The Devil’s Math

October 25, 2010 at 9:00 am | Posted in Bible Studies | 25 Comments
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Christians believe in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is grievous when Christians who are not always overly-emotional in their outward appearance during congregational worship are accused of replacing the Holy Spirit with the holy Bible. True Christians do not worship a book, but we must not minimize the importance of the Book. After all, the Holy Ghost wrote the Holy Bible!

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

Proverbs 29:18

There are different kinds of “vision.” In one sense a “vision” is a goal or projected outcome that cannot yet be seen with physical eyes. But most of the time “vision” refers exactly to what is seen.

The “vision” spoken of in Proverbs 29:18 is determined by comparing what is sensed to what is revealed. Those with no vision perish; those who keep the law are happy. Therefore, we’re talking about revealed vision: that which can be seen in God’s law – His written Word.

“Perish” usually means to die, but here it has a connotation of people being cut loose from that which held them back. I know it is common in church services today for people to be told to “get free” in worship, but we must never try to free ourselves from God’s Word. When people run unrestrained, they run to their doom.

God’s math is simple:

Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

Deuteronomy 4:2

What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.

Deuteronomy 12:32

God says don’t add to His Word and don’t subtract from His Word. God’s Word is perfect and complete.

The devil’s math is a little more fuzzy.

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?

Genesis 3:1

First the devil says, “Hey, let’s discuss God’s Word – did He really say that?” When the devil questioned God’s Word he tricked Eve into following his example.

Here is what God had really said:

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Genesis 2:16-17

Here is Eve’s subtle alteration:

And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

Genesis 3:2-3

She subtracted from God’s Word. She added to God’s Word. Finally, she changed God’s Word. That’s what will happen every time we begin to question the wisdom or the veracity of what God says in the Bible.

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

Genesis 3:4, emphasis added

The change will become a direct contradiction. No one who understands even the most basic concepts about the attributes of God would deny that the Bible is inerrant – that it is perfect and infallible. So, let’s not wait until we’re in trouble to find out what it says – or to do what it says.

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Psalm 119:11

Principle: the right thing (“Thy word”)
Position: in the right place (“in mine heart”)
Purpose: for the right reason (“that I might not sin against thee”)

The principle is what you live by. The position tells us that it’s good to have a Bible in our hands, and better to have its Words in our heads, but best to have them in our hearts. What’s in your heart is not just what you know – it’s what you know and love. The purpose reminds us that sin can hurt others, sin can hurt me, but the worst thing about sin is what it says about God. Every time we sin, we say, “Thank you, Lord, for inviting me to Your banquet, for killing the Lamb, for my wonderful robe of righteousness, for letting me sit right at Your throne and enjoy all Your riches, but, now that I’m here, I think I’ll spit in Your face, break Your cups and dishes, and defile Your temple.”

Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

Proverbs 30:5-6

Don’t add to, subtract from, or change God’s Word. It’s perfect. A shield protects you from danger before the danger hits you. A shield works better before a wound than after.


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