There are wicked men among my people. They are like men Who make nets for catching birds. But they set their traps to catch men instead of birds. Jeremiah 5:26 ICB
Have you ever noticed how hard spiders work to build their webs and how smart they are? Or have you ever thought about how clever a mouse trap baited with cheese is, or how far a fisherman will go just to catch a fish? Well stop & think about that this week as you consider how similar tactics are being used to lure you to your death at this very moment!
Last week we learned that we are not in a struggle against humans, but against the devil & evil spirits that work with him. We learned how the study of God’s Word and His “Armor” helps us to identify the characteristics & nature of the devil, no matter how he disguises himself or wherever he may be hiding. Along the way we also learned that when either we or other humans refuse to listen to and obey God, the devil’s influence can even hideout in our hearts, minds, emotions, attitudes and behavior. So this week we will learn that while we are not in a struggle against humans, this doesn’t mean that we don’t have to be careful as we interact with other humans. After all humanity has demonstrated both historically & in modern times that, as humans we can be influenced by evil.
God’s Word (the “sword of the Spirit”) teaches us that the wicked can be found anywhere, even embedded within religious, educational, & political environments. For example in Matthew 22:15-46 we learn that the Sadducees (a religious faction) and the Herodians (a political faction) set a trap to trick Jesus through a series of questions that were cleverly disguised as a friendly conversation. In John 8 we learn that the Sadducees also conspired with the teachers of the law (religious scholars) to in essence ‘kill two birds with one stone’ through an intricate web of cynical questions, self-righteous indignation, false teaching & vain philosophy. Of course Jesus did not get hooked by their bait because he was paying attention & covered in “the whole Armor of God.” In these two chapters we learn that while Jesus stood firm, spoke boldly and protected human life, He was also smart enough to know when it was time to stop and walk away.
On the other hand, we are often times easily distracted today and overlook clear signs that are front of us that scream, “No, STOP!” Too often we indiscriminately consume almost anything that is thrown in our path before carefully analyzing it or considering its source. Even worse, we seldom pay close attention or know when it’s time to walk away. Meanwhile wicked humans with destructive plots factor in our instinctive behavioral tendencies, emotions, attitudes and thoughts and then use them against us, just like the devil & the evil spirits that influence them. Then as a result of our lack of focus we carelessly chomp down on their strategically placed bait, and suddenly find ourselves caught in their ‘invisible’ trap or tangled up in their webs of deception.
Wrong Decisions Matter
While it is true that those who place traps for others will be held accountable for their actions, it is also true that we must accept accountability & responsibility for our own actions as well. For example, when Bubbles came home without her friend Fin she had to explain to their parents how they ended up in the lagoon when they were supposed to be in school. And although they were incredibly sad, their parents lovingly instructed Bubbles by helping her to complete the decision tree below. Ironically, when Bubbles finished the decision tree she was able to understand exactly what happened that day and how a combination of her decisions, a tendency to disobey, unbridled emotions, a poor attitude, naivety, and rash behavior contributed to producing such an unfortunate outcome.
My dear friends, many false prophets are in the world now. So do not believe every spirit. But test the spirits to see if they are from God. – 1 John 4:1
Practical Application: Never underestimate how your own choices & decisions can trap you. Do not take for granted the warning signs & instructions that God has provided. Don’t get distracted by the things you want or overlook clear signs that are in front of you that scream, “No, STOP!” Do not consume anything [physically, mentally or spiritually] that is thrown in your path before you carefully analyze it & identify its source. Stand firm, speak boldly & protect human life. Be smart enough to know when it’s time to stop & walk away. In prayer humbly ask God to show you how pride, greed, deception, disobedience, a lack of self-control and rash behavior endangers your life and those around you. Study God’s Word, listen to Him, obey Him, and accept His discipline as love! :)
Bait, Spider Webs & Mouse Traps is a part of an original Bible Study series by The Stimulus
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