I know of only three occasions in scripture where we read of Satan actually speaking – those incidents wherein he is dialoguing with Eve, dialoguing with God about Job, and when he is tempting Jesus
I recognize that some want to attribute Isaiah 14:14 to Satan, “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the most high,” but that is the king of Babylon speaking, not Satan. And from this same passage, just two verses earlier, many draw the errant conclusion that Satan’s true name is Lucifer, when it is not. As before, Lucifer is/was the king of Babylon.
So, we have three accounts of Satan speaking, and in those accounts, we see quite clearly that Satan lives up to his character as “the accuser.”
Case #1 – Satan Accuses God Before Humanity
In Genesis 3 we find Satan speaking to Eve, and asking her “Did God really say …?” He follows his question with a statement that God knows that as soon as Eve eats the fruit, she will be just like God, knowing good and evil.
“God is holding out on you, Eve! Can you not see that?” In this, Satan is accusing God to humanity.
With the accuser pressing Eve into action, she looked at the fruit, saw that it was good to the taste, pleasant to look upon, and that it made one wise. Boom! We have the lust of the flesh, the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16).
The same message is whispered into our ears. “God is holding out on you. God is not letting you have that, or do that. God is causing this trouble to befall you. Everything happens for a reason, right?”
When Satan pulled this on Eve, it was the first temptation in the Bible, quite literally, the oldest trick in the book, and it worked!
Case #2 – Satan Accuses Humanity Before God
In Job 1 Satan is talking to God about Job, accusing humanity to God. “God, you have blessed Job beyond measure,” which was true, “but you just take away all his stuff, and he will curse you to your face!”
John’s Revelation, 12:10, says Satan is “the accuser of the brethren.” That is certainly what happened with Job, and it makes me think we should consider very carefully the source of our indignation when we begin pointing fingers of accusation at one another.
Case #3 – Satan Has an Accusation Dilemma
In Matthew 4, Jesus has been driven by the Spirit of God into the wilderness to be tempted by the accuser. Satan is now standing face to face with the Christ, the Messiah, and it presents him a dilemma.
Satan has accused God to man (humanity), and he has accused man to God, but here he faces the God-Man. What is he to do? Who can he accuse?
To solve his dilemma, Satan returned to the playbook that worked so well with Eve, the same one that works so well with us. He employs the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life. This is Satan’s best shot, like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with his Skyhook. He can’t miss!
Satan pressed the lust-of-the-flesh button on Jesus. “Jesus, you’re starving. Command this stone to become bread.” And despite Willie Nelson’s claim to the contrary, Jesus refused to do so. He did not turn stone to bread.
Satan tried the lust of the eyes. “Here, Jesus, plant your gaze upon all of the kingdoms of the world.” And make no mistake, this temptation was quite real. Satan absolutely could have given Jesus exactly what he proposed to give him. “The whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19b, NASB).
And finally, Satan drew on the pride of life. “Jump from the pinnacle of the temple, Jesus, and surely the Father will save you. Presume upon his care.” Satan pressured Jesus to give in to αλαζονεια (alazoneia), the swaggering boast of a braggart who is trying to convince others of his importance.
Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. – 1 John 2:15-16, NASB
I have it on the schedule to discuss “loving the world” more deeply in a future posting, but for now, just know that one of the most potent and effective tools in the devil’s toolbox is his ability to cause us to love the world system, to admire it, to want to emulate it, and be liked by it. We crave the approval of a system that can do nothing but build barriers between us and our God.
Be aware of the source of those cravings. They come from the evil one.
Next week we will look at more characteristics of Satan’s tactics as he attempts to lure us away from Jesus and into his fold.