In this episode
- Jesus and Satan are both fishermen
- What does Hamlet have to do with spiritual warfare?
- The first device in chapter 2 of Precious Remedies: deceit
- Episode blog post: Deceit: Satan fishes with a hook
- Podcast introduction: Yabo Obien
- Logo design: Jeff Lyons and Light & Story
- Original music: Makeup and Vanity Set
- Kindle version of Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices by John Hendryx at Monergism.com
- Text for Precious Remedies provided by GraceGems.org
Welcome back to the Theodio Podcast. I’m your host, Dan Kassis.
If you’re joining us again, how about subscribing wherever you get your podcasts? We’d love it if you’d also rate and review us. Doing so helps other people find us.
If you visit our website, Theodio.com, you can become a Premier Subscriber. It’s free. And you’ll be the first to know when we publish new posts and episodes. You’ll also be eligible for the best prices on future products and specials. Our free Premier Subscription will close sometime, so don’t wait.
It’s time to dive deeply into Thomas Brooks’ Precious Remedies against Satan’s Devices. Last time we heard him explain his “proof of the point” – the scriptural basis for the book. If you haven’t heard that one, be sure to listen or download it for later.
This time we begin chapter two of the book. Brooks presents 12 “devices” or schemes Satan uses against Christians to lure them into sin. And the first device he explains is deceit.
Jesus and Satan are both fishermen
I can’t remember now which famous pastor said this: “Jesus fishes with a net. Satan fishes with a hook.” But it’s true. The Lord, in one of his parables, explained that the kingdom of God is like a net that sweeps in both good and bad fish. And then the fisherman separates them. There’s no subterfuge involved.
Satan, on the other hand, drops his line in the water and waits for the unwary fish to eye the juicy worm. It may seem unnecessary, obvious – stating that Satan does this. For him, this is the tool of the trade. Deceit is the angler’s approach.
But the reason for this declaration will become clear as you hear this first part of chapter 2. Thomas Brooks wants us to know that the devil’s technique of choice reveals his character.
Here’s another good pastoral quote I couldn’t find the source for: “Sin will always make you go further than you want to go, stay longer than you want to stay, and pay more than you want to pay.”
Here’s the thing about this whole bait-and-hook motif: both the fish and the angler have a meal in mind, don’t they? Both seek sustenance, satiety. But only the angler sees the long game. The fish is only in it for the quick bite.
One of my pastors, a man to whom I looked up and in whose teaching I found great spiritual nourishment once said something very profound: “Sin is fun.”
Now, that’s not the deepest, most complex theological statement ever. And yet, it is.
Sin wouldn’t be a problem if we didn’t desire to engage in it, or if it wasn’t more fun to avoid what we know we should do. To our sin-clouded eyes, the prospect of pleasure looks better than its consequences look unpleasant.
The sin that so easily entangles us is usually nothing more than a fleeting moment. Isn’t it amazing and terrifying how a lightning-quick thought or act can set our lives on a years-long course of misery?
Sin is like a tiny spark that sets a whole forest ablaze. It’s a single cancer cell that multiplies and ravages an entire body. It’s a meager line of code that corrupts a worldwide computer network.
‘Have at thee now’
In a scene at the conclusion of Hamlet, the titular character duels with his nemesis, Laertes. Hamlet is unaware that Claudio has laced Laertes’s sword with poison. Even a minor cut will lead to death.
In one production of Hamlet I saw, Laertes flicked his sword at Hamlet on the line, “Have at thee now,” even before the proper duel began. This subtle aggression draws blood. Our protagonist’s fate is sealed. Hamlet is a dead man fighting a battle he can no longer win.
Laertes doesn’t care about the rules. He isn’t interested in honor or valor. He just wants Hamlet dead.
And that is sin. It doesn’t fight fairly, doesn’t care about the rules, and has no “stun” setting. Satan shoots to kill, with a gun that looks from a distance like a warm hand extended in friendship. He deceives.
Thomas Brooks was wise enough to have seen sin for what it truly is, likely through a combination of studying God’s Word and simply living life as a Spirit-led man. Thankfully he has left this helpful guide for us to follow so many generations later.
That’s the great thing about such timeless theological works: Although some of the language may sound archaic, their truths still apply.
Let’s listen to Brooks now.
“Nibbling at golden baits.” What a word picture that is. Imagine being so beholden to sin that you’d rather go blind than give it up. That’s what it does to our hearts. That’s why Thomas Brooks’ warnings are so necessary.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of the Theodio Podcast. Check the episode page for a link to the full blog post that includes explanations and illustrations of Brooks’ writings. And be sure to become a Premier Subscriber if you haven’t yet. You’ll find the signup form at the end of the blog post as well as on our homepage.
Next time we’ll look at Satan’s second device against Christians: painting sin with the color of virtue. There’s a lot to learn. We hope you’ll join us again.