The Bible is God’s Word so it shouldn’t surprise us that He does not allow Satan, His adversary, many opportunities to speak. In fact, we only hear His evil voice a total of 3 times in all of Scripture.
The Bible is our blueprint for life and so even the recorded words of Satan can provide instruction for us as to what to avoid. Every good parent tells their children to avoid a sweet talking stranger. Satan is the sweet talking stranger to Truth and his voice is very different from God’s. Jesus reminds His disciples that His sheep “know His voice” (John 10). While that is true, it is also beneficial to recognize the voice of the Hireling so we may know when to be on guard. Too many Pastors and Counselors are really just “wolves in sheep’s clothing” and though they claim to be speaking God’s Word, does not mean they really are.
THE FIRST TIME Satan speaks can be found in the garden of Eden. He doesn’t waste any time approaching God’s prized creation and Earth’s first family. He embodies a serpent, the craftiest beast of the field, and begins a conversation with Eve.
Genesis 3:1-5: “Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'” The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
You will notice that the very first words out of Satan’s mouth are directed at mankind, attacking the truth of God’s Word and causing Eve to doubt God.
THE SECOND TIME the Devil speaks is found in the book of Job, chapter 1. In this passage, God initiates the conversation with Satan after he shows up with the angelic host as they are presenting themselves before God. God asks, “Have you considered my servant, Job?” Job was a righteous man, a blessed man, a rich man and was considered the “greatest man in all the East” and Satan is quick to remind God why. “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face.” (Job 1:9-11)
You will notice that the second time Satan speaks, he speaks directly with God, attacks His blessing of Job and tries to cause God to doubt man.
THE THIRD TIME the “tempter” speaks is recorded twice in the gospels, Matthew & Luke – both chapter 4. In this famous passage, Satan is given access to Christ in the midst of His 40 day fast. Physically weak and extremely vulnerable, Jesus is led to this encounter by the Spirit for the purpose of temptation. Not being one to miss an opportunity, Satan hones in on the hunger pains of Christ, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” Though we only know about two other specific temptations during this time, I suspect that Satan attacked all day, every day for 40 days. If I embodied true evil and had my enemy in such a vulnerable position, I would come at him relentlessly seizing the great opportunity. If that is true, it certainly makes you appreciate Christ’s faithful resistance to the evil one. No wonder the writer of Hebrews is able to say He has “been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” (4:13)
You will notice that this last time Satan is allowed to speak, he speaks directly with Christ, attacks the power of God & tries to cause the Son to doubt the Father.
There are two other times in Scripture where we know Satan is speaking, though his specific words are not quoted. Zechariah chapter 3 and Jude chapter 9. In Zechariah, he is standing next to Joshua, the High Priest – ready to accuse him before God. In Jude we find “Michael, the archangel disputing with the devil and arguing about the body of Moses.” (9) In both cases, he was rebuked by the Lord’s angel, their heavenly voice silencing his hellish one.
Even as the angels continue to present themselves to God, Satan continues to tag along today. When God initiates the conversation and asks Satan if he’s ever considered YOU, Satan reminds him of your lustful thoughts, bad words and improper deeds. He points out your faults and he questions your sincerity. He reminds God of your public sins and your private inappropriate thoughts. Unfortunately, there is no lack of evidence against you. As Satan finishes with glee in his eyes, God glances towards Christ, the Advocate, for a response. Jesus nods and agrees with Satan. It is all true. Everything the accuser has said about you is true. It is the ONLY time that Satan will tell the whole truth – when he is pointing out your sins before a Holy God. And then underneath a radiant white robe, Jesus slowly reveals the scars on His hands. The Savior reminds the heavenly courtroom that all those sins were paid in full – on the cross – for those who trust in Him. Satan slithers away, the case is dismissed and you remain in good standing before God, “not on the basis of deeds which you have done in righteousness, but according to His great mercy.” (Titus 3:5)
Satan still speaks today and it would be in our best interest to recognize when. Whenever you hear God’s Word attacked or contradicted, he is speaking. Whenever God’s Word is being doubted or twisted, his forked tongue is moving. Whenever God’s Word is mocked or dismissed, Satan is not far away enjoying a brief victory. He speaks through neighbors and friends, parents and siblings, teachers and classmates, sitcoms and cinema, celebrities and musical lyrics, pastors and priests. Just like he spoke through Peter (Matthew 16:23), too often I fear he speaks through me.
Don’t let his accusatory words into your head. Though his accusations about you may be true, they are also spoken in the past tense. Those words may have been true about you last year, last month or even yesterday. But today is a new day. Want a word from God? Open His book and read. A closed Bible is akin to covering the mouth of God. As Jesus showed during His temptation, it is the ONLY way to protect yourself from the accusing voice of the serpent.