[The devil] is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44
The spotted lanternfly is a pretty insect with speckled outer wings and a splotch of bright red on its inner wings that flashes when it flies. But its beauty is a bit deceptive. This insect, first seen in the US in 2014, is considered invasive to North America, which means it has the potential to harm the environment and economy. The lanternfly will “eat the innards of practically any woody plant,” which includes cherry and other fruit trees, and leaves a sticky goo that leads to mold—killing trees outright or leaving them with little energy to grow fruit.
In the story of Adam and Eve, we learn of a different kind of menace. The serpent, Satan, deceived the couple into disobeying God and eating the forbidden fruit so they would “be like God” (Genesis 3:1–7). But why listen to a serpent? Did his words alone entice Eve, or was there also something attractive about him? Scripture hints at Satan being created beautiful (Ezekiel 28:12). Yet Satan fell by the same temptation he used to entice Eve: “I will make myself like [God]” (Isaiah 14:14; Ezekiel 28:9).
Any beauty Satan now has is used to deceive (Genesis 3:1; John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 11:14). Just as he fell, he seeks to pull others down—or keep them from growing. But we have someone far more powerful on our side! We can run to Jesus, our beautiful Savior.
When have you been deceived by a person or group’s seemingly attractive idea? What helps you to recognize deception?
Dear God, help me to weigh what I see and hear by the truths of the gospel. Thank You for triumphing over evil through the cross.
Genesis doesn’t identify the serpent in the garden of Eden as Satan. Only when the last book of the New Testament foresees a world engulfed in the violence of deception do the Scriptures directly link the dragon, the serpent, the devil, and Satan (Revelation 12:9; 20:2). In between there are hints. Along the way the voice of the enemy shows up in unexpected places. The hiss of accusing envy shows up in God’s meetings with His angels (Job 1:6–12). Nowhere, however, is there reason for more wonder than in John 3:14–15 where Jesus uses the imagery of the serpent to picture His own saving work. “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”