The “fiery arrows” that Satan shoots at us as referenced in Ephesians 6 have as many different definitions as there are commentators that deal with the passage. The fiery darts represent the fiery lusts of the flesh. They are all the attacks on the truths of the Bible. They are simply doubts that go against our confidence in God. They are everything and anything that leads us to sin. One commentator suggested that one of the most effective arrows of Satan is the one that speaks to us and says you are saved “by faith alone.” According to this writer, it’s necessary to have works as well as faith. Well, I suppose all of those might be correct, but I believe there is one fiery arrow that Satan will send our way that’s been the most effective tool in his bag. That of course is his inspiration for us to follow his lead in pride. Let me tell you about David.

God blessed him in every way. His faith led to his childhood defeat of Goliath. God used him to produce the most beautiful songs of an entire nation. He was made King of God’s people and married into the royal family of Saul. He was given victory over all of his enemies. He was indeed a man after God’s heart but it was used against him by Satan. When the descendants of Gath, Goliath’s brothers and others, were soundly defeated by David’s army, there was another giant in the mix who had six fingers and six toes. He was bigger and stronger than Goliath himself, but he didn’t stand a chance against David’s army. In Chapter 20 and verse 2, after many victories over the enemies around him, David incorporated all his defeated peoples into his nation as slaves and servants to his people. In one of the final battles a King was defeated and the people incorporated into David’s people “And David took the crown of their king from his head. He found that it weighed a talent of gold, and in it was a precious stone. And it was placed on David’s head.”

Then it happened. This is what we read in the first verse of Chapter 21: “Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel.” The “rose up against” speaks to us of the enemy. He always positions himself between us and God. His intentions are always subversive and that’s the focus in this phrase. Notice next he “incited” David. In other words he lit “a fire” in David’s thinking that resulted in David’s prideful interest in finding out just how many people God had blessed him with. Victory over these incendiary attacks from Satan can be managed by using the shield of faith. John Piper explains the nature of pride in relationship to faith. He writes, “Unbelief is a turning away from God and his Son in order to seek satisfaction in other things. Pride is a turning away from God specifically to take satisfaction in self. So pride is one specific form of unbelief. And its antidote is the wakening and strengthening of faith…” John reminds us also that the source of a believer’s victory is just one thing. He writes, “For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” (1 John 5:4).