The Devil at the Crossroad

Good morning and Happy New Years 2021,

We have a common enemy that affects all of humanity and that is, “the Devil”. In scripture, we are admonished to not provoke him nor poke fun at him; he is one of G_d’s created angels and he deserves our utmost respect (Jude 1:8-9). Anyone who has ever taken on the Devil or took lightly the power he possesses has found out all too late that he is a formidable enemy (Job 41, Acts 11:19-20). The Devil, just like G_d, takes no sides; unlike G_d, he plays one side against the other to create conflicts by being the “silent partner.” When we read about school shootings, mass-murder, or other nefarious attacks, we blame the person, the weapon, and anything other than the real culprit, “the Devil”.  Why hasn’t mankind picked up on his game? Because one of his greatest feats is making people believe he doesn’t exist “if he doesn’t exist, he isn’t a problem” so mankind thinks. This diabolical plan has worked for countless centuries and because of it the Devil has free reign and can disguise himself in any way he sees fit (2 Corinthians 11:13-14).

 

The one person Satan truly hates is G_d because G_d broke up Satan’s plan to overthrow the throne of Heaven and he overturns the Devil’s plans at every turn. From the very moment that the Devil was kicked out of heaven, the war was proclaimed between Heavens’ armies and Satan’s kingdom. We see the ravages of this war on the streets, in homes, churches, communities, and businesses. In every conflict, he stands on the sidelines and lets others take the fall. The Devil’s game is to get people to draw a line in the sand as a demarcation between two opposing sides. In our homes, the children get the parents to take sides and the home suffers greatly because of it. There is no avenue the Devil will not go down to cause problems he even gets his minions to fight with each other leading to problems between humans they have watched over.

 

It has been said that “everything is fair in love and war” (unknown). The implication is that whatever the Devil does in our life is an act of war and everyone outside of G_d’s hedge of protection is fair game (Job 1). It must be fully understood that the Devil hates every single human being on planet earth, he has no friends and no allies. All who yield their lives to his control face insurmountable odds in life and it profoundly affects the lives of those who follow them (family, friends, colleagues, etc.). The Devil sets traps in the form of “temptations” which are not “sin” until they are acted upon (1 Corinthians 10:13). When we sin by acting on the temptation, we step into a trap of sorts. A pastoral friend of mine once said, “When we are born, we are assigned a demon who will record everything about us, every event in our life, and every pain that we feel and because of it the Devil knows everything about us” (Rex Allen); if this is true, the Devil also knows just the right bait to use to entrap us and how long to keep it out. To the Devil, our demise is not personal it’s just “business”.

 

The devil’s attacks are like a stack of dominoes, push one down and the rest fall in time. Consider the case of Jacob and the people of Schechem. Jacob was en route to Beth El and chose to stop at Schechem where he bought a piece of land for 100 pieces of silver. The first thing that Jacob did was to build an altar to El Elohe to thank him for a safe journey. The next thing that happened was Dinah, Jacob’s daughter, went down to the community to look around and she ran into Schechem the son of Hamor the leader of Schechem. The third thing that happened is that Schechem molested Dinah. Dinah was a beautiful young lady who was the epitome of the careless young man in Proverbs 7 and had put herself into harm’s way unknowingly. Young Schechem asked his father to get Dinah for his wife. The men of Schechem hatched a little plan to trip up the small group by proposing that Jacob and his family give Dinah to young Schechem and that the two communities intermarry and become one. When Jacob’s sons heard what happened, they hatched a plan of their own by tricking the men of Schechem into circumcising themselves to kill them when they were the most vulnerable. Jabob’s plundered the people of Schechem because they felt it was justified (Genesis 34).  The Devil will use our anger to get us to do the unG_dly just like the sons of Jacob did.

Every time I hear about an individual who has harmed another person or sins and is caught, I know that the problems are just beginning. Consider what happens when a child is abused, it leads to subsequent problems with running away, taking up a life of crime, and other such things[1]. We can justify our actions all that we want to but, they will not hold up in the light of truth. Consider Saul when his armies were facing down the Philistines and Samuel had not arrived at the set time. Saul and the men were afraid of the Philistines so brave old Saul had the sacrifice prepared and the offering made which was unauthorized. When Samuel asked him what he thought he was doing, Saul gave a weak excuse “that his army was running away in fear; after all, you didn’t show up on time” (1 Samuel 13).  For Israel, this was a dark time because, Saul was the king and what he went through, the nation would also endure.

The Devil knows that if people are unprotected, he has a much easier time of destroying them; the children are unaware of the troubles that they will face until they find out firsthand, and then it is too late. For the Devil to get to the child, he must first get to the child’s power center. Once the PowerCenter is under his control, the trouble will take on a life of its own. Look at what happened to nation Israel from the day David said to G_d, “Let this sin fall on me and my family” (1 Chronicle 21:17) until the day of exile which was approximately 500 years later. Better yet, consider the church in America from the 20th to the 21st centuries. In one century, the church ruled and what it said was law. if you were not attending church, you were considered “unG_dly”. The problem is, behind closed doors the Devil was getting a foothold on the church and incited the church, as he did to David, to do unG_dly acts and then try to cover them up. The biggest problem of sin is that it affects everyone, and no amount of money will ever make it right[2]. From the sin, the victim will be inundated with whispers from the Devil’s minions about “how bad you are” and “no one will miss you if you die”. Once the Devil gets the seed planted, his job is done, and the human will finish the work.

In an argument between two or more parties, the Devil enters not as a judge as to make a judgment call on who is right and who is wrong rather, as an instigator to turn up the pressure. One would think that as long as the devil has been doing this, someone would catch on to it. The reason mankind has little understood this tactic is that as humans we always consider ourselves to be justified in our actions. The other side of the problem is that “confusion” and “frustration” enter into the picture to keep the two sides at odds with each other. Why would the devil even think this was necessary? The reason is, while we are worried about one problem, he is creating another more diabolical problem. Consider the conflict between Amnon and Absalom. Amnon lusted after Absalom’s sister. David’s Brother Jonadab noticed how Amnon was down and so he asked him why he was looking so haggard. This is where the devil comes in being a voice of reason. Jonadab suggested a ruse that Amnon could use to get the prize he wanted. Then, when the plan was in place, the next target was Absalom who was enticed to kill Amnon for what he did. The devil was not interested in Amnon’s sexual desires nor was he interested in how Amnon felt; what he wanted was to destroy King David because of everything he had done to destroy the Devil’s plans and he would do so at the hands of Jonadab (2 Samuel 13). Remember this, the devil is the first one to come up with the idea of “bait and switch”. For bait and switch to work, the salesman or saleswoman needs to get the customer to be interested in one product and then slip the new one during the sales transaction. After Amnon raped Tamar, the love he had for her dissipated into other hatred. Amnon had no idea how his life is now over. King David would have reprimanded Amnon if not for the illicit affair with Bethsheba.

The part about human beings is that no matter how many mediums we have for communicating, we do not speak to the other side as to confirm or deny what we have heard and nor are we likely to forgive which leads to endless wars between family members. The nations Iraq, Iran, Libya Egypt, Israel, and Arabia have been at war for countless centuries. We have heard for the past three decades from our presidential contenders about ”Peace in the Middle East” strangely that never comes about simply because we have a devil who does not want peace and so we have people in the world who also do not want peace. The devil stands at the crossroad waiting patiently for anyone to listen to him. We are warned in Scripture about being quicker to listen than to react and we also warned about false judgments.

In closing, I want to say people please spend less time arguing and start listening. Our G_d is sovereign and holy. Our G_d’s not for one person or over another, one church over another, nor does he favor anyone. All who come to G_d my first believe that he exists and that he and he alone is holy. We must be on G_d’s side.

 

In His Service

Mike

 

All of my writings can be found at http://www.mikesencouragement.net

[1] Ferguson, K. (2009). Exploring the Psychosocial and Behavioral Adjustment Outcomes of Multi-Type Abuse among Homeless Young Adults. Social Work Research, 33(4), 219-230. Retrieved February 17, 2020, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/42659733

 

[2] SHUPE, A., & SIPE, A. (2007). Reactance, Crime, and Sin. In Spoils of the Kingdom: Clergy Misconduct and Religious Community (pp. 108-124). URBANA; CHICAGO: University of Illinois Press. Retrieved February 22, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/10.5406/j.ctt1xcfbq.10 109-110

 

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.