Last time I spoke to how Satan, although he is a fierce foe of God’s people, is fundamentally limited. Being a created being, he is neither omniscient (all-knowing) nor omnipotent (all-powerful). However, to deny his existence or to underestimate his influence in the world would be tremendously foolish. So if the devil is a foe and if he does have some power, what is it that we need to watch for? While there are various ways in which, I suppose, the topic could be addressed, looking at his battle with Job I believe sums much of it up. Satan attacked Job’s life from three different angles.
First, he used problems (Job 1). You probably aren’t going to believe this, but the devil uses those frustrating, thorny, challenging, recurring difficulties of life to break us away from God. Who among us does not from time to time grow weary of the world? Job did say: “Man who is born of a woman is few of days and full of trouble.” (Job 14:1) And Jeremiah asked a question that may have crossed your mind: “Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all who are treacherous thrive?” (Jer. 12:1) In each case, these are the words of God’s servants who are burdened with the challenges of life. I believe it was Ralph Parlette that said: “I have never known anyone who has not had more trouble than anyone else.” While there is the element of chance in the world (Ecc. 9:11), knowing that the devil can utilize problems to wean you from God is helpful information.
Secondly, the devil employed pain (Job 2). While pain can actually be a good thing, to live with severe pain or chronic pain is the most difficult thing to deal with. In fact, as I’m sure you’re aware, the problem of Evil, Pain & Suffering is the atheists’ go-to argument. While we’ll save that discussion for another time, the threat of pain is its ability to draw people inward. Even the best of us are subject to such. When you are in immense pain (whether physical or emotional) it’s difficult to think about anything or anyone else. If Satan can get you all caught up in yourself, your focus is off of where it needs to be – God.
Finally, he commissioned people (Job 4,8,11). Interestingly, the old serpent used those who were closest to him: his wife (Job 2:9) and his friends Eliphaz (Job 4:8-9), Bildad (Job 8:4-6) and Zophar (Job 11:4-6). These weren’t just people – they were well intending believers who doubtlessly cared about Job. Yet, due to their false theology and belief that pain is always the result of sin, they did their friend a great disservice. In fact, they did more harm than good for Job.
Friends, here’s the point. Satan is interested in you. He cares about your family, your children and your friends. He won’t rest until he has destroyed your faith and/or overthrown your confidence in God. Through his various means of influence, he will tirelessly labor along with his angels to fill your heart with questions and your mind with suspicion about God. Thankfully Scripture tells us how to defend ourselves: we are to resist him. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil,” James says, “and he will flee from you.” (Ja.4:7) It’s like this: “Nope, devil, you can’t have my heart. You can’t have my mind. You can’t use my hands or my feet.” Resist, resist, resist and he will flee from you!
You are loved!