• What two men did the pilgrims meet in this segment of their journey? _Flatterer, Atheist_
• Where does the first man lead them? _to become entangled in a net__
Note the steps that led them into this trap:
1. They were at a point of decision and didn’t know which road to take.
2. They met a man who flattered them and offered to help them.
3. They followed him.
4. Gradually, the road turned away from the Celestial City.
5. Before they knew what had happened, they were trapped.
Note the steps that led them out of the trap:
1. They realized that they had made two errors—they did not watch out for the Flatterer, and they failed to read the directions that the shepherds had given them.
2. They recalled David’s words in
3. A Shining One came and freed them.
4. This creature then disciplined them severely to teach them.
5. They thanked him for his kindness and left singing.
• Returning to the way, the pilgrims met Atheist. How do we see the good effect of their recent chastening as Atheist approaches? _They were careful in case he, too, was a flatterer._
• Neither pilgrim believed Atheist’s story that there is no Celestial City. According to Hopeful, they did not believe Atheist for what two reasons? _(1) They had seen the gates of the city for themselves from the top of the Delectable Mountains, and (2) they knew that they were supposed to walk by faith. (2 Cor. 5:7)_
The Snares of the Devil
The Flatterer is sometimes referred to as the Fowler because he led Christian and Hopeful into a fowler’s net. A fowler is one who traps birds (fowls) with a net. The Flatterer catches these two “birds” using flattery.The Bible warns Christians about the various nets, traps, and snares that our enemy has laid to entangle and destroy our usefulness.
• What was Israel to do with graven images that they captured in war?_burn them_
• What about the gold and silver that overlaid the idols? _They weren’t to desire it or take it lest they be snared._
• What about their bringing an idol into one’s house to set it on the shelf as a curio? _They were not to do so; they were to detest and abhor them._
Note the strong language: Burn it, it is an abomination to the Lord thy God, utterly detest it, utterly abhor it, it is a cursed thing.
• Read Acts 19:18–19. What happened at Ephesus under Paul’s ministry that parallels the command in
Deuteronomy 7:25–26?_Many who believed burned the books dealing in curious arts before all men (publicly)._
Any instrument that has been used in the worship of Satan has a curse upon it that stays with the instrument as long as it is not destroyed. Therefore, all former demonic instruments are to be burned. We must realize that the spirit world is very real.
• Think back to our lesson on the twelve steps toward a reprobate mind. The first step was a natural curiosity. Here we see this fact illustrated. After what is Israel warned not to inquire? _the gods of the nations they would conquer_
That is, they are not to ask how those nations served their gods. It is dangerous even to study too closely the teachings of the cults (e.g., Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, Moonies, Hare Krishna). You might want to study them a little bit so as to be able to expose them, but Satan will use their materials and talk to trap you and make you begin to doubt the truth.
• The best policy is to know simply what you believe and what basic bibli-cal principles such false religions violate, and nothing more. Remember, according to Romans 16:19, we are to remain “wise _unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil_.”
Worldly Crowd (Josh. 23:13)
• God had commanded the Israelites to destroy completely the seven nations that occupied Canaan. However, they only partially drove them out. Therefore, Joshua warned Israel never to get involved with them because they would become ensnared by them. Joshua says that because the Israelites did not utterly destroy the nations, they would be snares and _traps and scourges in your sides and thorns in your eyes_.
According to verse 12,they were not to go back and cleave to the remnant (the small portion that they did not destroy) of these nations, neither were they to _intermarry with them or go in unto them or they to you_.
The book of Judges records what happened after Joshua died. Israel did what Joshua had commanded them not to do. As a result, they soon became like the nations that they had not destroyed.
Similarly, God tells us to separate ourselves from the world. This doesn’t mean that we are to live in a monastery, but it does mean that unsaved or carnal Christians are not to have influence over us. What do the following verses from Proverbs say concerning the worldly crowd?
• Proverbs 22:5— _to stay far away from them_
• Proverbs 22:24–25— _not to make friendship with them_
• Proverbs 23:20— _not to be among them_
Avoiding the Snare
It’s nice to know what to avoid, but it’s not as easy to avoid harmful influences. The shepherds had warned Christian and Hopeful to avoid the Flatterer, but when the time of testing came, they failed. The best way to learn how to avoid evil is to study both the steps into the snare and the steps out of the snare. The teacher’s lesson deals with this subject.
notes from the teacher’s lesson
How Satan Snares a Christian
• Indecision and _Ignorance_
• Flattery and _Peer Pressure_
• Following the Wrong _Crowd_
• A _Gradual_ Process
How a Christian Avoids a Snare
• Plan _Ahead_
• Recall _Scripture_
• Freed by _God_
• Thankfulness for the _Chastening_
Dealing with Sin
When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee (Pro. 2:10–11).
Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer (Psa. 17:4).
Preparation–– _The Heart_ (Pro. 16:1)
1. _Look_ for Promises in His Word
2. _Record_ Every Promise
3. _Categorize__ Each Promise
4. _Memorize__ the Promises by Category, and Claim Them When They Are Needed
5. _Meditate_ on (Review) the Promises
Victory––But the _Answer lies in _ (Pro. 16:1)
1. Think of someone (perhaps a teacher, a parent, a youth worker, or a minister) who had to discipline you in the past. Write a brief explanation of how and why that disciplining was necessary and what you learned from it. Then go to that person (or write them a letter) and thank them for doing what was ultimately in your best interest.
2. Read the book of Proverbs and note all of the verses that warn us against traps, snares, gins, and other entrapment devices that Satan uses against us. Based on the fact that these various terms (traps, snares, gins, etc.) are not synonymous, use a Bible dictionary to look up each term and distinguish between them. Why do you think that Solomon was so specific in the terminology he used in these verses. Does it make a difference in how one prepares himself to avoid these various devices?
3. Read the book of Proverbs and note each of the verses that warn against flatterers or flattery. How does Satan use flattery to sidetrack you in your Christian walk? How can you defend against this deceitful weapon of Satan?
4. Make a list of principles whereby you can make accurate, God–honoring deci-sions when you are faced with a spiritual “fork in the road” of life (e.g., which college to attend, which career or ministry to pursue, which person to marry, which job offer to accept).
5. Study carefully the hymn “Teach Me Thy Way, O Lord” by B. Mansell Ramsey (1849–1923). What life lessons can you learn from this hymn?