Jesus said the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. By definition, a thief steals another person’s property. In the world, there are different kinds of thieves. There are professional robbers and petty thieves. A petty thief steals things not highly valued. That is, the value attached to the property is not worth much monetarily. However, your property may have a higher value to you than what is legally determined.
A professional thief steals as a business. This thief plans carefully and is very skilled at what he does. The professional thief’s objective is to steal valuable property. Something that is prized for its monetary value and rarity.
Jesus warned us in the scriptures about the thief. He told us to carefully watch our property because the thief comes to steal. Not only does the thief Jesus was talking about steal, but he also kills and destroys! That makes that thief not only a robber of property but a murderer and one who damages property.
Let’s take a look at this thief and how he operates. We see him in the book of Genesis.
Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. Genesis 3:1
From the beginning, the thief was called a serpent. Metaphorically this is significant. The serpent is cunning. It waits patiently to catch its pray and at the right moment it strikes.
Throughout history, the snake has been seen as a symbol of evil, power, chaos, fertility, life, healing, and rebirth.
The serpent thief is a usurper. One who steals dominion, throne, and rulership. The serpent in the garden of Eden steals God’s property through deception. He then takes over the joint!
This thief in the garden was sly. He had cased the situation for a long time. That is what a professional thief does. He plans very strategically. Sometimes for many years before making a move. He watches, takes note of who goes in and out, and looks for potential weaknesses. Then, when the time is right, the thief comes in to steal. In this particular situation, the thief steals through deception.
He uses something forbidden and looking good as bait!
To deceive somebody, there has to be a predisposed preponderance towards a particular vise. The serpent watched for a long time his victim. He had to have noticed her weakness to deposit doubt in the woman’s mind. First of all, he asked her a question. Did God say that you could eat of every tree of the garden?
In Genesis chapter 1, verse 17, God told this to Adam before he created Eve. That would mean that Eve received the command not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil from Adam. Making this second-hand information. Adam received the commandment straight from God’s mouth. Obviously, the serpent knew this. That made the woman an easier victim than the man. Therefore, he approached her with the challenge of God’s command.
The thief uses this same tactic today. Did God really say? Well, you know it is second-hand information, after all. That book could have been changed, altered somehow. How do you know for sure God said it?
The woman obviously needed to be more trusting. She could have said, My husband, told me that God told him. I have a good and reliable source so take a hike, serpent!
When we do not have a trusting relationship with God, we are susceptible to deception. The serpent can come along and challenge what we believe to be true. Did God really say?
Notice the following way in which the thief deceived the woman. But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. Genesis 3:4,5
The serpent basically told the woman that God was lying to her. Withholding something good. Not wanting her to be in the know. As you can see, from observation, the serpent knew that the woman was weaker in her faith than her husband.
The woman had trust issues. Somehow through observation, the serpent knew this. Notice then how the serpent appealed to the woman’s vanity.
So, when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Genesis 3:7
Trust issues many times are a result of rejection. The Bible does not explain why the woman felt rejected or left out. We can only speculate. We know that trust issues can cause us to doubt the sincerity of others. When we have trust issues with God, we doubt his word. We cannot believe that the Lord has his best interests in store for us. We somehow think God doesn’t care or that he loves others more than he loves us. When we think along those lines, we are a prime target for the serpent’s wiles.
The thief comes to steal. That is his objective. The serpent example tells us that if we don’t trust God’s word, the thief will bring something along to entice us into walking away from the Lord. He will bring something our way that looks good to our flesh. Something that appeals to our vanity and desire to be noticed.
What is a remedy for our rejection and trust issues? How can we guard against his deception?
Recognizing we have a weakness in that area for one thing but also to run to our Father in heaven! Cry out to him to shower us with his love and affection. He has promised to do that.
Draw near to me and I will draw near to you!
Seek his face. Confess your weakness. Make the Lord your refuge! Ask him to heal your insecurity!
I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have continued my faithfulness to you. Jeremiah 31:3
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