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Satan, the chief evil angel, and all his cohorts, seek to take advantage of the “wildernesses” of men’s lives.
And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, being forty days tempted of the devil. (Luke 4:1,2)
Seducing spirits would play the part of the Holy Spirit, even using the word of God, to promise God’s blessing of provision and protection upon the disobedient.
And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. (Luke 4:9-11)
Tempting God involves acting in a proud, religious spirit that moves contrary to His will and true instruction to us, while entertaining the false belief that “all will be well.”
And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered. (Malachi 3:15)
Jesus knew the Father would not send the ministry of His true angels to Him if was tempting God.
And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. (Luke 4:12)
God sends His angels to minister His blessings to those who walk in obedience.
Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him. (Matthew 4:11)
The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. (Psalm 34:7)
Good angels are “ministering spirits” who are involved in the deliverance of those who fear God and obey His voice.
And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. (Hebrews 1:7)
But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? (Hebrews 1:13,14)
God gives His angels charge over those who love Him. They stand in His presence ready to be sent forth to carry out His will.
Bless the LORD, ye his angels, that excel in strength, that do his commandments, hearkening unto the voice of his word. (Psalm 103:2)
And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. (Luke 1:19)
Paul was well aware that believers could be seduced by lying spirits.
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. (2 Corinthians 11:3,4)
Paul foresaw that some would “depart from the faith” by accepting the “ministry” of seducing spirits.
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron (1 Timothy 4:1,2)
Satan’s “ministers” (whether men or devils) know how to itch ears, catering to human fears and desires, while misapplying scripture. They exploit uncertainty and impatience, pushing toward escape from fear or fulfillment of desire. They have no regard for the wisdom of God’s timing or judgment.
Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgment. Because to every purpose there is time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him. For he knoweth not that which shall be: for who can tell him when it shall be? (Ecclesiastes 8:5-7)
Like king Saul, when people are distressed, and wanting resolution of their fears and desires, they are vulnerable to the “ministry” of spirits other than God’s Spirit. They want us to hang on to secret, personal “revelation” (i.e., dreams, visions, prophecies, etc.) rather than God’s clear Word on a matter.
And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. (Isaiah 8:19,20)
God will turn a rebellious person, who will not listen to Him, over to the persuasive “ministry” of an evil angel.
An evil man seeketh only rebellion: therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him. (Proverbs 17:11)
messenger > Heb. mal’ak > KJV – angel 111, messenger 98, ambassadors 4
And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so. (1 Kings 22:21, 22)
God sends good angels to minister to those who love righteousness and truth. He sends “strong delusion” to those who don’t love righteousness and the truth.
And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:8-13)
God’s eyes are on the heart. His continuing ministry to us hinges on our obedience or disobedience. By how well we hear Him, we invite His “ministering” angels or we open ourselves up to demonic “traffic.”
Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word. … Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations. I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not. (Isaiah 66:1-4)
When we “tremble” at God’s word we don’t want to hear anything that’s not proceeding from His mouth. We wait for the right word that our good Shepherd would give us, that’s perfectly suited for each season of our life.
… And a word spoken in due season, how good is it! (Proverbs 15:23)
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven … He hath made every thing beautiful in his time … (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11)
Wise sheep submit to God. They don’t let any fear or desire in the wilderness make them vulnerable to the voice of a stranger. Through their submission to God, true messengers are sent to them, and evil ones depart from them.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
And when the devil had ended all the temptation, he departed from him for a season. (Luke 4:13)