Yes, God calls us to come out of wickedness and carnality, thus out of Babylon and not to be drawn to the devil as if we are answering the call of the Siren. Genesis 13 relates the story of Lot separating himself from his uncle, Abraham, and settling near Sodom. He did this despite the city’s reputation for immorality (Genesis 13:13). Eventually, Lot became so complacent that he moved into Sodom. Just before God destroyed the city, two angels urged Lot to evacuate. When he lingered, they physically dragged him and his family out of the city (Genesis 19:1–22). Obviously, he and his wife and two daughters had found Sodom somewhat attractive. Nevertheless, the attraction ended for Lot when the Lord turned the city, all its residents, and contents into heaps of ashes (Genesis 19:23–29). God has never commanded His people to be a part of the evil world system. His command is to be apart from the evil world system. Living “in” a fallen world does not mean living “like” those who are unbelievers (1 Corinthians 5:9–11). Second Corinthians 6:14 asks: “What partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” Sharing the sins of the evil world system, or being in close contact with it, leads to the tragedy of sharing its judgment.
The Assyrians in the time of the Jerusalem siege, operating surely as the mouthpiece of the serpent, promised life and not die. Like the devil they tried seduction and temptation to lure the Israelites to believe the deception, thus buying into a false sense of peace. They were promised a land of grain and new wine, and a land of bread and vineyards if they just yielded and submitted. Yet, this was a lie. The Assyrians were weaving deception, setting up the Israelites for a fall. This is also the ploy of the devil, counting on man’s pride to rebel against God. Indeed the Assyrians wanted the people of Judah to accept their peace treaty, just as the serpent still tells the children of God and those in the world it is alright to live lawlessly, to live for oneself, to live as if there is no tomorrow and that God is not real. And he promises people great joy, happiness and wealth if they eat from his forbidden knowledge, instead of abiding in God.
This is all part of the deception, which is nothing more than a false sense of peace that everything is just fine if we listen to the devil. In Ezekiel 13 we read of the false prophets: “10 Indeed, because they have seduced My people, saying, ‘Peace!’ when there is no peace.” Yes, the devil acts very much like a false prophet, promising peace but there is none. He raises and inspires spokespersons of this world to be his mouthpiece to declare such peace, when in reality there is only deception and destruction. The devil still seduces and tempts, for he is the master at such trickery. He still uses false prophecies to pain a different reality.
It was not alright for Adam and Eve to eat from the tree, and they fell into sin instead of living as the devil promised. They came out of God’s truth and presence, and embraced the peace treaty of the devil. Yes, they fell for the devil’s lies and seductions, and so they suffered for their choice, and so did the earth. Still today many suffer for they are seduced and tempted to eat from all things forbidden, believing they shall live and not die. The Israelites would have surely perished if they had listened to the Assyrians instead of the Lord, who eventually delivered them from the hand of the foe.
Yes, the devil promises life but this is a lie for he is the bringer of death (John 10:0). In Genesis 2 we read: “15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” And also “Genesis 3: 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3 but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” God promises life and gives life if we obey Him, if we stay true to His Word, and we yield and submit to Him. Yet He also says we shall die (this is not merely physical, but also spiritual malnourishment and the corruption of the soul) if we fail to follow and obey God. So God says follow Him, and we shall live, yet the devil says “follow me and you shall live”. Yet in reality is that if we follow the devil we shall die, for only in God is true life.
Thus, it boils down to whom you believe. The devil or God? For some in the church it seems it is becoming harder to discern the truth of God for the seduction of the devil. Some simply want to buy into the devil’s peace treaty and promises of bounty. The world has of course continued to abandon God, gratifying itself on the forbidden fruits, all the while thinking they are masters of their own fate and they shall not taste death. Yes, such is the foolishness weaved by the devil, and such is the power of seduction and deception. This is the nature of the devil – the great counterfeiter. Still today he offers the world all kinds of treasures, as he offered to Jesus in the wilderness the kingdoms of the world. Still today the devil tempts and seduces people to come out of God and out of His presence and to make ‘peace’ with him. Thus a covenant. Yet in such a peace treaty there is no peace. No life. Only destruction. Yet so many fall for his seductions, thinking he will truly give life, and great treasures and power.
God is the only one who gives life. But we need to obey His Word, His instructions and stay faithful and true to the Covenant of the Lamb. We must stay under the shadow of His wing, yielding and submitting, and not allowing ourselves to be drawn away and to embrace any other covenant or peace treaty. The devil offers all kinds of protection, prosperity and riches, but he is sly and a trickster of note.
To truly walk in victory in such trying times, we need to walk in the Spirit of the Lord, for this is the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might and the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11). In Him and by the Spirit, we know the truth, we walk by such reality and in the light of His Glory we navigate our path in a world of treachery and spiritual darkness. May we not be drawn away in such perilous times, but remain close to God, for in Him do we find true peace, real promises and everlasting security. Beyond the walls of His comfort is the army of darkness, seeking to devour and seeking to pounce. So yes, stay close to God and be ever faithful. Listen to God, and only to God. Stay true to the kingdom and forsake Babylon, no matter her seductions and temptations.