Updated: Feb 11
People in general tend to shy away from speaking about the enemy of God, and thus, our enemy, Satan. Yet, scripture speaks about him often. Fifty two times, in fact. He is the instigator of man's downfall and the one who slandered God, tempted Eve and succeeded in getting both Adam and Eve to disobey God. He's addressed in the 3rd chapter of Genesis, immediately after we learn about the creation of the world! Doesn't that tell you something about his relevance to our story? So why ignore this key character when he is behind the destruction of the world, and most importantly the destruction of our relationship with God Almighty? Because it's scary. People feel unsafe and afraid when they think about this boogeyman who can control our souls, in other words, our mind, will and emotions. The monster in the closet who can make us tremble in fear and give rise to immense pain and trauma, even though God instructs to fear Him only. Remember, Satan is a person too.
"Then Jesus said to the people, “I tell you, my friends, don’t be afraid of people. They can kill the body, but after that they can do nothing more to hurt you. I will show you the one to fear. You should fear God, who has the power to kill you and also to throw you into hell. Yes, he is the one you should fear." Luke 12:4-6 (NIV)
Why else then do we give this enemy so much power? Because we don't trust God fully. Throughout scripture we are told not to fear, to trust God because He goes ahead of us to make the pathway clear. Yet, we glorify Satan daily. It seems as if it is easier to believe the enemy's lies than it is to believe the promises of our Saviour. This is simply because we don't trust God's character. In my blog "Who is Satan?" I write at length about him and his different names. In the meantime, it's vital we recognize that because of what Jesus Christ did on the cross for us, Satan and Death are already defeated, something many forget when dealing with the issues of this world. Our forgetfulness is evident in the way we react to situations by falling into fear rather than having faith. Falling into to fear is glorifying Satan. We let our lack of self-confidence and perceived shortcomings and weaknesses dictate how we rise to occasions and function in this world. Although I am writing a separate blog about Satan, I need to mention him here because of how much he influences our lives, thoughts, will, emotions and reactions daily. This influence often results in us shying away from what God is calling us to do and shirking the responsibilities He has given us to be stewards of.
"The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."
Deuteronomy 3:18 (NIV)
In the book of Exodus we read about how Moses protested against God when God told him to return to Egypt because He was going to use him to set free His people from slavery in Egypt. Moses was afraid he wouldn't be taken seriously and came up with excuses as to why he couldn't do what God was instructing him to do. He pointed out to God that previously the Israelites had rejected his desire to protect them and also pointed out that he couldn't speak very well. Moses stuttered. This, however, did not change God's mind to use Moses as the vessel through which the Israelites would be delivered from slavery and led to the promised land. Whilst Moses was protesting God had ALREADY instructed Aaron, Moses's brother, to meet Moses in the wilderness so that he could join Moses and speak on his behalf. So what does this tell us? That God knows us and what we're going to do before we even think it. It also tells us that no matter how little we think of ourselves, if God plans on using us He will, and He will make a way for this to be realized.
Besides God instructing Aaron to meet up with Moses, God also reassured Moses that He would perform signs through him to convince the Israelite elders that he had indeed met with God and had been instructed and sent by Him. One of these signs was the name of God, which Moses asked God to reveal to him so that there would be no doubt in the Israelite elders' minds. The name God revealed to Moses was "I AM WHO I AM."
"God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” God, furthermore, said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations." Exodus 3:14-15 (NIV)
Besides God proving to the Israelite elders that He had indeed sent Moses, He was also preparing to reveal Himself and His Almighty power to the Egyptians which unfolds in an elaborate display of signs and wonders and Egypt being punished by nine plagues - frogs, gnats, flies, the death of all livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness and the death every firstborn son. I'm going to cover this in an upcoming blog too related to our future bible study lessons. The reason I mention it now is because God knew Pharaoh's heart, which was led by Satan and because of how the Egyptians had abused His people. First off, it's important to understand God's preparation process and how He set Pharaoh (Satan) up for destruction, which is what we cover in Lesson 20 of our free Bible Study classes this week. Having completed the book of Genesis, we now study the book of Exodus and how God delivered the Israelites from the Egyptians, and in upcoming classes we'll see how distrusting and disobedient human nature is, all because people buy into Satan's lies rather than God's eternal faithfulness. This turns our attention towards ourselves and moves us to reflect on how we do this too - no matter how faithful God is, no matter how He reassures us He will make a way, put His words in our mouths and send His chosen ones to aid us, we still make excuses and want to back down. Why? Because Satan influences us and doesn't want us to succeed. He's terrified that if we rise in our faith and do what the Lord instructs us to do we will grow in number and destroy his kingdom. Although this is inevitable, and although he's already been defeated by what Jesus Christ did on the cross for us, he wants us to forget this by believing his lies about how small, insignificant and ill-equipped we are. Let me add here, that rising into God's calling for our lives is done through our faith and trust in Him and has NOTHING to do with self-empowerment, self-reliance or believing in yourself to get it right. It's ALL about believing in God to be with us, Christ and the the Holy Spirit in us and acting in accordance with God's will and timing for our lives, not what we want or don't want.
Has the Lord called you into something you don't feel equipped to do? Are you protesting and giving the Lord every excuse under the sun why you can't do what He's instructing you to do? Jonah also fled when God gave him instruction because he felt ill-equipped and was afraid. Keep this in mind when you listen to this week's recording and decide whom you are glorifying, God Almighty, or Satan? Remember to read my blog on who Satan is and how he influences us.
Have an awesome week and may this week's bible study lesson give you liberating food for thought.
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