See Prayer Essentials For Living In His Presence, Vol 2, page 290-291. © Sylvia Gunter 2000. Available at www.thefathersbusiness.com There is an archive of previous devotionals on the website.
We had a plague of chipmunks at our house. They were making our yard "hole-y," gnawing wiring, and making a general nuisance of themselves. When one family moved into the house for the winter, I took great offense. Something had to be done! I baited my Hav-a-Heart® trap with irresistible morsels-- sunflower seeds. Within minutes, I had my first victim, and my re-location project began. Thirty-six chipmunks later, it seemed the colony had been de-populated.
However, the next year, I had to exercise the same due diligence when I saw those cute little critters scurrying around again. I had to keep alert to re-invasion. That season, more chipmunks were dispatched to another place. This year, I know what they can't resist, and my snare with the irresistible sunflower seeds keeps watch near their runs.
The analogy is clear. If the chipmunks had assessed the danger of the snare as being more important than the instant gratification, they would not have been caught.
The Bible describes Satan as a hunter who sets traps (Ps. 91:3, 1 Tim. 3:7). His traps take us by surprise (Eccl. 9:12). Snares are hidden and catch us unexpectedly (Amos 3:5, Obadiah 7). They hold fast their catch (Job 18:9). It takes someone else to get us out, in our case, God.
Can God's covenant people be captured? The obvious answer is "Yes" (Ps. 140:5), and we are oblivious to our captivity. What are the snares that hold us captive and hinder us from going on with God? What prevents our freedom in Jesus? What is keeping us from liberty in His Holy Spirit? What does the Bible say about what entraps us?
What snares tempt us and entrap us?
Alliances, making peace with the world Exodus 34:12
False gods, idols, serving other gods, or serving God like others serve their gods Deuteronomy 7:16
Desire for riches Deuteronomy 7:25, 1 Timothy 6:9
Enemies of God Joshua 23:13
Relationships not ordained of God 1 Samuel 18:21
Good things Judges 8:27
Leaders Job 34:30, Jeremiah 5:26, Hosea 5:1
Prosperity and security Psalm 69:22
The wicked Psalm 119:110, 141:9, Proverbs 22:5
Proud men Psalm 140:5
People Psalm 142:3
Words of our mouths Proverbs 6:2, 18:7
Sexual seduction Proverbs 7:23, Ecclesiastes 7:26
Sinful talk (transgression of our lips) Proverbs 12:13
Ill-gotten fortune Proverbs 21:6
Our own sin Proverbs 29:6
Fear of man Proverbs 29:25
Reliance on religious tradition and wisdom of man instead of the word of God Isaiah 8:14-15
How do we avoid being captured by the snares of wickedness? By being warned by the Word of God and not straying from it (Ps. 119:110). To get out of the trap of the evil one, we must ask God to grant repentance, so that we can escape from being held captive to do the devil's will (2 Tim. 2:25-26). Then we cry out for his mercy, receive God's forgiveness, and ask him to empower us by his Spirit to obey from a heart that is totally his.