Speak of the Devil – He’s on God’s Payroll
black t shirt
Does anybody recall the old cartoon in which the st louis cardinals t shirt and the sheepdog greet each other with “Mornin’, Sam.” and “Mornin, Ralph,” punched a clock and spent the remainder of the show trying to destroy each other? Remember? The st louis cardinals t shirt attempts to steal the sheepdog’s dumb, grazing, none-the-wiser, completely oblivious, sheep and, by the end, the pair pf adversaries “clock-out” and retire for the evening, their job’s done until the next episode.
“Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy,” (Isaiah 54:16). Just who IS that blacksmith – this “waster” who destroys – anyway? I contend that it is the devil, the enemy of our souls, God’s lackey, a flunkey who continually shoots himself in the foot in his attempts to kill, steal and destroy the dumb, grazing sheep of God. He is our adversary (that’s what “Satan” actually means) – like the leader of a terrorist network, he’s bent on wreaking havoc upon those who love God. He is mighty…
But God is ALMIGHTY!
Allow me to explain:
In the New Testament, on several occasions, we see the devil referred to with the term “prince.” Even Jesus Himself referred to the enemy as “the prince of this world.”
“But when the Pharisees heard [it], they said, This [fellow] doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.” (Matthew 12:24)
“Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. ” (John 12:31)
“Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.” (John 14:31)
“Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.” (John 16:11)
Indeed, I am convinced that Satan is the ruler of this world and its systems by which we do things down here. Life on planet Earth as we know it cannot possibly be the way mankind, intended to be the most free creature in the universe, made in God’s image, was intended to exist. My contention is that the systems intended for use by Heaven’s archangels (Michael, Gabriel and Lucifer) and the legions they commanded, made their way from Heaven along with Lucifer (meaning “lightbearer”) and one third of Heaven’s hordes as they were cast down to our stomping grounds after their attempted coup d’etat.
There went the neighborhood! In came the systems intended for angels, even the fallen kind.
Am I saying that I believe that our hierarchical methods of leadership in business, medicine, education, government, and, yes, even religion, came about as a result of demonic treason? Talk about an Alien invasion of Planet Earth! Why else would life be so hard? Why else would we perpetually ask the question pertaining to those in leadership positions, “Who put so-n-so in charge anyway?”
Extend me some grace here, please, if this line of thought is foreign or just plain weird to you. We’re all entitled to our own opinions after all. You can have yours, too. Personally, I believe that it was the devil’s own initiative – the Prince of the Planet – to implement the corporate pyramid concept with the leader on top of the heap. I KNOW so because it was God’s idea to implement the INVERTED Pyramid with our Leader – Jesus Himself – at the BOTTOM as Servant King in support of many others who would also submit themselves to supporting roles in the assistance of others and so on.
The Apostle Paul believed in the devil. He wrote, in Ephesians 2:2, about the prince of the power of the air, ” . . . who now controls the people who disobey God.”
A prince is generally considered a ruler, but his rulership is dictated by the king. So the prince of this world, and the prince of the power of the air, both of whom appear to be the same entity, can rule only as far as the one ABOVE him allows. This biblical “Prince” – commonly referred to as “Satan” – has apparently continued the practice and privilege of appearing before God’s throne.
CONSIDER GOD’S SERVANT, JOB
Now, bear with me here. Scripture tells us that “the gifts and callings of God are without repentance,” (Rom 11:29), therefore, I believe that Satan maintains all the power, beauty and privileges that he EVER had received from God with the exception of his appointed position as one of God’s three archangels in Heaven. So, he regularly approaches God – just as he did regarding Job, who feared God and hated sin and had no equal on Earth – and accuses His people day and night ( Rev 12:10). Fortunately,we have an advocate for us in Heaven who intercedes on our behalf, Jesus Christ ( 1 John 2:1-2).
Where Job was concerned, Satan said, “It’s no wonder. You have always protected him and his family and everything he owns. You bless everything he does, and you have given him enough cattle to fill the whole country” ( Job 1:10).” Then, Satan challenges God, saying,” . . . stretch out your hand, and strike everything he has. I bet he’ll curse you to your face” ( vs 11).”
God’s reply? “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only upon himself put not forth your hand,” (vs 12). In other words, God allowed Satan to do whatever he wished against Job, but he was not allowed to touch him personally. Why? I contend that Job entertained a Spirit of Fear for we see In Job 3:25 where he says, “that which I feared the most has come upon me.” I believe Job’s motivation for his righteousness was plain ol’ fear. Incidentally, you will recall that the same type of confrontation took place with Jesus in His wilderness adventure. As with Job, Jesus was led into the wilderness BY THE HOLY SPIRIT. Why? TO BE TEMPTED BY THE DEVIL! Jesus was the first fruits of all who would follow Him. He had to have his metal tested and so must we.
But I digress. In the next chapter of Job (Chapter 2:4-6), again Satan wanted to attack Job himself. God consented, ” . . . he is in your hand, but don’t take his life.”
Obviously, the Prince of this world DOES have certain powers, even to the taking of a person’s life, but this power is governed by the king over him: God Almighty, the Creator of Heaven and Earth.
KNOW YOUR ENEMY
According to the Barna Research Group, nearly two out of three adults (62%) agreed that Satan “is not a living being but is a symbol of evil.” This response remained relatively consistent throughout the 1990’s. Among Barna’s more surprising findings, however, are that a majority of born again Christians deny Satan’s existence (52%); nearly three-quarters of Catholics say the devil is non-existent (72%); and women are more likely than men to reject Satan’s existence (64% vs. 59%).
Believing that the devil exists appears to be essential to Christianity: “For this purpose the Son of God appeared, that he might destroy the works of the devil,” (1 John 3:8). Yet most Christians don’t talk much about this aspect of our spiritual existence. We can easily discuss the need to love each other and be hospitable because everyone – Christians and non-Christians alike – can see the need for these practices.
Jesus talked quite a bit about the devil. He talked ABOUT him…TO him…and even cast him OUT of people. He not only called the Jewish religious leaders “offspring of vipers” but “children of the devil” as well. Why? Simply because they were no longer teaching the Doctrine of God but were instead teaching those of their own, even distorting the Scriptures.
“O generation [offspring] of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things?” (Matt.12:34)
“Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” (Matt.23:33)
“Ye are of your father the devil…” (John 8:44)
“YE HYPOCRITES, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, ‘This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, & honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.'” (Matt.15:7-9)
Can you imagine anyone saying such things to a group of ministers from your home town or from your denomination?
But how I DO love that about my Jesus!
JESUS MAKES THE WAY
When Jesus was crucified, no doubt Satan thought he had finally won against God. He was wrong, of course, for this turned out to be his greatest defeat. Jesus now has all authority in heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18) and when we do things in His name, under His instructions, His power and authority is suddenly available to us. As with Jesus, all those who are “in Christ” also escape the domination of Satan. Rather than being shackled in endless slavery to sin, Christians can take authority over the works of the devil and destroy them in Jesus’ name, driving Satan and his demons out. But the disciple is not greater than his teacher; if Jesus needed the Word, the Spirit, and a strong consecration to God’s will, then we do, too. He said “I came as an example.” And so He is.
At the cross Jesus also became a curse for us. As a result, the blessings of Abraham can now be ours, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit, through faith (Galatians 3:13,14). We were legally delivered from all curses by the cross of Christ, by the blood that He shed. The wonder-working power of the shed blood of the Lamb revoked all the rights of Satan, for anyone who submits themselves to God.
Satan had us in his hands because we had willingly departed from God of our own free choice. Many of us went so far as to hate and reject God actively. Although God takes no pleasure from the death of a sinner, or in the calamity that disobedience brings, He cannot be just and holy if He refuses to punish a determined rebel who just keeps rejecting God’s legitimate authority. It is God’s world by right of creation and He is the only One wise enough, good enough and caring enough to know how it should be run.
We are fools to ignore God’s Word, and if we do, we harm ourselves. Not only that, but we open the door to satanic influence in our lives. The fruits of sin are not usually immediately obvious, which is why so many people are not afraid to sin against God. But without a doubt, people reap as they sow. Remember this: sin has short term benefits but long-term consequences; righteousness brings short-term agony and long-term benefits.
Rebellion brought us under God’s judgment and the curse. It brought us into a place where Satan could lord it over us, and afflict us with all kinds of evil; a sick soul and a sick body, for example. It was God’s love and mercy which drove Jesus to the cross. There He did something about it, cancelling our debt to Satan and paying it Himself. Satan’s rights were destroyed. Now he can only operate by deception and by continuing to get people to give him power by turning to sin. To say it another way, Satan only has the power WE ascribe to him.
As a result of Calvary, we Christians are able to fight the good fight with more than a fighting chance. After all, we’re fighting a defeated foe whose only weapon is deception. What is intended to be a mere mop-up operation against a conquered enemy has turned into a moment-to-moment conflict that’s lasted 2000 years. Through the application of God’s Word, masterfully wielded in faith, plus a little renewing of one’s mind, we really CAN overcome Satan and enjoy more and more of the abundant life Jesus promises to us.
NOTE: I recall a Wednesday night Coffee Shop Bible Study where I was teaching on Spiritual Warfare. The series was attracting about 40 college students a session and a few adult Sunday School teachers as well. A pretty young lady interrupted me toward the end of the very first teaching and said, “When was my pastor going to get around to teaching me this stuff?” Several others chimed in, voicing similar concerns. If you’re one who would appreciate knowing more about this important subject and your authority as a Believer, just write me today, [email protected]
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write by Rachel Puma