In World War II the Japanese found ways to broadcast on American airwaves to soldiers, giving commands and orders to deceive and defeat our troops. Soldiers had to make sure they were taking orders from the right source. As God’s soldiers in a deadly war with Satan, we must make sure that we are hearing from Him and not our enemy. Sometimes that isn’t so easy.
We’re finishing a series of blogs on listening to God speak. We’ve talked about how He speaks in a still, quiet voice so we must take time to be still and listen to Him. We’ve seen how through the Spirit He speaks rich and enlightened thoughts to our minds and/or puts a warm burning in our hearts. He convicts of sin, gives guidance or information, encourages or gives peace, helps us to carry out ministries He assigns us, and reveals Himself to us so we can respond in worship.
As with a friend or loved one, we must take time to listen. As we learn to identify His voice and commit to responding to what He says, we will find we hear from Him quite often. Our relationship with Him will grow and we’ll be much better servants of His. However sometimes it’s hard to know if it is really God who is speaking to us or another voice which is counterfeiting and confusing us.
The voice of Satan can be very dangerous and misleading if we listen to it. Ananias obviously listened to Satan’s voice instead of God’s when saying he was donating all he received for the sale of his land when it was, in fact, only part of the amount (Acts 5:3).
Satan does communicate with man. He did so with Jesus when He was tempted after forty days in the wilderness (Matthew 4). Paul says Satan sows deception in the hearts of people (2 Corinthians 11:3).
Jesus says that everything Satan says is a lie, for that is his nature. “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar and the father of lies” John 8:44.
The Bible doesn’t give details about just how Satan does this, but we do know he can put thoughts into a person’s mind. “But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter, and said, “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s” Mark 8:33.
In addition, Satan can take thoughts out of a mind. “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road” Matthew 13:19.
As with Adam and Eve, Satan’s communication with man is always deceitful and destructive. He can make suggestions about how we may meet a legitimate need on our own without waiting for God’s provision. He can put thoughts of guilt and failure into our minds. He can provide excuses to justify a sinful course we are taking. He can undermine God’s goodness and the Bible’s authority.
Satan is willing to speak as much as a man is willing to listen. He uses various forms of the occult to communicate with man, such as tarot cards, Ouija boards, séances, and other means. He can and will speak directly to a person much as the Holy Spirit does. “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Because Satan is the most dangerous of the counterfeit voices we hear, we will focus on him for this message.
Satan is a counterfeiter. He tries to counterfeit all God does for His people. Judas heard Satan’s voice and betrayed Jesus (Matthew 26:14-16). Peter heard Satan’s voice and did not believe the voice of Jesus (Mark 8:31-33). A leper was healed by Jesus and told not to tell anyone who did it but he heard Satan’s voice and disobeyed (Mark 1:40-45).
While we know Satan is limited to one place at a time, we must recognize that he does his work thorough demons. It is highly unlikely that Satan will ever speak to us directly, but by assigning certain demons to harass and impact us the result is the same. Thus when we say that ‘Satan speaks to us’ we are really recognizing that all demonic forces work together for Satan.
David’s thought to take a census of the people was demon-inspired (1 Chronicles 21:1ff; 2 Samuel 24:1ff). Saul’s jealousy and anger at David was as well (1 Samuel 16:14-23). Ananias and Sapphira’s greed was demon stimulated as well (Acts 5:3). When God didn’t speak to Saul, he went to a medium to connect with a supernatural power (1 Samuel 28:4-7). For this reason John warns, “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
Therefore it is essential to make sure you can tell Satan’s voice from God’s voice. Future blogs will cover how. Now pray and ask God to help you know His voice from any counterfeit. Remember the more you listen to His voice the easier it will be to recognize it.
(If I can answer questions or offer personal counsel, or if you would like a free copy of my Spiritual Warfare Handbook, email me at Jerry@ChristianTrainingOrganization.org or download it from http://sw.christiantrainingonline.org/. My next book, Spiritual Warfare in the Bible, which is a more advanced treatment of spiritual warfare, is also available there for free.)