These words of the LORD YESHUA are found in Matthew chapter 18 verse 9, and what He means is, 'If there is anything that stumbles you, throw it away, even though you're depriving yourself.' The methods of the devil! That's how Adam and Eve fell. Remember his first question: 'Yes, is it true? Has GOD really said it?' And this is the kind of thing that we have over and over again repeated in false teaching. 'Are you sure that's what GOD meant?' Questioning the truth of GOD's Word.
The devil tried it on our Messiah. 'If You are the Son of GOD;' if this, and if that; questioning the Truth. And every time, what did YESHUA do? He said,
'It is written.' There are some foolish people who think that all we need is the New Testament. Isn't it interesting what Messiah answered the devil? He quoted from the Books of Moses. So we need the whole Bible.
And in Ephesians chapter 6
'The whole armour of GOD,'means all the Word of GOD, from Genesis to Revelation. We can't leave anything out. Even as someone facetiously put it, 'The 'thee's' and the 'thou's' and the 'who begat's'. You take the genealogies as well, because you will find that they are very important in their own way. For example, we look down the genealogies and we find GOD mentions some, and then puts them aside, and then He focuses on others. What's He doing? He's pointing us out the line of the Messiah to come. The genealogy that really counts, and various other reasons as well.
How does the devil overthrow people? He attacks us at our strong points. Those points that we feel we don't need to guard. Abraham was a man that was eminent for his faith. He is called, 'the friend of GOD,' a man of real faith; but his faith failed him; the devil tripped him up. He said about Sarai, 'She is my sister.' He didn't have the faith to trust GOD to protect him against those unGodly Philistines and Egyptians. He resorted to a lie. The devil tripped him up. What about Job? Job is exemplary for his patience, and yet we find, over and over again, before the LORD came to him, how he said things in his impatience so that he afterwards said,
'I lay my hand upon my mouth. I abhor myself.' 'I repent in dust and ashes; I should never have said what I did. I will speak no more.' Moses, the meekest man in all the world; and yet, what do we read about Moses? He lost his temper. He struck the rock, and as our brother, Marshall, pointed out, that was the reason why he did not enter the Promised Land, because he disobeyed GOD when he knew better. So the devil attacks us at our strong points. We know our weak points and we guard them. But beware, the devil is waiting for an opportunity to attack you where you are strong; where you feel you don't need any extra protection. That's where he gets you!
Another thing he does is after great blessings. Have you experienced a great blessing from GOD? That's the time the devil will come and make you feel, 'Oh great, now the danger is past.' He'll come and make you fall. Noah survived the flood; he came through handsomely. But after that, he got careless; he drank too much wine; he got drunk. After blessings, redouble your guard! Guard those blessings that GOD has given you; don't let them turn your head. Even Shaul said, '(Paul), I had so many revelations; GOD had to send something terrible into my life to keep my feet on the ground, or I would have been too proud. I would have been exalted above measure. I would have fallen into the sin of pride. So GOD sent me a messenger of satan to buffet me.' Even Shaul! How much more then you and me? We see how we have to beware when blessings come; thank GOD for them, and then pray to GOD, 'Help me to stay true to You so that these blessings don't turn my head; so that I don't become proud; so that I don't become careless; so that I don't dishonour You.'
One great man of GOD said, 'GOD would bless you and me a lot more, if He could trust us! If He could trust us with those blessings!' But, oh, we are so prone to get proud and stick our nose in the air; strut everywhere like peacocks. So GOD says, 'It is better for them that I give them a little less, so that they keep their feet on the ground. Because if I give them more, they are going to drop themselves right in it, and they're going to have a lot of pain.' Isn't that terrible? What deceitful hearts we have!
The devil also tempts us to despair. In Psalm 77, Asaph, the Psalmist, says,
'I am so troubled I couldn't speak; I remembered GOD and was troubled, and my spirit was overwhelmed.' Here is Asaph, a singer in the Temple, who was overwhelmed with despair. And what did GOD do to Asaph? We read in the following verses, GOD gave him a dose of insomnia! Asaph couldn't sleep; he thought, 'I'll forget my troubles and sleep.' GOD wouldn't let him sleep. Until at last He got Asaph thinking right. And once Asaph got thinking right; he began to face his problems and to realize that GOD was still there, and GOD was ready to listen to his prayers.
Beware of this temptation to despair. It doesn't come from GOD; it comes from the devil. And sometimes the devil will pretend that you have defeated him. Like Joshua, when he went up against Ai; he had an ambush for the city, but he said to his soldiers, 'Let's pretend that we are fleeing from them!' So they took off and ran, and their enemies fell for it. It's a trick as old as the hills. I don't know why those soldiers in Ai, the city of Ai, should have fallen for it, but they did. And then when they were drawn out of the city, the ambush got in to the city and set it on fire.
The devil does that with you and me. Beware! When we think he has fled from us! The LORD JESUS, YESHUA, we read about Him that afterwards the devil left Him, but just for a little while. Not for good. What are the remedies? The Word of GOD; regular reading of the Word of GOD; prayer, steady prayer, daily prayer; speak to GOD, make Him your friend; make Him your Confidant; and an obedient walk.