Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4)
Even though he intended for the woman and the man to eat of the forbidden fruit, never did the serpent say, “Eat it.” Instead, he skillfully spun his web and seduced her into eating it. The great Deceiver caused her to look at the forbidden tree in a totally different light, to the point that she longed for it.
But why didn’t he just force her to eat of the forbidden fruit, or better yet, understanding he longed for their annihilation, why didn’t he destroy her and Adam outright? Frankly, he couldn’t — he doesn’t have that kind of power. If he did, he would have destroyed them, the patriarchs and the nation of Israel a long time ago. But he knows he can’t do that to those God has blessed.
When Balaam attempted to curse Israel on three different occasions, he was forced to bless them instead. He told Balak:
“I have received a command to bless; He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it” (Numbers 23:20).
It seems pretty obvious that, if he could have cursed them, he would have, but again, the Adversary doesn’t possess that kind of power. However, there is something he can do and has been very successful at it for a long time — he can get God’s people to do to themselves what he can’t.
Rather than returning home, as he should have done, Balaam inspired Balak to seduce the sons of Israel with the beautiful daughters of Moab and Midian. The Bible says that many of God’s people went to a ceremonial meal with these women and ate things that had been dedicated to their gods. This resulted in a plague being poured out upon Israel that would have destroyed thousands more than it did if Phinehas had not put a stop to things.
The point is this: when God’s people suffer it is often because they have been led astray with their eyes. They look upon things that are forbidden and fall into the trap the Adversary has laid for them. He knows he can’t destroy us outright but he can set a trap designed to get us to bring a curse upon ourselves through our disobedience. Therefore, let us be alert and “Know the truth … and escape the snare of the devil” (2 Timothy 2:25-26).
Blessings and Shalom,