Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, Yes, has God said…
Here is the devil — that apostate spirit — that accursed being — that arch rebel — that daring adversary of God — that merciless foe of man. Eden's serpent truly is the devil. His work declares him. God's Word denounces him.
1. The devil is a real person. This relation is no myth — no dream — no vision — no fable — no allegory. It narrates the real conduct of a real person. Works prove a workman. Acts show an agent. So real performances stamp a real devil. Watch then, and pray. He is always personally near; for he "walketh about seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8). Bar the portals of your heart. He seeks to make that heart his personal home. He is the "spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience" (Ephesians 2:2).
2. The devil is a hater of God. Who hates God most? Surely he who most contravenes His will. Of the devil's antecedent rebellion nothing should be said, for nothing can be proved. But here a patent fact evidences his enmity. He aims directly to upset God's plans. He arms himself in the panoply of bold opposition. Thus he schemes; thus he uplifts his arm boldly to fight against God. See, then, how he hates God. Reader, you profess to love God. Where is your evidence? Do you abhor the fiend, who from the beginning has strained his every power to subvert God's kingdom?
3. The devil is a hater of man. Who hates man most? Surely he who most contrives his misery. In Eden there was sweet bliss. Every faculty was the inlet of God. Every thought — full of Him — was only joy. Satan beholds and writhes. What I shall man share the peace which he has lost: and joy in joys, which never can be his again? Such bliss is torture to him. He will not rest till he uproot it. Sad that the sons of men should ]end their ears so gladly to their deadliest foe, and drink so readily this viper's poison! What madness to court the embrace of such an enemy — to admit the sure murderer to our abode — to open the door to the known robber!
4. The devil is most daring. Truly nothing daunts him. His case is hopeless, therefore he is reckless.
5. The devil is consummate in skill. He watches for the fit opportunity; and then applies the fit snare.
6. The devil shrinks not from the blackest sin. His first appearance shows that there is no iniquity so foul, but he will handle it; no depth of evil so profound, but he will fathom it. He commences with trampling down all truth. "Ye shall not surely die." He rises upon earth the meridian orb of crime. He blushes not — nor trembles — nor pauses — nor scruples. His earliest words are the lie of lies. So now he allures each victim to the extremest extremity of evil.
7. The devil has awful power. Weak agents fail. Difficulties baffle them. But he is not baffled. His first victory was hard to win. But he quickly won it. Reader, beware. All his mighty arts plot your destruction.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?