(Here is a short message from Michael Larsen, in place of a live message, as our church service was not held on January 31, 2021.)
Lately, Pastor Paul has been teaching from the book of Ephesians about our spiritual armor and how Satan attacks us with flaming arrows. Fighting spiritual battles is hard! Sometimes it’s very hard to live as a Christian in an un-Christian world. There are temptations to sin all around us. Sometimes they are obvious and sometimes not. The world constantly tries to get us to compromise our beliefs and values. Compromising with people is a necessary part of social life. We need to compromise when choosing a restaurant or making decisions at work. But we should never compromise about God’s direction for our life. Compromising with the Prince of this World robs us of our power in Christ.
When two sports teams are getting ready to play one another, they plan a strategy for winning. Countries plan a strategy for winning before they go to war. Likewise, Satan has a strategy to defeat us. We can see an example of this strategy in the book of Exodus.
Exodus chapter 5 opens with a confrontation between Moses and the Pharaoh of Egypt. Moses went to Pharaoh to demand freedom for God’s people, Israel. Pharaoh responded with a 4-fold strategy to keep the people in bondage. Satan uses this same strategy to keep us under his control.
Satan’s overall strategy is to get us to compromise. We see this first when Pharaoh gave this command in Exodus 5:9, “Make the work harder for the men so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies."
1. Satan’s first strategy to get us to compromise is to make the burdens on God’s people heavier so that they would think that God’s promises were “lies.”
Satan does the same to us. Just before we are about to be freed by God’s power, Satan puts more burdens on us so that we will think God’s words are not true. This strategy against Israel began to work. The people began to doubt and become discouraged. Exodus 6:9 says “the people did not listen to (Moses) because of their discouragement.” Satan wants us to become discouraged. We must be aware of Satan’s strategy so that we can prepare for it. If God gives you a promise, for example, healing, Satan will immediately try to make you feel worse. We must learn to expect an attack from Satan when we receive a promise from God. Otherwise, we will become discouraged and began to think God’s words are not true.
After this the people of Egypt suffered many plagues and miracles from God.
2. Satan’s second strategy to get us to compromise is to duplicate the miracles of God.
Exodus 7:11 says, “Pharaoh then summoned wise men and sorcerers, and the Egyptian magicians also did the same things by their secret arts.” Satan will try to make us think that there is really nothing special about God’s promises and power. He does this to try to confuse us. Of course, Moses did not give up, so Pharaoh offered a compromise. In Exodus 8:25 Pharaoh said, “Go, sacrifice to your God here in the land.”
3. Satan’s third strategy to get us to compromise is to get us to lose our vision of the Promised Land.
When Satan sees that we determined to serve the Lord, he will try to make us think that we can serve God even though we remain in bondage to the ways of this world. We think that we can still continue in our sins as long as we go to church and say that we are believers. Moses was not deceived by this strategy and we should not be, either. Moses insisted that they had to travel outside of Egypt in order to make their sacrifices. So Pharaoh offered another compromise in Exodus 8:28: “I will let you go to offer sacrifices to the LORD your God in the desert, but you must not go very far."
When you try to break free from the world to serve God, some people might say you are going too far. Satan wants to keep us in bondage. But if he can’t do that, he will try to make us compromise to keep us in bondage as much as possible. When we lose our vision, we will just wander in the wilderness. God called his people to do more than just leave Egypt. He wanted to take them to the Promised Land. God doesn’t just want to free you from bondage to sin. He wants you to experience an abundant life of blessings. We must stay focused on our vision or we will become distracted by worldly matters.
After more demonstrations of God’s power, Pharaoh tried another compromise in Exodus 10:24: “Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and said, "Go, worship the LORD. Even your women and children may go with you; only leave your flocks and herds behind."
4. Satan’s fourth and final attempt at getting us to compromise is to have us leave something in Egypt.
Satan knows he can defeat us if we will compromise a little, but Moses was not fooled. In Exodus 10:26 he responds, “Our livestock too must go with us; not a hoof is to be left behind.” Moses continued to focus n the call and vision of God. Pharaoh kept offering compromises. He knew that if he could get Moses to compromise even a little that he would maintain control over him. Jesus warns us against this strategy in Matthew 6:21: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
In this confrontation between Moses and Pharaoh, we have a clear example of Satan’s strategy for keeping God’s people in bondage.
1. His first goal is to make us doubt and become discouraged.
2. He tries to confuse us by counterfeiting God’s power.
3. He tries to make us lose our vision of the Promised Land.
4. Satan does all this because he knows compromise = defeat for Christians.
Even though Moses did not give in to the Pharaoh’s compromises, Pharaoh did not give up. He did not let God’s people go without a fight. Neither will Satan give up as we try to free ourselves from sin on the path to the Promised Land. Pharaoh did not let the people go. They were freed by the power of God. We too must understand that we can become free from sin not by Satan’s permission or by our own effort, but by God’s power. It was God’s power that destroyed Pharaoh and set the people free. Not only that, but Exodus 12:36 tells us that the treasures of Egypt were given to God’s people.
Do not become discouraged by Satan’s attacks on you. Don’t let him confuse you or cause you to lose your vision of a victorious Christian life. Satan cannot defeat us if we refuse to compromise with him.