Dancing with the Devil

Exodus 8:25-28; 10:8-11, 24

The events surrounding the Ten Plagues of Exodus reveal the conflict between two kingdoms—God’s and the Devil’s. Egypt represents the world, Pharaoh typifies the Devil and Moses foreshadows Christ.

In Luke’s account of the temptation, there is an interesting sequence of words, which reveals the conflict, which Exodus pictures. Luke 4:5-7 reports—

The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours.”

The words for AUTHORITY and SPLENDOR can be translated POWER and GLORY. In effect, the Devil said, “For mine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory”—instead of THINE or YOURS. This is, of course, a flagrant challenge by Satan of the right of Christ to enter into the principality which Satan rules and claims possession. Satan, however, is like a squatter with a shack on the corner of a great estate who says to the Lord of the manor; “What are you doing in my yard?”

Christ answered the Devil with a verse from Scripture, which brought things back to their proper perspective—

“It is written: `Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.'”

In this verse, Christ rebukes Satan, announces the superiority and worth of God, and spurns utterly the offered compromise.

Pharaoh, a type of Satan, uses various tactics or devices in his attempt to defeat Moses, Aaron and the Israelites.

First, the King of Egypt used PERSECUTION; he killed the infant boys.

Second, he took away COMFORT, refusing to supply straw to make bricks, increasing the burden upon the Israelites.

Third, he brought DISCOURAGEMENT on all sides, as the Israelites no longer will listen to Moses and Aaron.

Fourth, he LIES repeatedly for his advantage; he will let the Israelites go, but then refuses.

Fifth, he used DECEPTION. His magicians duplicated the first three miraculous signs of staff to snake, water to blood, and the abundance of frogs.

When you look for the Devil do not forget to look in the pulpit! 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 warns—

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

Truth comes from the Word of God. Error comes from the pulpit. If you think it over, you will realize that this must be the case. Spiritual and religious errors are for the most part disseminated from the pulpit. It is the false doctrine or the void of biblical truth that is preached in thousands of sermons that gives tender to the false ideas held by the multitudes. The dividing line between truth and error is strictly on the question of the point of reference. There are those who appeal to something outside of the Word of God, and there are those of us who appeal entirely to the Word of God.

Let me show you the connection between what I just said and what we are studying in Exodus. It is Paul who links the Egyptian magicians this way in his prophecy of the last days in 2 Timothy 3:1-9—

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.

Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth—men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. Nevertheless, they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.

Now, it is necessary to note the nature of this resistance to the truth. The mode in which JANNES and JAMBRES withstood Moses was simply by imitating, as far as they were able, whatever he did. We do not find that they attributed Moses’ acts to a false or evil power, but rather they sought to neutralize their power upon the conscience, by doing the same things.

What Moses did they could do, so that after all there was no great difference! One was as good as the other. A miracle is a miracle. From this, we learn that most satanic resistance to God’s testimony in the world is offered by those who imitate the effects of the truth, HAVING A FORM OF GODLINESS BUT DENYING ITS POWER.

The three things which JANNES and JAMBRES were able to accomplish were characterized by satanic power, death, and uncleanness—that is to say snakes, blood, and frogs. It is significant with the fourth miraculous sign, the magicians were totally confounded. For it was a display of the nature’s humiliation.

As JANNES and JAMBRES withstood Moses, so do the proud, self-loving, world-seeking, pleasure-hunting, professors resist the truth in all times. The power of godliness involves self-denial and self-control. It involves the recognition of God’s claims, the implanting of His kingdom in the heart, and the consequent exhibition thereof in the whole life and character. It is walking the talk!

ALWAYS LEARNING BUT NEVER ABLE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE TRUTH is a sign of our age. People want TRUTH to be negotiable. Too many Christian leaders willingly oblige. They hesitate to speak with authority on matters where Scripture is plain. The lines of distinction between truth and error, wisdom and foolishness, and church and world are being obliterated in a frenzy of COMPROMISE.

When PERSECUTION, REMOVAL OF COMFORT, DISCOURAGEMENT, LIES and DECEPTION failed, Pharaoh turned to one of the Devil’s most effective tools—COMPROMISE. With any conflict, four possible choices lead to resolve or solution. The four are WITHDRAW, YIELD, WIN or COMPROMISE.

WITHDRAW is giving up on goals as well as developing relationship.

YIELD is maintaining relationship but sacrificing goals.

WIN is achieving goals but sacrificing relationship.

COMPROMISE is bargaining to reach a middle ground; it is where both sides give up some demands or makes concessions.

COMPROMISING lays open the danger of weakening or giving up one’s principles, ideals, or goals for reasons of expediency. When compromise involves doing other than God’s Revealed Will—it is always sin.

There has been a shift in our society from truth and proclaiming it. That shift is an accommodation to the unbelieving spirit of our age. Narrowness and dogmatism are unacceptable in a society that views truth as a personal matter. After all, existentialism rules out any universal truth. And that makes strong conviction seem haughty and inappropriate.

COMPROMISE is therefore what drives this pragmatic age. In most people’s minds, the very word COMPROMISE is rich with positive connotations. Obviously, in the realm of social and political discourse, compromise can be certainly helpful, even constructive. The art of compromise is the key to successful negotiations in business. And even in marriage, small compromises are often necessary for a healthy relationship.

But when it comes to biblical issues, moral principles, theological truth, divine revelation, and other spiritual absolutes, compromise in never appropriate.

I call such compromising, DANCING WITH THE DEVIL. To do anything less than the revealed will of God is to dance to the devil’s tune, not God’s.

Satan does not want to loose people to Christ. Pharaoh does not want to release the Israelites, so he offers four subtle compromises as solutions. He invites Moses to dance with the Devil.

The First Compromise: Worship God in the Land, 8:25-27—

Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “Go, sacrifice to your God here in the land.” But Moses said, “That would not be right. The sacrifices we offer the LORD our God would be detestable to the Egyptians. And if we offer sacrifices that are detestable in their eyes, will they not stone us? We must take a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the LORD our God, as he commands us.”

At first glance, Pharaoh seems to be subject to the authority of reason when he offers a compromise. But Yahweh’s command is not subject to compromise.

God demands complete separation from the world; the friendship of the world is enmity with God. Pharaoh’s offer is calculated to deceive. It is an offer of toleration on his part. Surely, there is room to worship all gods in Egypt. Surely, you can carry on your religion here as well as some place else.

The believer must “come out and be separate” according to 2 Corinthians 6:17. This is what Satan hates! He aims to get the believer to mix the world and the church. Sad to say—how well he has succeeded. For the most part, professing Christians have so assimilated their worship to Egyptian patterns, that instead of being hated by the world, they have taught men of the world to join in with them. Thus, the offense of the Cross in many churches is not present.

Press upon people the Divine need of the Cross—God’s judgment of sin; announce that by the Cross of Christ believers are crucified to the world; and the world’s enmity is at once aroused. Compromise and the world are not offended.

It would have been impossible to do what Pharaoh suggested. Additional compromises would have necessary for the Egyptians worshiped bulls, cows, goats, rams. They would have been offended if they saw the Israelites sacrificing their livestock to Yahweh.

Moses was not deceived and he did not waver—“We must take a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the LORD our God, as he commands us.” Worship is to be done God’s way! This is a major theme of Exodus. To worship God in Egypt would be a rank disobedience and cause tremendous friction.

Genesis 46:34 says, “FOR ALL SHEPHERDS ARE DETESTABLE TO THE EGYPTIANS.” If shepherds arouse hate, certainly the offering of sheep, goats, and bulls to Yahweh will also. Especially, since the Egyptians worship these beasts. The Israelites must separate themselves from Egypt to worship God’s way. Likewise, we must separate ourselves from the world to worship properly the LORD. The Word of God must regulate our worship and service, as well as everything else. Human opinions, human traditions, custom, convenience, have nothing to do with it. Divine revelation is our only Court of Appeal.

The Second Compromise: Do Not Go Too Far Away, Exodus 8:28—

Pharaoh said, “I will let you go to offer sacrifices to the LORD your God in the desert, but
you must not go very far. Now pray for me.”

Ah, that sounds promising. But mark his qualifying words carefully—YOU MUST NOT GO VERY FAR. Pharaoh was willing to lengthen the chain, but it was still a chain.

“Don’t be a fanatic!” says the Devil and the world. “It’s fine to have religion, but don’t get too serious about it.” Here we have the temptation to be “borderline believers,” trying to say close to the world and close to the LORD at the same time.

Satan does not want us to have complete liberty. He whispers, “If you want to be a Christian, do let it spoil your life.” There is no need to cut loose from your old friend, associations and bad habits. God does not want you to be long-faced and miserable. Why then abandon them?

YOU MUST NOT GO VERY FAR is incompatible with the first law of Christian life. The very purpose for which the LORD sent Moses to Pharaoh was to lead His people out of Egypt, and bring them into the Promised Land. Moreover, in this Moses was a type of the Lord Jesus. The Son of God left heaven for earth that He might take a people from earth to heaven—bringing them their first in spirit and heart, later in person. Listen to Colossians 3:1—

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.

Separation from this world in our interests, our affections, our ways, is the first law of the Christian life. 1 John 2:15 is clear—

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

The love, joy and peace God offers far exceeds this world’s. Become occupied with that which imparts a deeper, fuller, more lasting and satisfying joy than anything this poor world has to offer. Be absorbed with Proverbs 9:10—

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is
understanding.

Learn to know and understand the HOLY ONE, Jesus Christ, who is the fulfillment of Proverbs 9:10, through Bible study, prayer, worshiping and serving Him. When you delight yourself in Christ, His joy will be yours. Satan’s compromises will become ridiculous as Pharaoh’s were to Moses.

The Third Compromise: Only the Men Should Go, Exodus 10:8-11—

Then Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. “Go, worship the LORD your
God,” he said. “But just who will be going?” Moses answered, “We will go with our young and old, with our sons and daughters, and with our flocks and herds, because we are to celebrate a festival to the LORD.” Pharaoh said, “The LORD be with you—if I let you go, along with your women and children! Clearly you are bent on evil. No! Let only the men go; and worship the LORD, since that’s what you have been asking for.” Then Moses and Aaron were driven out of Pharaoh’s presence.

Satan is a liar—a master of twisting truth. Eight times Moses had said to Pharaoh that Yahweh says, “LET MY PEOPLE GO.” The word is PEOPLE, not MEN. But Pharaoh twists what God says like he did with Eve in the Garden. Moses was not asking for only the men to go, but for the people. Pharaoh thought Moses would bite on the compromise.

This meant leaving the wives and children in the world. Faith involves the whole family, not the men only. It is the privilege of the husband and father to lead the family into the blessings of the LORD. Satan, like Pharaoh, knows that if he can keep wives and children hostage, the men will return to them. Unsaved family members may become one of the greatest hindrances to worship. Satan is very subtle in his use of them. Keep you eyes open!

How many Christian become entangled in this snare. Professing the Lord, to have left Egypt, they allow their families to remain behind. Nowhere does one’s testimony begin to breakdown as it does in our families. Godly parents, whose walk is blameless, are seduced into permitting their children to practice things they would not allow in themselves, and thus to flood their houses with the sounds and sights of Egypt.

Be a Christian, says Satan, if you really must, but do no force religion upon members of your family, and especially do not tease your children with it. They are too young to understand such things. Let them be happy now; time enough for serious concerns when they grow up. If you press spiritual things upon them today, you will nauseate them, and drive them to infidelity.

Too many Christians heed the Evil One’s tempting voice. Family discipline is relaxed, the Scriptures are not given their proper place, the children are allowed to choose their own companions, and no real effort is made to bring them out of Egypt.

The training of children is a most solemn responsibility, and in these days of laxity, undisciplined, lawlessness, an increasingly serious problem. No little grace is needed to defy the general trend of our day and to take a firm stand. Just as the wise Gardner begins, while the trees are young and tender to train the branches, so should we begin with our children in their most tender years?

The first lines the Christian’s children should be taught are not nursery rhymes and fairy tales, but short stories from the Bible and appropriate verses of Scriptures. The first truths, which need to be pressed upon the little ones, are the claims that God has upon all His creatures—that He should be feared, loved, and obeyed. That the child is a lost sinner, in need of a Savior, cannot be taught to early.

If it were objected that he is too young to understand such things, the answer is, Salvation does not come to any through UNDERSTANDING, but through FAITH, and FAITH comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. To give children God’s Word is the binding duty of every Christian parent and grandparent.

When children are allowed to walk according to their own will and pleasure, the strides that they make along this road are alarmingly rapid, until they reach the terrible goal of despising their parents’ authority and trampling beneath their feet the holy order of God—turning society into a scene of godless misrule and confusion.

Children are, as a rule, very much, what we make them. If they are made to be obedient, they will be so; and if they are allowed to have their own way, the result will be accordingly.

Satan is shrewd. He knows that if he can keep the family from worshiping together, chaos in the family and society follows. Leaving the children in Egypt is allowing them to conform to this world. It is bringing them up not to FEAR THE LORD. It is ignoring the command of Ephesians 6:4—

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

It is the failure to follow in the footsteps of our Father Abraham of whom the LORD said in Genesis 18:19—

For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”

May fathers and mothers turn a deaf hear to Satan as Moses did. He was to wise to fall into Satan’s first three traps, so a fourth compromise is offered by Pharaoh.

The Fourth Compromise: Keep Your Possessions in Egypt, 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.”

Pharaoh’s strategy was to send Israel forth without ability to serve the LORD. Mark the word ONLY in his final compromise. “Go, worship the LORD. Even your women and children may go with you; ONLY leave your flocks and herds behind.”

The distraction of a divided heart, the vain effort to serve two masters, the miserable attempt to make the best of both worlds is suggested. The danger is real—where our treasure is, there will our hearts be also. If our possessions remain in Egypt, so will our affections.

The FLOCKS and HERDS constituted the principle part of what the Israelites owned. They speak then of our earthly possessions. The issue raised is whether God has a title to all that we have. Satan loves to get hold of our material wealth so that we cannot use it for the LORD. All that we have belongs to Christ. What a tragedy to rob God! To leave our “flocks and herds” for Satan to use!

In light of God’s Word, nothing we have is really ours! All is committed to us as a trusteeship. Moreover, it is right here so many fail. “Give yourselves to God if you must; but do not consecrate your possessions to His service” is the Devil’s final plea.

How much of what we have do we hold in sacred trust for Christ? Is not the greater part of it used to gratify self? God charged His chosen people with robbing Him of His tithes and offerings in Malachi 3:8. Don’t ever let such a charge be laid to you! When it comes to giving the LORD, it is to be the first part off the top of your income; no excuse will hold water with God.

The answer made by Moses, to this tempting by Pharaoh is very striking for it goes beyond tithes in Exodus 10:25-26—

But Moses said, “You must allow us to have sacrifices and burnt offerings to present to the LORD our God. Our livestock too must go with us; not a hoof is to be left behind. We have to use some of them in worshiping the LORD our God, and until we get there we will not know what we are to use to worship the LORD.”

Observe two things. First, NOT A HOOF IS TO BE LEFT BEHIND. All that they have is to be at the LORD’S disposal. Second, what they will need to sacrifice to Him in worship will not be known until they reach the desert. The mind of the LORD cannot be discerned as long as they remain in Egypt.

Moses refused each of these compromises because he could not compromise with Satan and the world and still please God. We need to be on guard against the Devil’s wiles. Let us faithfully recognize the fullness of God’s claims upon us, and then seek daily to walk worthy of our calling.

We may think that we have won a victory by pacifying the world, but we are mistaken. God demands total obedience, complete separation. This was to be affected by the blood the lamb and by the crossing of the Red Sea, which pictures Christ’s death on the cross and our resurrection with Him. Christ delivers us from “this present evil age” according to Galatians 1:4—

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.

All four of Pharaoh’s compromises represent a detour from the will of God. Since, Satan is clever, discernment is called for. Discernment demands that we hold biblical convictions with most fervent tenacity. There is no room for compromise in any area mandated by God.

Even Christians can thwart God’s laws when, they like the world, fail to obey His commands. Christians, however, are different from non-Christians in that they have experienced a second or new birth by the Holy Spirit. Christians are different not only because they are born again, but also because they experience a new estrangement.

Before becoming a Christian, we were an enemy of God; we loved the world and the world loved us. But once reconciled to God, we become estranged from the world. We live in the world, but are not of the world.

At the close of this century, we observe that the Devil through sly unobtrusive craft and deceit has our society dancing to his tune and with him. Compromise after compromise has eroded the Christian foundations we once held in this country.

Satan is the adversary and destroyer of man according to the Scriptures. He is intensely interested in defeating efforts to make biblical principles normative in any culture. The evil influences of non-Christian cultures and standards are important to Satan only insofar as they aid in the ultimate destruction of men’s souls. When wickedness abounds and God of necessity must step in to judge as he did in the days of Noah and Moses, Satan succeeds in populating hell.

This world is part of Satan’s dominion, which is in conflict with Christ’s kingdom. Christians becomes a part of God’s kingdom when they experience the new birth, but continue to live in the world. However, we not to identify with the world, instead we are to live up to the principles of the Kingdom of God.

In a world that rejects not only these principles but also their source, a fierce war is being waged against those who own allegiance to Christ. The issue is limited to two options—God or the Devil. There is no third possibility. Nor can these two basic options be synthesized. Both are adversaries with their own kingdoms. This means if you are committed to one option, but you practice what belongs to the other, you have compromised and you are deceived by the adversary. You are on his dance card.

It is difficult to imagine that anyone who has been born again and justified could or would opt in principle for conformity to the world. Anyone who does leaves open the question whether he has ever really experienced the grace of God. This person must ask himself seriously whether he is a Christian at all.

A true Christian is intent on holiness, not worldliness. WORLDLINESS is a frame of mind that leaves out the spiritual dimension and concentrates beyond the proper boundaries on temporal things. Indeed, it is anything that is contrary to the expressed will of God or which runs counter to the mind of Christ.

As Moses faced Pharaoh, a Christian must face the Devil and all his works and temptations. Like Moses, every Christian has a role and a mission to fulfill, the success of which depends on our choice of life style.

If we choose the life that pleases the Devil, we will be worldly. If we choose what pleases God, we will be spiritual. Being Christian does not exempt one from the temptations of the world, the flesh and the Devil. Yet like Moses, we must recognize the Devil’s clever compromises and not dance with him.

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