2 Kings 18
Have you ever noticed that for everything God offers, Satan has a counterfeit? And usually, it sounds pretty good. So good that, sometimes, it can be hard to distinguish the right from the wrong. Instead of trying to decide between black and white, it’s more like trying to decide between white and off-white.
So, what made me think of this? Check out these verses from the chapter: "Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to trust in the Lord when he says, 'The Lord will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.' Do not listen to Hezekiah. This is what the king of Assyria says: Make peace with me and come out to me. Then each of you will eat fruit from your own vine and fig tree and drink water from your own cistern, until I come and take you to a land like your own—a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey. Choose life and not death!" (vs 30-32)
Doesn’t that sound familiar? Isn’t this almost exactly what God said to the Israelites when He was preparing to take them into the Promised Land? Didn’t He tell them that if they followed Him, He would make sure they had the best of everything in a land flowing with milk and honey? Didn’t He implore them to choose life and not death?!
The king of Assyria was asking the Israelites to do the very same things, but unfortunately, he was trying to promise what only God can promise. It was all just a ploy to get them to surrender. And if they had done that, I am willing to bet that things would have looked very different from what he had promised.
Then again, it’s always that way with Satan’s claims, isn’t it? He promises that things will be so much better if we will just do what he says. But once we give in, we find that things are anything but better. (In fact, that’s what Adam and Eve found out the hard way. They thought that by eating the forbidden fruit, they would gain something. Instead, they lost a whole lot.)
Remarkably, though, God is so interested in freedom that He doesn’t squash the competition. He is so committed to our being able to choose that He allows Satan to make these bogus claims—even when they sound exactly like what God promises! Now, to be fair, God doesn’t just leave us in the dark, trying to figure out the right way to go. He always provides us with sound evidence so that we know—beyond a shadow of a doubt—which way is right and which way is wrong. But if we are determined to go after evil, He leaves that option available to us. He doesn’t squash the competition!