The Subtlety of Deception

And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived fell into transgression.

1 Timothy 2:14


Discovering Truth:

We have been discussing the perfection of God’s Creation.  We explored the creation of the man and the woman and the joining of the two into one flesh.  We saw the beauty and the glory of what God was creating as He looked upon His Creation, and with all authority, declared that it was very good.

However, we all know as we look at the world around us, and as we consider our own lives, hearts, and relationships, that something has changed.  We see that everything has fallen short of God’s original design.  So, what we must ask is: Exactly what happened to mar the beauty of God’s perfect design?

Scripture gives us the answer. A careful reading of Genesis 3 provides insight into the dilemma.  We will consider some of those truths.

The cunning serpent entered the garden and approached, not the man, but the woman.  His first mode of action was to question the Word of God: Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’? Then the serpent openly contradicted the Word of God: You will not surely die. And finally, the serpent replaced the truth of God with his lie, a very deceptive lie, which convinced the woman that she was making a very wise choice to follow his cunning advice.

So, when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.

It is important to note that in Genesis 2:9, God had already declared that all the trees of the garden were pleasant to the sight and good for food.  But here we find the phrase desirable to make one wise.  Interestingly, this is the first place in the Scriptures that the word wise is used.

The important truth to understand about deception is that the woman was completely deceived.  She really, really, really thought that her actions were wise.  She thought her actions would produce very good results.  Very subtly the serpent had persuaded her to move away from the command of God to an action she thought was good.  Then she gave the deadly fruit to her husband with her, and he ate.  Sadly, she did not turn to Adam to ask for leadership.  And sadly, Adam did not step up and guard his wife from the deception!  Both were guilty! Both disobeyed God! And both were going to be held accountable to God! But Adam wasn’t tricked, as the woman had been.  He knowingly disobeyed God’s command.  The results were tragic, which will be the topic of our next writing, but for today let’s focus on the danger of deception.

Satan stills tries to deceive, and he often uses the same tactics. He questions the Word of God.  He then openly contradicts the Word of God, and then He substitutes his lie for the truth of the Word of God.  If we fail to hold fast to exactly what God has said in His Word, we can be convinced that actions we take are going to produce very good results. We can be deceived into believing that our action is wise! But how could any action that we take be wiser than God’s way?

What a convicting truth James lays out in James 1:22:

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

Not only does Satan attempt to deceive us, but we can deceive our own selves. How important that we both hear and do the Word of God!

How will this all apply to the wise woman? Our wise woman will be very careful in her thoughts and actions.  She will not allow thoughts to pull her away from what God has said regarding a woman, and specifically regarding her and her marriage.  She will be very aware that she has the potential to be deceived into an action that she perceives as wise, all the while acting apart from truth. She will look to her husband (her God-given head) for leadership, guidance, and protection. She will not trust her ways and her will.  She will only trust the Lord.

Every wise woman trusts only in the Lord and in the truth of His Word!


Personal Reflection:

Oh, how prone we are to think our way is best, that our way is wiser! I constantly need to be reminded of this truth, but I remember as the Lord was first teaching me these truths. He made me very aware of two words in my thought process. I unknowingly would move away from what God’s word had said or what my husband may have asked of me.  Two words would be in my thought process.  They were but and just.

Any time that my thoughts began something like this: I know that God says ……. But ………. Or I know that David said ………. But ……. That meant that I was in trouble.  I was moving away from truth, getting ready to rationalize my move to my own way.  It was something the Lord had to open my eyes to because I really thought that what followed the but was quite a good idea! It was my own thoughts, but I certainly thought they were wise.  How easy to go astray!

I also learned to hear that little word just!  It went something like this: I know that the Lord says ……. But I am just going to …….. Or I know David said …………… but I am just going to ………  You see, just is a tiny move in our mind.  We know it is a move away from what we should do, but we deceive ourselves into thinking that if it is a tiny move, it will be OK.  Oh, but it is not OK.  When we just disobey a little, it is full disobedience. We easily recognize this as disobedience in our children, but do we recognize it in ourselves?

One further truth that the Lord taught me was that trying to work things out on my own would never produce good results.  The Lord brought me to the story of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar.  Most of you probably know the story.  Sarah “hatched her own plan”, to which Abraham agreed.  However, they did not get God’s promise. They only got a work of their flesh, named Ishmael.

When we “hatch our own plan,” so to speak, it is a work of our flesh.  It can never produce God’s goodness. We must live according to the Word of God and trust Him to produce His blessed result! Where I ended up, in my heart, was with great conviction about doing things my own way, “hatching my own plans”, no matter how good my intentions might be.  It was as if the Lord spoke to my heart saying: Go ahead if you choose, but the best you will get will be an “Ishmael”.  I understood then that God’s work can never be done in my flesh, according to my own thoughts, ways, and manipulations. God’s work can only be done in full obedience to God Himself and His Word!

Remember, I said I still need reminding? Sometimes it is hard to wait for God to bring about His plan and His work.  But it is so worth waiting for! What do we do until that time comes? We wait. We pray. We serve. We love. His timing is perfect!

Lord, may we never settle for the work of our flesh, rather than Your perfect will. Protect us, Father, from subtle deception!


So, Until Next Time:

Spend time in thought and prayer about deception.

Settle in your heart that God’s way is the only good way.

Give thought to the truth that there is no way that could ever be wiser than God’s way.

Never listen to the argumentative thoughts in your mind as to why His way won’t work in your life and situation.

Trust Him to show you how He can make truth work in your life.

Ask the Lord to protect you from deception.

Meditate on being a doer of the Word, and not a hearer only!

Trust God for His goodness in your life.


Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion

 seeking whom he may devour.  Resist him, steadfast in the faith …

1 Peter 5:8


… lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.

2 Corinthians 2:11




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