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January 12, 2024

The Price of Ignorance


Satan takes advantage of our ignorance, which the following verse reveals: “So that no advantage be taken of us by satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes” (2 Corinthians 2:11 NASB). The context of the verse is forgiveness, but a general and very important principle is also revealed. Let’s analyze the verse more closely.


The word “ignorant” is from the Greek word 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 unsure if they believe in God, though we now use the word primarily in this way. Actually, an agnostic is one who is ignorant or without understanding of any given subject. We also get our word “ignore” from the same root. In this verse, we are urged not to ignore or be an agnostic - without understanding - where the devil is concerned.


“Schemes” is from the word noema,(2) which literally means “a thought.” The verse is saying, “Don’t be without understanding of the way satan thinks.” However, noema also came to mean “plans, schemes, plots, devices” because these things originate in our thoughts. For greater insight, let’s insert all of these concepts into the verse: “Don’t be without understanding of the way satan thinks and operates - his plans, plots, schemes, and devices.” There is also a subtle promise in this command. Since God says we are not to be ignorant of satan’s plans and schemes, He is obviously willing to teach us how satan operates and, when necessary, even supernaturally reveal His plans to us. God doesn’t want us to be caught off guard.


What happens if we ARE unaware of satan’s schemes? The verse tells us he will take advantage of us. “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 a word for “covet.” It also means “overreach.”(4)


In boxing, the person who has the longer reach holds the advantage and usually gets in more blows. The word pleonekteo is also translated as “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 put all of these definitions together: “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.” Wow! Ignorance ain’t good!


An obvious question is, “He will gain the greater portion of what? The answer would include many things: our jobs, marriages, families, communities, money, government, nation, and more. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Church in America was without an understanding of satan’s plans, and he took the greater portion of our educational system. The same could be said of our government and much more in our nation! The church was asleep, unaware of what satan was doing, and he grabbed the bigger portion of American society and culture. The demise has been shocking.


Paul was taken advantage of in 1 Thessalonians 2:18. Satan “made a “gain” on him in the ongoing war over spreading the Gospel: “For we wanted to come to you - I, Paul, more than once - and yet satan hindered us.” We know Paul won more battles than he lost. He was human, however, and at times satan succeeded in thwarting his plans. The verse does NOT say God changed His mind about where He wanted Paul to travel. It clearly says satan hindered him. Those who believe satan can do nothing except what God allows and, therefore, we can simply ignore him should rethink their position. God does not ignore the devil, and neither should we. And satan certainly does a lot of things God does not directly “allow” him to do.


The Lord established the laws and principles governing the earth - sowing and reaping, cause and effect, the free will of humans, etc. - and we humans implement those principles. Ignorance of them can be costly (Hosea 4:6).


The good news is that God created a movement - also in the 60s and 70s - in which He restored the 5-fold ministry gift of teachers to the church (Ephesians 4:11). Simultaneously, the outpouring of Holy Spirit taking place created a great hunger for God’s Word. The two met, and the results were explosive. Churches moved from preaching only, to also teaching the Word of God. Revelation increased in the teacher and the student. Bible schools sprang up, the Word began to be taught on television and radio, training conferences were birthed, and Bible studies took place in homes, scores of teaching books were written, and thousands of messages were listened to by millions of people on cassette tapes!


The body of Christ isn’t fully mature by any stretch of the imagination, but the hungry have grown tremendously in the last 50 years. Many believers are now well armed with spiritual weapons, and dangerous to the powers of darkness. We will not be taken advantage of and duped as easily as we once were.


God is about to put what He has taught us to work. We will disciple people and nations, teaching the principles of God’s Kingdom. We will walk in His ways at levels not seen in centuries. We will reveal the “fulness of Christ” in the earth (Ephesians 4:13). All the earth is waiting anxiously for this manifestation of the mature sons and daughters of God. Get ready - it’s coming!


Pray with me:


Father, just as you warned, our ignorance of satan and his thinking, schemes, and plans has been very costly. He has certainly taken advantage of us and gained the bigger portion of America. He outmaneuvered the church and overpowered unbelievers. A generation of Americans has been swept into darkness.


Yet, You are the God of resurrection power, the God of grace, and the Giver of mercy. Your mercy triumphs over judgment, and Your power triumphs over the serpent. You love to redeem and restore. You’re the Great Physician, the Giver and Sustainer of life, the Friend of sinners and Lover of humankind. And You, as all of these, are coming to America!


So, we boldly appeal to You for this. Come with strength and power, blow like a rushing mighty wind, fall like the rain, flow like a river. Do this for the poor and the rich, for all races, in the cities and in the country, among the young and the old. Come and heal this nation of the serpent’s bite. Free us from his deception and blindness, his lust and perversions, his hatred and murder.


Come to this nation - quickly! And come with awesome power! In Jesus’ name, we pray this...Amen!


Our decree:


The serpent has bruised America’s heel, but through the victory of Calvary, we shall crush his head!


Click on the link below to watch the full video.



Today’s post was taken from my book Watchman Prayer.


________________________________________

Dutch Sheets, Watchman Prayer (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group), pp. 17-19.


  1. Ethelbert W. Bullinger, A Critical Lexicon and Concordance to the English and Greek New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1975), 400.

  2. Spiros Zodhiates, Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible - New American Standard, rev. ed. (Chattanooga: AMG Publishers, 1990), 1797.

  3. Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary (Iowa Falls: Word Bible Publishers, 1992), 1,173.

  4. James Strong, The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1990), s.v. 4122.

  5. Bullinger, A Critical Lexicon and Concordance, 28.

                        


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