WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
AUGUST 1ST, 2021
TOPIC: STOP CUNNING CRAFTINESS
BY T. O. BANSO
“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their own craftiness’” (1 Corinthians 3:19 New King James Version).
The Bible describes the serpent as more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made (Genesis 3:1). The serpent presented himself as a friend and deceived Eve in the Garden of Eden and made her and Adam disobey God. Eventually, God passed a judgment on them and evicted Adam and Eve from the Garden.
The serpent, a cunning animal, deceived Eve by his craftiness (2 Corinthians 11:3) but it was Satan who worked through the serpent. Satan is cunning; he is a deceiver. In 1 Chronicles 21:1, the Bible says Satan stood up against Israel and moved David to number Israel. David told Joab, his army commander, and the leaders of the people to go and number Israel from Beersheba to Dan, and bring the number to him.
Joab tried to discourage him but he wouldn’t listen because God’s anger was aroused against Israel (2 Samuel 24:1). They must have sinned against Him. The census lasted nine months and twenty days (verse 8). Joab reported back to David. “And David’s heart condemned him after he had numbered the people. So David said to the LORD, ‘I have sinned greatly in what I have done; but now, I pray, O LORD, take away the iniquity of Your servant, for I have done very foolishly’” (2 Samuel 24:10 New King James Version).
David was not led by God to conduct the census. He was deceived by Satan and he refused to listen to Joab not to conduct the census. God was displeased and struck Israel with a plague that led to the death of seventy thousand men (2 Samuel 24:15). Satan is cunning. He is a deceiver and his final abode is in the lake of fire.
Revelation 12:9 talks about Satan’s past and future. “So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (New King James Version).
Also, Revelation 20:2-3 says, “He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while” (New King James Version).
Furthermore, Revelation 20:10 talks about his end: “The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (New King James Version).
Satan has many followers today in the business of deception. They are as cunning as the serpent and, unfortunately, if they don’t repent, their destination will be the same as that of Satan. These people call cunning craftiness wisdom. Someone told a lie to get an advantage but said he used wisdom.
Another person falsified documents to secure employment or appointment, he said he used wisdom. The other person doctored figures and received commendation but said he used wisdom. But this is earthly wisdom (James 3:15). It is the wisdom of this age (1 Corinthians 2:6), not the wisdom from above (James 3:17). According to the law, these persons committed a crime. And based on the Word of God, they sinned.
Jesus said to those who claimed that God was their Father, “For you are the children of your father the Devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning and has always hated the truth. There is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44 New Living Translation).
Cunning craftiness is not wisdom. Indeed, some people practise it and advance in life, but the story has not ended. Don’t be deceived by the progress you are making by craftiness or enticed to join those who practise such. A deceitful person may make progress but wait till the end to see what happens to him on earth and in eternity.
2 Peter 2:3 says, “In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. But God condemned them long ago, and their destruction is on the way” (New Living Translation). Revelation 21:8 tells us that all liars and other sinners listed in this scripture shall have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.
Therefore, don’t think that crafty or cunning people will get away with their deceit. Have you not seen some of them fall from stardom to disgrace? Some of them are described as falling from grace to grass. They used to be celebrated but the scandal brought them into shame or ridicule. Everyone treated them like a leper.
Mark 4:22-23 says, “For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear” (New King James Version). The books will be opened one day! Not just the books that will be opened on Judgment Day (Revelation 20:12) but some books on earth that would expose the scandalous things people have done.
The words “cunning” and “crafty” are synonyms. They have the same meaning. But Ephesians 4:14 in the New King James Version combines the two. It talks about “the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting.” The scripture says, “That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting” (Ephesians 4:14 New King James Version).
From this scripture, it is clear that it is possible to practise cunning craftiness in the gospel ministry and thereby lead others astray through false doctrines. The apostle Peter said, “For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty” (2 Peter 1:16 New King James Version).
Also, Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:1-2, “Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God” (New King James Version).
If you’re a minister of the gospel, renounce the hidden things of shame and don’t walk in craftiness; don’t handle the word of God deceitfully or distort it. Speak the truth. Avoid cunning craftiness.
The Greek word translated “cunning craftiness” is panourgia. It means “trickery or sophistry” (New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary). Similarly, it means “craftiness, cunning” (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon). According to the King James Version New Testament Greek Lexicon, panourgia means (1) craftiness, cunning (2) a specious or false wisdom (3) in a good sense, prudence, skill, in undertaking and carrying on affairs. But the positive use of the word is not relevant to this message.
The Greek word panourgia is used for craftiness in 1 Corinthians 3:19 and 2 Corinthians 4:2, 11:3. Also, it is the same word used in Luke 20:23 where the Bible says that Jesus perceived the “craftiness” of the spies the chief priests and the scribes sent to ask him a question on whether it is right to pay taxes or not.
Luke 20:20-23 says, “So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor. Then they asked Him, saying, ‘Teacher, we know that You say and teach rightly, and You do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God in truth: Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?’ But He perceived their craftiness, and said to them, ‘Why do you test Me?’” (New King James Version).
Jesus perceived their craftiness. He knew they were not sincere. He recognized that they had an ulterior motive. Their question was to trap him. Therefore, Jesus answered them accordingly. “Show Me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have? They answered and said, ‘Caesar’s.’ And He said to them, ‘Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s’ But they could not catch Him in His words in the presence of the people. And they marveled at His answer and kept silent” (Luke 20:24-26 New King James Version).
The human heart and mind are cunning (Psalm 64:6b). Hosea 12:7 says, “A cunning Canaanite! Deceitful scales are in his hand; He loves to oppress” (New King James Version). 2 Samuel 13:3 describes the son of Shimeah, David’s brother, as a crafty man Jonadab. He was the friend of Amnon, David’s first son. He taught Amnon how to rape Tamar, his half-sister. Two years later, Absalom, his half-brother and Tamar’s brother by the same parents, murdered him in vengeance.
Cunning craftiness is not wisdom; it is foolishness before God. Be careful of crafty people. Don’t have them as your friends. Proverbs 13:20 says he who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.
Stop cunning craftiness whether in your speech or actions and whether you’re a pastor, business person, professional, or public servant. Be sincere, honest, and straightforward. Don’t be dubious. Whatever you sow, you’ll reap (Galatians 6:7). 2 Timothy 3:13 says, “But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” (New King James Version).
God hates cunning craftiness. Eliphaz, Job’s friend, said, “He frustrates the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot carry out their plans. He catches the wise in their own craftiness, and the counsel of the cunning comes quickly upon them” (Job 5:12-13 New King James Version).
Avoid cunning craftiness in your dealing with others. This includes not exploiting others by using deceitful scales. Proverbs 11:1 says dishonest scales are an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is His delight. Proverbs 20:23 supports this, saying, “Diverse weights are an abomination to the LORD, and dishonest scales are not good” (New King James Version). Don’t use dishonest scales. Nobody prospers in the long run by cheating others. There are always negative repercussions (Amos 8:4-10).
Cunning craftiness does not pay. It will end in disaster; any success through it is only temporary. Daniel 8:25 says of a king that would arise, “Through his cunning He shall cause deceit to prosper under his rule; and he shall exalt himself in his heart. He shall destroy many in their prosperity. He shall even rise against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without human means” (New King James Version).
1 Corinthians 3:19 says, “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, ‘He catches the wise in their own craftiness’” (New King James Version). Diligently pursue the wisdom of God rather than practising cunning craftiness. Those who follow this path always regret it later. The ultimate is an eternity in hellfire.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you
PRAYER POINTS: Father, I repent of cunning craftiness I have been practising. I renounce the wisdom of this world and I ask that you baptize me with the real wisdom from heaven. I receive the wisdom from above in Jesus’ name. As your servant, I renounce the hidden things of shame and will not walk in craftiness. I will not handle the word of God deceitfully or distort it but speak the truth.
(For over 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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