Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Devil Behind the Scenes

Today in my Bible reading I looked at Genesis 3-4, Job 2, and Matthew 2-3. By coincidence these three readings present a slightly different picture of Satan at work. Genesis 3 is an explicit picture of the Devil at work, using the form of a serpent to beguile Eve and bring ruin upon creation. In the case of Job 2, the picture is two-sided. We are allowed a glimpse of Satan's machinations behind the scenes as well as a display of the havoc he wreaked in Job's life. And in Matthew 2, Satan is not mentioned, but his fingerprints are everywhere in the murderous outbreak of Herod. What is implicit in Matthew 2 becomes explicit in Revelation 12 in John's vision of the great red dragon.

Just as we understand that God is always at the helm of providence-even when Scripture does not specifically say so-we must also understand that sinister spiritual forces are also always in play-even when the text does not spell this out. We are in a world at war.

I do not mean to suggest that Satan is as powerful as the Lord. That would be blasphemy. And just as the story of Job and the story of Jesus ended with triumphant victories over Satan, the Bible promises us the same will be true in our struggle against the adversary. Both of these truths are worthy of constant reflection: we are at war, and we will win.

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