in Genesis 3. We all know the story of "the fall," but let's examine it carefully from the perspective of analyzing Satan's methods. First of all, God had instructed Adam and Eve as follows:
"Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." (Genesis 2:16-17)
Now look at how subtle Satan's first words to mankind were in undermining God:
"Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?" (Genesis 3:1)
This is an incredibly crafty statement! Not only does Satan misconstrue God's commandment so that it seems oppressive, but also he forces Adam and Eve to stop and think for the first time about exactly what God had said! Eve was faced with the difficult task of transitioning from mere intuitive obedience to giving a formal statement of what she believed to be right and wrong. As it turned out, she didn't quite represent God's instruction accurately: Compare Genesis 2:16-17 to her response in Genesis 3:2-3.
Adam and Evere were admittedly at a disadvantage to us in that we have the written Word of God at our disposal, whereas they were recalling His commandment from memory; however, just as the spoken Word of God was useless in protecting Eve because she didn't know it by heart, our great weapon against Satan, the Bible, is utterly useless if we do not know exactly what it says! David expressed this same sentiment when he said, "Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You" (Psalm 119:11), and he went on to say, "I will delight myself in your statutes; I will not forget Your word" (Psalm 119:16).
I constantly see atheists taking the same approach of Satan that we've just seen: They slightly twist the statement of God's commandments, and then they reason that God is unjust because of their own misrepresentation of Him! Have you thought about, examined, and considered God's laws lately? Do you even know for sure what His laws are? If not, I highly recommend reading through the first five books of the Bible, or even just Deuteronomy for an overview. Within those pages you will find the same laws that David said should be our meditation both day and night (Psalm 1:2). Additionally, God has promised to write these very same laws in the minds and hearts (Jeremiah 31:33) of His true followers! Satan is trying daily to deceive us, and God's Word is our only weapon against him. Let's make sure that we put it in our hearts and keep it there.