In any battle, to be forewarned is to be forearmed. Knowing the strategies of the enemy gives us a fighting edge to be prepared for any traps ahead. Though I would rather focus on the victory Christ has already secured, wisdom is necessary to fully attain that position.
The enemy doesn’t have any new battle plans. He isn’t smart enough for that. However, his old tactics of ensnaring people continue to work as well as ever. Paul encouraged the Corinthian church to remember
“…we are not ignorant of the enemies schemes.”
2 Corinthians 2:11
Paul is referring to the trap of unforgiveness.
Solomon warned his son about certain life issues he might face. Within these warnings, we find the familiar but deadly pattern the enemy uses to entice us to sin.
Solomon’s downfall eventually separated him from God’s blessing. Perhaps, he speaks here to his son from his own negative experiences. During the course of my life, I too have followed a few paths of entrapment and gained wisdom through the experiences.
To be forewarned is to be forearmed. We all need wisdom to be prepared to overcome these traps of the enemy.
My dad often said, “Good fences make good neighbours.” This old motto reinforces the need for boundaries. Boundaries create a positive dividing or demarcation line — separating healthy from unhealthy, positive from negative.
“I saw among the simple,
I noticed among the young men,
a youth who had no sense.
He was going down the street near her corner,
walking along in the direction of her house”
Not only the young, but everyone, benefits from having healthy boundaries. “Simple” could mean naïve or someone who lacks understanding and experience. Failure to establish boundaries of protection usually starts innocently enough. But we have probably all heard someone say, “I can handle it! It won’t affect me!”
Pride still goes before a fall!
So on he walks. Straight into the enemies trap! “Going down…”
“at twilight, as the day was fading,
as the dark of night set in.”
The cloak of darkness offers the illusion of secrecy. The wise walk in the light. Those with evil intention, however, attempt to hide their actions under cover of darkness. At least in the beginning.
The devil promises big as he comes with “crafty intent.” ( vs 10)
“Sin will take you farther than you want to go,
keep you longer than you want to stay,
and cost you more than you want to pay.”
Solomon wanted his son to be prepared. Truly, to be forewarned is to be forearmed. Sin’s path can be found “at every corner.” It is only one step away for any one of us.
“now in the street, now in the square,
at every corner she lurks.”
Honestly, we don’t need to look down “the street” or into “the square.” The sinful propensity lies much closer than that. It is within us. Within us all. Appealing to our human nature — our flesh.
“She took hold of him and kissed him
and with a brazen face she said:
Today I fulfilled my vows,
and I have food from my fellowship offering at home.”
The enemy promises a feast but delivers a famine. He promises pleasure but inflicts pain.
No one needs to deliberately go looking for trouble to find it. Trouble watches and waits for us!
“So I came out to meet you;
I looked for you and have found you! ”
I have covered my bed
with colored linens from Egypt.
I have perfumed my bed with myrrh,
aloes and cinnamon.”
The devil perfectly prepares each trap — appealing to all our senses. He makes sure it looks and smells good. Too good!
Be prepared! And alert! Knowing the schemes of the enemy enables us to steer clear of his traps. Peter encourages,
“Be alert and of sober mind.
Your enemy the devil prowls around
like a roaring lion
looking for someone to devour.”
1 Peter 5:8
Like he did in the garden with Adam and Eve, the enemy continues to entice us all with forbidden “fruit”. He offers sex and calls it love. He presents greed and calls it blessing. Or selfishness and calls it empowerment. Satan lures us
outside the boundaries of godly authority,
over the threshold of desire,
to eat stolen food —
seductively poisonous —
into the place of death,
locked behind doors of secrecy
and evil intention.
The pathway of deception is predictable,
“With persuasive words she led him astray;
she seduced him with her smooth talk.”
With words, many words, too many words, we attempt to rationalize the irrational.
The enemies tactics appeal to every aspect of the flesh, but the real issue lies within our hearts.
“Do not let your heart turn to her ways
or stray into her paths.”
My little grand-daughter recently reminded me, “What you say is what you are because what you say is what is in your heart.” She is short in years but long in wisdom. Words and actions flow from our hearts.
The heart turns before head. The heart strays before our feet. Since sin is actually a heart issue, how can we keep our hearts pure and steadfast?
“How can a young person
stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word.”
The psalmist asked the same question. Then answers it. “By living according to your word.” Living according to God’s word prepares us for any trap the enemy might have waiting “on the path of purity.”
The word of God isn’t an endless series of dos and don’ts. It gives practical advice and perfect wisdom for young and old, for male and female, and for every and any situation.
To be forewarned is to be forearmed — honestly! God’s warning isn’t to create hopelessly or fear. Rather He shines a light on the way to victory against our adversary.
“Resist him, standing firm in the faith,
because you know that the family of believers
throughout the world is undergoing
the same kind of sufferings.”
1 Peter 5:9
God enables us to be prepared to fully “resist” the devil. He offers solid principles for “standing firm” against every deception or temptation.
We start by establishing boundaries of accountability with others. Avoiding secrecy and living truthfully before God and others moves us one step closer to overcoming. No one is immune to attack! When we sense temptation or hear the lies of false promises, stop and look around. The enemy lurks close. God establishes levels of authority for our protection, so whenever we feel tempted to circumvent authority, we can be certain the bait has been set!
God has clearly exposed the enemies strategies to give us the victor’s advantage.
But let’s go one step further. Let’s help others avoid entrapment, too. When we become honest about our own struggles it creates a door of opportunity. It gives them permission to seek the support and accountability they need to rise in strength and overcome.
Be prepared! Let’s guard the gates of our hearts and homes together!