In the days of Elisha the prophet, the king of Syria suspected that one of his servants was working as a spy for the king of Israel. (II Kings 6:11.) The king’s servants assured him that they were not disloyal but that it was the prophet Elisha, acting on information received from God, who was able to tell the king of Israel everything that the king of Syria said in his bedroom. (II Kings 6:12.)
God knows the thoughts and feelings of every person who has ever lived. David said, “You understand my thought afar off.” Psalm 139:2. Isaiah said of the Lord, “I [know] their works and their thoughts.” Isaiah 66:18. Someday the Lord is going to “bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and reveal the counsels of the hearts” of men and angels. (I Corinthians 4:5.)
God has graciously revealed the thoughts of the devil, so we can avoid the tricks he employs in his fight for our souls. We need to pay attention to his secret plans, and not be deceived by his evil ploys. The devil instructs his angels to employ the following actions in the lives of commandment-keepers as a way of distraction:
Place in their hearts a desire for possessions, making those who possess worldly goods or money drunk with the cares of this world. Be sure to keep their affections firmly focused on these things.
Show them the pleasures of the world, making them seem irresistible, presenting them in the most attractive light. Keep their focus on worldly ambitions that they may love and idolize all things earthly.
Be vigilant, cause disturbance and confusion in public meetings in order to protect our earthly kingdom not allowing them to see the necessity of keeping the law of God.
Destroy their love for one another.
Discourage and dishearten their ministers.
Encourage a grudging disposition and present every plausible excuse so they will give sparingly. Control money matters to limit the means devoted to Christ’s service. The more subjects they win for Christ, the more injury to our kingdom.
Plant the seeds of covetousness and a love of earthly treasures in their heart that they may be ruled by selfishness and lust.
Crowd their minds and lives with earthly attractions, making them feel that these things are essential.
Satan is an expert in ploys of distraction and the effects and results can be seen all around the world today—“Every selfish, covetous person will fall out by the way.” Early Writings, 269. Mrs. White explains more about Satan’s plan and the eight instructions given to his evil angels in Early Writings, 266, 267.