Keep the Serpent Out of Your Garden
My good friend, Chuck Pierce, told me recently I needed to revisit and teach from my book, Watchman Prayer. Chuck said it was more important now than when I wrote it 20 years ago. A couple of weeks back Gene Bailey and our friends at Flashpoint also mentioned the book. Gene said watchmen prayer is what he feels the upcoming Flashpoint Live in Atlanta is all about. This gathering on July 1 is so important. Please join us either in person or on the Victory Channel. You can find out more here.
With these confirmations in mind, over the coming weeks, I am planning to teach occasionally about being watchmen for our nation, families, and leaders here on Give Him 15.
Satan takes advantage of us when we are not functioning as watchmen, as is made clear in the following verse: “In order that no advantage be taken of us by satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes” (2 Corinthians 2:11). The context of this verse is forgiveness, but a general principle is also revealed. Let’s analyze the verse more closely.
The word “ignorant” is from the Greek verb agnoeo, which means to be “without knowledge or understanding of.”(1) Our English word “agnostic” is derived from it. Technically, an agnostic is not a person who is unsure if he or she believes in God, although we now use the word almost exclusively in this way. In actuality, an agnostic is a person without knowledge or understanding, regardless of the subject. We also get the word “ignore” from the same Greek word. In this verse, we’re urged not to ignore or be an agnostic - without understanding - where the devil is concerned.
“Schemes” is from the word noema, which literally means “thought.” The verse is saying, “Don’t be without understanding of the way satan thinks.” Noema came to also mean “plans, schemes, plots, devices”(2) because these things are born in the thoughts of the mind. For greater insight, let’s insert all of these concepts back into the verse: “Don’t be without understanding of the way your enemy thinks and operates - of his plans, plots, schemes, and devices.” By the way, is there not also a promise in this warning? If God says we must not be ignorant of satan’s schemes, He is obviously willing to reveal them to us.
What will happen if we are unaware of satan’s schemes? The verse says he’ll take advantage of us. The word “advantage” is derived from pleonekteo, which is a compound word meaning literally “to have or hold the greater portion” (pleon - “the greater part”; echo - “to have or hold”).(3) It is easy to see why this is the word for “covet.” It also means “overreach.”(4) In boxing, the person who has a longer reach has the advantage and usually gets in more blows.
The word pleonekteo is also translated “make a gain”; satan makes a lot of gains on those who are unaware of his ways. The Greek scholar, Bullinger, says pleonekteo means “to make a prey of, to defraud.”(5) Let’s use all of these definitions to translate the verse: “To the degree we are ignorant of the way our adversary thinks and operates - of his plans, plots, schemes and devices - to that degree he will gain on us, prey on us, defraud us of what is ours and have or hold the greater portion.”
The greater portion of what? Whatever! Our homes, marriages, families, communities, money, government, nation, and more. In the 1970s and 1980s, the church in America was without understanding of what satan was planning in our education system and he took the greater portion of our schools. The same could be said of our government.
Paul was taken advantage of by satan in 1 Thessalonians 2:18. Satan gained on him (plenekteo) in the ongoing war over spreading the gospel: “For we wanted to come to you - I, Paul, more than once - and yet satan thwarted us.” We know Paul won more battles than he lost, but he was human and at times satan succeeded in thwarting his plans. Please notice the verse doesn’t say God changed His mind about where Paul was to go. It clearly says satan hindered him. Those who would have us think that satan can do nothing except what God allows and, therefore, we are to simply ignore him, are misled. God doesn’t ignore the devil and neither should we.
And satan certainly does a lot of things God doesn’t “allow” him to do. The only sense in which it can be said that God allows everything which occurs on earth is that He created the laws and principles - sowing and reaping, cause and effect, and the free will of humans - that govern the earth. We, however, implement these principles and determine much of what we reap and experience. Satan understands these laws also, and uses them to his advantage whenever possible. (6)
The first example of failing to keep watch in the Bible was by Adam. God told him in Genesis 2:15 to “keep” the garden. The word “keep” is the Hebrew word shamar, which is one of the three Old Testament words used for a watchman. One of the main concepts of the word involves protection and preservation.
Adam was told to protect the garden, watching for attacks from the evil one, the serpent. Why do I assert this? Because first of all, it is much in keeping with the nature of God to have warned Adam. Not to have done so would have been inconsistent with God’s character. Second, neither Adam nor Eve seemed shocked when a snake talked to them. It evidently didn’t surprise them; they knew about the serpent! Third, what else could there have been before the Fall to guard, keep, or protect the garden from? Only the serpent.(7) From this first mention of the responsibility of watchmen, we can see that their first responsibility is to keep the serpent out of their God-given gardens.
The serpent is always interloping, seeking to grab the greater portion. He has sunk his venomous fangs into many portions of America and the world. The fruit of his poisonous venom is evil and deadly.
Pray with me:
Father, our lack of understanding has enabled satan to take advantage of us in numerous ways. You are giving us the understanding that this does NOT have to be the case. Holy Spirit is willing and ready to alert us to our enemy’s plans and schemes as he attempts to steal, kill and destroy. He will reveal what is happening behind the scenes and show us how to pray.
We ask for increased revelation of how to be watchmen for our families, homes, friends, leaders, and nations. Teach us more about this privilege. Help us to become more sensitive to the promptings of Holy Spirit as He alerts us to the plans of satan.
And regarding our nation, You are awakening the Ekklesia to our responsibility of watching over our government, our schools and children, our cities, etc. We were asleep for many years and satan gained a great advantage. But we are now understanding our authority and taking back what he has stolen. You said in Scripture You would make Baal vomit up what he had stolen (Jeremiah 51:44). We will take back our schools, our children, our government, and our nation, in the name of Jesus!
We decree that the hold of the serpent is being broken and we are retaking what he has stolen.
Today’s post was taken from my book Watchman Prayer.
Click on the link below to watch the full video.
Dutch Sheets, Watchman Prayer (Grand Rapids, MI: Bethany House Publishers, 2014), pp 15-21.
1. Ethelbert W. Bullinger, A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1975), p. 400.
2. Spiros Zodhiates, Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible - New American Standard, rev. Ed. (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 19990), p. 1797.
3. Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary (Iowa Falls, IA: Word Bible Publishers, 1992), p. 1173
4. James Strong, The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1990), ref. No. 4122.
5. Bullinger, Critical Lexicon and Concordance, p. 28.
6. Dutch Sheets, Intercessory Prayer (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1996), pp. 138-140.
7. Ibid., p. 244.