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The Word For Today

Understanding Satan's role 3



'The trouble the Lord has brought on him.' Job 42:11 NCV

Satan's attack can strengthen your faith. The devil dared to question the stability of Job's faith, so God gave him permission to test Job. 'The Lord said to Satan, "All right then. Everything Job has is in your power, but you must not touch Job himself"' (Job 1:12 NCV). Notice, God set both the permission and the parameters of the struggle. Job passes the test and Satan complains that Job would have fallen had he been forced to face pain. Again God gives permission, and again he sets the parameters: 'Job is in your power, but you may not take his life' (Job 2:6 NCV). Though the pain and the questions are abundant, in the end Job's faith and health are greater than ever.

Again, we may not understand the reason for the test, but we know its source. Read this verse from the last chapter of the book of Job. The family of Job 'comforted him and made him feel better about the trouble the Lord had brought on him' (Job 42:11 NCV). Satan has no power except that which God gives him. Even when Satan appears to win, he loses. Martin Luther was right on target when he described the devil as God's tool, a hoe he uses to care for his garden. The hoe never cuts what the Gardener intends to save, and never saves what the Gardener intends to weed. Surely a part of Satan's punishment is the frustration he feels in unwillingly serving as a tool to create a garden for God.

So be encouraged today: Satan's attack will strengthen your faith, refine it, and take it to greater heights.

Soulfood: Zech 12-14, Mark 14:43-52, Ps 54, Prov 25:1-3

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Understanding Satan's role 2



'A messenger of Satan, to torment me.' 2 Corinthians 12:7 NIV

Satan's attack can drive you closer to God. That was true in Paul's life. Think of Paul's r?sum?: a personal audience with the resurrected Christ, a participant in heavenly visions, an apostle chosen by God, an author of the Bible. He healed the sick, traveled the world, and penned some of history's greatest documents. Few could rival his achievements. And maybe he knew it. But God loved Paul too much to allow pride to destroy him. 'To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me' (2 Corinthians 12:7 NIV). We aren't told the nature of the thorn, but we're told its purpose - to keep Paul humble. We are also told its origin - a messenger of Satan. The messenger could have been a pain, a problem, or a person who was a pain. We don't know. But we do know that the messenger was under God's control.

Note what Paul says next: 'Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness". Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong' (2 Corinthians 12:8-10 NIV).

Here's a truth that can transform every test into a potential triumph: Satan and his forces are simply a tool in the hand of God to strengthen you.

Soulfood: Zech 9-11, Mark 14:27-42, Ps 52, Prov 24:32-34

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Understanding Satan's role 1



'God's Spirit, who is in you, is greater than the devil, who is in the world.' 1 John 4:4 NCV

Satan is a fallen angel who wasn't satisfied to worship God; he wanted to occupy his throne. Angels, like humans, were made to serve and worship God. And they were given free will; otherwise, how could they worship? But Satan said, 'I will make myself like the Most High' (Isaiah 14:14 NIV). That got him evicted from Heaven: 'You are brought down to...the depths of the pit' (Isaiah 14:15 NIV).And Satan hasn't changed. He's as self-centered now as he was then, and he's just as limited now as he was then. Even when his heart was good, he was inferior to God. God knows everything; angels only know what he reveals. God is everywhere; angels can only be in one place. God is all-powerful; angels are only as powerful as God allows them to be. So Satan is still subservient to God. And every time he tries to advance his cause, he ends up advancing God's cause.In The Serpent of Paradise, pastor and author Erwin Lutzer writes: 'Satan has different roles to play, depending on God's counsel and purposes...We must bear in mind that he does have frightful powers, but knowing that those can only be exercised under God's discretion and pleasure, gives us hope. Satan is simply not free to wreak havoc on people at will.' Satan doesn't want you to know that; he'd rather you be deceived into thinking of him as an independent force with unlimited power. But he's not. And he'd rather you'd never read these words: 'God's Spirit, who is in you, is greater than the devil' (1 John 4:4 NCV).

Soulfood: Num 29:1-6, Mt 24, Rev 11:15-19

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