Friday, November 17, 2023

Imitation and Infiltration

These teachers oppose the truth just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses. They have depraved minds and a counterfeit faith. (2 Timothy 3:8 NLT)

God directed ten plagues against Egypt, and each one of these plagues dealt with one of their deities. The Egyptians worshipped thousands of gods. They worshipped the Nile River as a god. They worshipped the sun. And they worshipped the animals. In fact, they worshipped just about anything we could imagine.

Interestingly, the serpent, specifically the cobra, was an important symbol for the Egyptians. And what was the first miracle that God performed through Moses and Aaron? Aaron threw down his staff, and it turned into a serpent, which probably was a cobra.

Pharaoh’s magicians said they could do duplicate that, which they did. But Aaron’s staff consumed the magicians’ staffs. 

From this first miracle, God was saying to Pharaoh, “I am more powerful than you. My power is greater than your gods.” Still, Pharaoh didn’t believe. His heart only became harder.

Two of Satan’s most effective strategies are imitation and infiltration. He will try to stop a work altogether, but if that isn’t successful, then he will imitate. In this way, he seeks to minimize the power and glory of God and neutralize the impact of someone’s life and testimony.

For example, Jesus told a story about a farmer who sowed a field of wheat, but in the darkness of night, his neighbor came and sowed weeds among the wheat. This type of weed, also known as darnel, is almost identical to wheat in its initial stages of growth. To the undiscerning eye, it’s difficult to detect until later, when the weeds grow up and choke out the wheat.

The devil uses cheap imitations in the same way. How many times have people said the reason they aren’t Christians is because there are so many hypocrites in the church? That puts followers of Jesus Christ in the very uncomfortable position of trying to defend people who don’t live what they say they believe.

However, maybe they aren’t believers at all. Maybe they’re weeds among the wheat. See how effective that ploy could be? Someone who claims to be a follower of Jesus contradicts it by the way they live. Then a nonbeliever says that person is a hypocrite.

Yet who is to say that individual is a hypocrite—or even a Christian? Maybe the devil is using such a person for the very purpose of keeping nonbelievers from coming to faith.

The Bible tells us that Pharaoh’s’ magicians, known as Jannes and Jambres (see 2 Timothy 3:8), were imitating what God was doing, thus making it look as though it wasn’t genuine. And it was a very effective strategy.

We have to be careful. We’re living in critical times. While we read of many miracles in the Bible, no one ever claimed to have a miracle ministry. Believers in the early church answered God’s call to preach the gospel to nonbelievers and teach the truth of God’s Word.

Miracles happened when and where God wanted them to happen. This reminds us that signs and wonders should follow believers. But believers shouldn’t follow signs and wonders.

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