We’ve all heard the story of how the Indians sold the island of Manhattan for a whopping $24 of trinkets.However, that story is not exactly true. Peter Minuit negotiated a treaty with the Manahatta tribe for 60 guilders. That’s the 1624 Dutch equivalent to $1100 today. The amount of $24 wasn’t added to the story for a couple of centuries, and what the Indians were offered certainly weren’t trinkets. Granted, the Indians weren’t rolling in cash … er, guilders, but the items they received were quite useful and valuable by the tribe.

Over the years, the debate has been whether the Indians had the same understanding of land rights that Europeans had, but there is evidence that they did. What is likely is that, in the Indians’ understanding, they were giving hunting rights to the Dutch, not necessarily the rights to build, install a subway, and sell Broadway tickets.

But the real stinker in all this was a matter the Dutch never bothered to investigate. The Manahatta tribe was not the tribe to negotiate with. The land wasn’t theirs to sell … or even lease! The island was the territory of the Wappinger tribe, and the Wappingers were not keen on having a bunch of Dutch people underfoot. Consequently, for the next 30+ years, the Dutch had their hands full battling the rightful owners.

As a kid, I felt sorry for the native Americans who seemed to be swindled out of Manhattan Island, but it turns out that the Dutch were the ones who were swindled.

If we’re not careful, we, too, can be swindled. Satan is the ultimate swindler. He’s called the devil for a reason; “devil” means “deceiver.”

  • He tries to sell us the truth, but he doesn’t own the truth. His version of the truth may sound good, but he is the father of lies (John 8:44).
  • He tries to get us to rationalize that going His way is not harmful. He’ll use the acceptance of his ways by the world to give an air of legitimacy to what he offers. However, “there is a way that seems right to a person, but its end is the way to death” (Prov. 16:25).
  • He tries to convince us that life is found down his path, but it’s all a shell game—a swindle. As glamorous as Satan can make the ways of the world appear, it’s all trinkets compared to the joy, contentment, and serenity embedded in following Christ.

Satan may be “the ruler of this world,” but his reign is temporary. He can’t give you something that is not his to give. But that won’t keep him from trying.

Satan may try to swindle us with his way of doing things, his version of the truth, and his idea of life, but Jesus gives us something that He can truly give. He gives Himself.  He is the way … the truth .. the life. Jesus is all we need.

Don’t buy the lie. All you need is found in Jesus.

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