Satan is an intriguing character, is he not? It is with guarded interest that we delve into the subject of Satan because it is possible to become too fascinated with him until the interest itself becomes a snare he can use to lure us in and captivate our thoughts. Many have become too interested in the details of the occult and of the supernatural. People have always been enchanted with the spiritual world which has led many to delve too far into the subject to the detriment of their eternal souls. As Paul said, we are not ignorant of his devices. This should keep us at arm’s length when we investigate the Bible’s descriptions of him.
In light of this, what I am about to say may see strange. Each of us should have profound respect for Satan’s capabilities. We do not admire them for their virtues since he has none, but we do respect the craftiness by which he deceives. Like a man has respect for the quick strike and deadliness of a cobra, so we should respect Satan’s prowess. His counter wisdom in all ways of evil is unparalleled in the spiritual world. No person possesses the power to outwit him. Indeed, he was brazen enough to approach our Lord with temptation. If not for Jesus’ complete reliance on the Holy Spirit for His protection, we might well perceive that Jesus the man would have given in to Satan’s offers. While we do not believe Jesus was capable of sinning, we do believe God used means to protect Him. The means unfailingly kept Him from sin because He is God, but to tempt God certainly speaks to Satan’s confidence in his ability.
Jesus never dismissed Satan out of hand. He first took him to the Word of God to dispel any hope of his success. The Scriptures are also our means for nothing is accomplished against Satan without the power of the Word. I believe the temptation is the Bible’s most formidable example of Satan’s power. It is interesting that no demon ever challenged Jesus like Satan. Even thousands of them begged for a measure of mercy when they were cast out of the Gadarian maniac. Satan boldly approaches God as he did in his accusations against Job.
None of this speaks to any real threat to God’s supremacy. Satan’s courage in the face of God belies his uncommon wisdom. While he deludes us, no doubt his greatest deception is perpetrated upon himself. He is relentless in his pursuit of God’s throne without understanding he is more of a pawn in God’s scheme than he makes us to be in his. God is setting Satan up for a destruction that will exalt God in ways that could never be accomplished by any other means. Satan’s destruction will cry out a confession of the one true living God. God has never done anything that does not redound to His glory, so you can be sure this present time of putting up with the devil will find out the ultimate greatness of God.
God continues to tell us to fear Satan. He tells us to walk circumspectly with eyes always scanning for places the devil might attack. Even though God promised to defeat Satan, the danger is real. Satan’s potency teaches us to fully depend upon God, which is God’s way of using Satan to strengthen His people rather than demoralize them. We can defeat the devil now in this life, but only with God’s help.
All the myths you hear about him are part of Satan’s disguise. He uses them to throw us off track. Chasing the myths divert us from the truth about him. This will get you in trouble if you are too interested in the wrong details.
Pastor V. Mark Smith