I ran across these verses as part of Zeniff’s record in the Book of Mosiah where Zeniff summarizes the trouble with living by the Lamanites:
17 And thus they [the Lamanites] have taught their children that they should hate them, and that they should murder them, and that they should rob and plunder them, and do all they could to destroy them; therefore they have an eternal hatred towards the children of Nephi.
18 For this very cause has king Laman, by his cunning, and lying craftiness, and his fair promises, deceived me, that I have brought this my people up into this land, that they may destroy them; yea, and we have suffered these many years in the land. (Mosiah 10:17-18)
If you substitute “Satan” in place of “King Laman,” you can see how appropriate this is as a lesson about what Satan tries to do. He will use cunning, lying craftiness, and fair promises to deceive us, to bring us into a dangerous place so he can destroy us, or else cause as much suffering as possible. He will also teach his children to hate, murder, plunder, and do all kinds of destruction to the children of light.
The trouble is, Zeniff, who is in this predicament, was the other part of the equation. He contributed to his own beguilement because he wanted to live in the land near the Lamanites. He saw something he thought was good among them, and he thought that would preclude the Lamanites from trying to destroy him and his people. But it didn’t.
So, this tells us that we, like Zeniff, also contribute to our own beguiling. We see something we think is good in Babylon, and we think that will preclude Satan from hating us and trying to destroy us. But it doesn’t. In Satan’s case, the good is a deception, a counterfeit. Any good he offers is only a fair promise given with lying craftiness to draw us in.
Today let’s pray for discernment to see Satan’s fair promises as the lies they are, and pray for the power to resist.