Key Scriptures: 1 Kings 11, 2 Chronicles 8, 1 Peter 5:8, John 8:44, 2 Corinthians 11:14, James 4:7, 2 Corinthians 11:3, 2 Corinthians 4:4, Ephesians 6:11-16, 1 John 5:19, 1 John 3:10, 2 Corinthians 2:11, 2 Timothy 2:26, James 2:19, Luke 21:36, Psalm 1:1-3, 1 Timothy 6:10, Proverbs 4:23-27, James 1:22-25, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Romans 12:1-2, Matthew 7:15-23, Psalm 119:105
Guiding Question: How can we protect ourselves from Satan and people who want to prey upon us?
Optional Introductory Activity: Show a short clip of an animal stalking its prey. What are some things they notice about the animal who was stalking and it’s intended victim? Who are some of the types of people who prey on other people? (Note: Answers may vary and range from very general to very specific depending upon the group of students and their life experiences.)
Lesson: (Questions to students are in bold italics.) Solomon had asked God for wisdom, but it appears he didn’t always use the gift God had given him. He began making choices that left him vulnerable to Satan and people who wanted to prey upon him. Read 1 Kings 11 and 2 Chronicles 8. What are some choices Solomon made that made him more vulnerable to Satan’s temptations and people who wanted to prey upon him? God had warned Solomon about marrying women from other nations because of the idol worship they would bring with them. Not only did Solomon ignore that advice and marry one woman from another nation, but at least 1000! It’s important to understand that in those times kings often married the daughters of other kings for political reasons. The thinking is that a king would not attack a kingdom where his daughter was married to the king and the other king wouldn’t attack the kingdom where his wife’s parents ruled. We don’t really use the word concubine today, but at that time concubines were like secondary wives. God was right. Those 1000 wives brought their idols with them. Before long Solomon, gave in to Satan’s temptation and was worshipping Astarte, an idol of the Sidonians and Milcom of the Ammo items. He also built high places for the idol Chemosh of Moab and Molech of the Ammonites. How did God punish Solomon for allowing his wives to influence him in worshipping and making the worship possible of the various idols? God told Solomon the majority of his kingdom would be taken away from his son. His son would be left with one tribe to rule…only because of King David’s relationship with God. The rest of Solomon’s reign, he was stalked by the predators Hada, Rezon and Jeroboam who did everything they could to weaken Solomon’s kingdom.
Solomon made other choices that caused him problems. Read 2 Chronicles 8. How can making the people you conquer slaves cause problems in a kingdom? We find out later that Solomon was also tough on his own subjects, even though they were technically not his slaves. How can mistreatment of others make some of them want to prey upon those who are mistreating them? Notice that Hadad had escaped as a child when David had killed all the adult males. He had nursed that grudge for years while living in Egypt. Only Pharoah was able to convince him not to plan the overthrow of Solomon. Jeroboam was the son of Solomon’s servant Nebat. Jeroboam actually ends up being the person who takes the other tribes from Solomon’s son Rehoboam. One has to wonder if the way Solomon treated Jeroboam’s father as a servant had anything to do with Jeroboam’s takeover.
When looking at the life of Solomon, it’s easy to see how sometimes the choices we make in life can make us more vulnerable to Satan’s temptations or as prey of those who want to hurt us. In Solomon’s case, it was a combination of the people he surrounded himself with and the way he treated others. There are other things that can make us more vulnerable to Satan and other predators.
First though, we need to be able to recognize predators and understand how they operate. Read the following verses. What do we learn about Satan and other predators and how they operate from these verses? (Note: You May want to record answers for use during the skills activity.)
- 1 Peter 5:8. Satan prowls like a roaring lion waiting for someone to devour
- John 8:44. Satan was a murderer from the beginning and the father of lies
- 2 Corinthians 11:14. Satan disguises himself as angel of light
- 2 Corinthians 11:3. Satan tries to lead our thoughts astray
- 2 Corinthians 4:4. Satan blinds minds of unbelievers to keep them from seeing light of gospel
- 1 John 5:19. The world lies in the power of Satan
- 1 John 3:10. Children of Satan don’t practice righteousness or love their brothers
- James 2:19. Even demons believe I’m God and shudder…but they don’t worship or obey God
- Matthew 7:15-23. Wolf in sheep’s clothing
We can also look at the stories of the Fall in Genesis 3 and the exchange between God and Satan in Job 1. What else can we learn about Satan and the tricks he uses to prey upon people?
The Bible also gives us some strategies to help us avoid becoming prey to Satan’s temptations and tricks or the acts of the people Satan may be using to prey upon us.
- 1 Peter 5:8. Be sober minded and watchful
- James 4:7. Resist Satan and he will flee
- Ephesians 6:11-16. Armor of God
- 2 Corinthians 2:11. So we won’t be outwitted by Satan
- 2 Timothy 2:26. So they come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil
- Luke 21:36. Pray you have the strength to escape
- Psalm 1:1-3. Don’t hang out with the wicked, delight in the Law, meditate on the Law
- 1 Timothy 6:10. Avoid the love of money for it is the root of all evil
- Proverbs 4:23-27. Watch our speech, look straight ahead, ponder our feet, don’t swerve to the right or left, turn foot away from evil
It’s important to remember predators go after the weakest prey first. Why? The Bible has some suggestions on how we can strengthen our faith and become less vulnerable to Satan.
- James 1:22-25. Be doers of the Word and not hearers only
- 2 Timothy 3:16-17. Scripture is for teaching, rep roof and training
- Galatians 5:22-24. Fruit of the Spirit
- Romans 12:1-2. Be not conformed to the world, but transformed
- Psalm 119:105. Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path
Skills Activity: Review the principles from the lesson. Ask students to name some of the types of people Satan can use to prey upon people. Students may suggest predators like drug dealers or sexual traffickers. Depending upon their life experiences, they may also mention businesses like rental centers, pay day lenders and car title lenders. Others may suggest politicians, credit card companies or advertising. Have them add any other tactics Satan can use to prey upon us like temptation.
Point out that some predators want to attack us spiritually, while others focus on our money or self esteem. Interestingly, no matter their ultimate goal, they tend to use many of the same techniques. Not surprisingly, they are many of the same techniques Satan used on Adam and Eve and in other places and scripture.
Encourage students to list the warning signs that somebody might be trying to prey on them. You might point out that the Bible tells us to be watchful. One of the things to be watchful for are these signs that someone may be a predator.
- Lying. Satan is the father of lies and it is often his number one strategy. What are some of the lies Satan tells us to convince us to disobey God? What are some lies people may tell us to prey on our money or something else they want from us?
- Flattery. Notice Satan used this tactic in the Garden of Eden, too. Why would Satan or a predator use flattery as a technique? If someone is overly flattering to you, it can be a warning sign that they are trying to lower your defenses to make it easier to prey on you.
- Changing the subject or acting confused when you try to get more information. Why would Satan or a predator use diversion tactics? If the predator can distract you and divert your attention away from trying to uncover his or her schemes, they are more likely to be able to continue to trick you.
- Using guilt or shame or playing the victim. Why might this work? If Satan or a predator can manipulate your emotions, you are more likely to be tricked. It’s hard to be suspicious of someone you feel sorry for or whom you believe you have wronged in some way. You are too busy trying to repair the relationship to notice you are being tricked.
- Denial. This was another of Satan’s tricks in Eden. How did he use denial. Call this the innocent act. If you try to point out how you think you are being tricked, they will deny, deny, deny. Since most people tend to be trusting in the honesty of others, they know if they deny something long enough, you will probably believe them.
In addition to the ways the scriptures I’m the lesson taught us to avoid becoming prey, something called setting healthy boundaries can help. Boundaries are the rules we have for interacting with other people. When someone regularly breaks these rules, it is often a warning sign they do not have our best interests at heart.
What are some healthy boundaries we should set for our interactions with others, especially people we have just met?
- Take your time getting to really know someone before you let them influence you or have access to you in ways that could hurt you if they are a predator. This is similar to the “stranger danger” we teach little kids. You don’t know someone until you know them. You don’t want to be overly suspicious, but you need to be careful until someone has proven trustworthy.
- Pay attention to warning signs. Sometimes it is one of the signs we’ve already discussed. At other times, it may just be a knot in your stomach. When you see or feel warning signs, be a little extra cautious until you know the person better.
- Do your homework. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. “Free” things often have strings attached and definitely do if the person is a predator.
- Talk your thoughts and feelings over with someone you know you can trust, like a parent or Christian adult. Sometimes an older person’s extra life experience can help them see clearly things that are confusing to you. Listen carefully to their counsel, because they have shown themselves to be trustworthy with you over time.
With any remaining time, give students scenarios that would be common to their life experience and involve a potential predator. Help them practice the various strategies to keep themselves from sinning if tempted or being preyed upon in some other way.
Application Challenge: Review the points from the lesson. Have you ever been successfully tricked by Satan or another predator? What happened? What could you have done differently to avoid being tricked? What strategies do you need to begin using to help protect yourself from Satan and other predators in the future?