What do you think of when you think of the devil’s work? A voice whispering sweet temptations in your ear? What about lies and “false witnesses”? The Greek word that is translated as “devil” is “diabolos“, which means “false accuser” or “slanderer”. This seems odd since we often think of the devil as someone who dangles sin tantalizingly in front of our noses. But let’s look at some of the devil’s work in Scripture.
1) Genesis 3:1-5
The first case comes from the story of the fall of man. When the devil, here called the serpent, approaches Eve, he starts with a question, “Did God really say not to eat from any tree in the garden?” Eve explains that there is only one tree they were commanded not to eat from because “they would surely die” if they did so. The devil responds by saying that they will not surely die but rather they will become like God, knowing good from evil. The devil makes two implications here. First, that God lied about Adam and Eve dying if they ate from the tree. And second, that God is unfairly and selfishly keeping something from them.
What we can see going on is that the devil is lying about God’s character, accusing Him of not having Adam and Eve’s best interests at heart, of lying, and of not being as good as He would have them believe.
2) Job 1:8-11, 2:3-5
In the story of Job, we see Satan at work once again. This time the angels come and present themselves before God and the devil comes as well. God asks Satan if he has heard of Job, who “fears God and shuns evil”. The devil’s response is to claim that Job is good only because God has been good to him and blessed him. Take that away, the devil says to God, and “he will surely curse You to Your face!” Later, after Job remains true to God after having all he has taken away, the devil claims that Job is only good because he still has his health. If that is taken away, says the devil to God, “he will surely curse you to your face!”
In both instances, the devil is accusing Job in front of God and claiming that he isn’t as good as God says he is. The devil makes false claims about Job’s character.
3) Luke 4:1-13
In the account of Christ’s temptation, we find the devil up to his usual tricks. The first two times that he tempts Jesus, he uses a formula that goes “If you are the Son of God, then do this.”
Satan is questioning Jesus’ identity and implicitly accusing Him of not being the Son of God by challenging Him to prove it.
Here we have 3 examples of Satan at work and a vital component each time is raising false accusations. We have no reason to think that he has changed his strategy and we find ourselves in positions similar to Adam and Eve, Job, and Jesus. Satan attacks us by using lies to accuse God and accuse us. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to be firmly grounded in God. We need to spend time with God by praying, reading His Word, worshiping, etc. so that we know what the Truth is. Namely that Christ died to free us from our sins (John 3:16), that we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), and that nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:35-39). If we know the Truth about God and ourselves, we will be able to see Satan’s lies for what they are.