Satan proposes, God disposes - Lesson 4
In our study of Satan we have learned that the first sin in all of Godís creation was the sin of pride.
For Satan came to see himself as a self created being having greater worth than that which God, his maker, assigned to him.
This pride led him to rebel against his maker, but knowing that this rebellion could not be conducted by strength, he chose to rebel by deceit, slander and subversion.
We are introduced to this rebellion in the first book of the Bible where Satan questioned Godís word, where he accused God of lying, and where he accused God of withholding good things from His creatures.
He takes advantage of the free will with which God has endowed his creatures and uses subversion and deceit to draw men and angels to worship and to serve him instead of worshipping and serving their creator.
Satan has lodging on this earth.
He is the one who has established the course of this world.
He is the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.
He is the one who usurped the dominion of Earth from Adam in the garden where he brought his sin of pride and infected Godís creation.
He is he one who offered this worldís kingdoms to our Lord if he would fall down and worship him.
Matthew 4:8-9, Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
Jesus Christ did not dispute Satanís right to offer him the kingdoms for Satan has the right of ruler-ship of earthís kingdoms for it was given him by the first Adam.
Jesus acknowledged this reality in John 14:30 where he called Satan the prince of this world.
Paul in 2 Corinthians. 4:4, calls him the god of this world who hath blinded the minds of them which believe not.
Jesus only rebuked him concerning whom to worship: Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 11Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
This acknowledgment of Satanís power over this world is verified by the gospel message itself, where we learn in John 3:16:
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Satan sees Godís love as a weakness which gives him opening to deceive and corrupt but God intends by love to take back that dominion and it will be given into the hands of the second Adam to rule and to reign.
Godís strength indeed is made perfect in weakness.
That intention of God to love his creation back to Himself was expressed at the beginning when He promised deliverance of the first Adam and his race from this heavenly usurper, this prideful creature who rebelled against his maker.
There was no mention of the man Christ Jesus as the deliverer but there was mention of Eveís seed.
In other words an offspring of Eve would be the deliverer of Adam and his race.
Now to us who have the word of God and the account of the virgin birth of Christ we can see how this fits, for in this message to Satan there is no mention of a human father of this man, in other words this man would come forth from a virgin.
Genesis 3:15, And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Satan immediately understood what God was saying.
This deliverer, this Messiah, an offspring of Eve, a man, would come to do battle with Satan.
Satan would bruise Messiah's heel which would be a non-fatal blow but Messiah would deliver a fatal blow to Satan's head.
In this message of deliverance to Satan there is no time reference given but the deliverer would come from Eveís seed.
So when Eve gave birth to two boys Cain and Abel, it appears that Satan assumed that one of them was to be the deliverer.
He saw that Abelís offering was favored by God and that Cainís offering was not respected.
He also saw that Cainís offering fit into his own economy, that of the outward.
Cainís offering was the beautiful fruit of the ground while Abelís offering was of that which God prescribed, an animal sacrifice with shed blood, an offering of obedience.
Cain was the first tool of Satan for Jesus told us in John 8:44 that Satan was a murderer from the beginning.
Cain was the one to strike the blow against Abel but it was Satan who moved him to the act.
He was a murderer from the beginning for in the beginning he murdered Abel in an attempt to get rid of the promised Messiah.
But Abel was not the promised Messiah nor was Seth, the next born, the promised Messiah.
It is interesting to note that in Genesis 4:25 Eve (when referring to Seth) said that God hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel.
So Satan knew that there was no stopping God as to a seed that would be raised up as long as there was a race of people upon the Earth.
He therefore began a campaign of corrupting the race to such an extreme that Godís holiness would not allow its continuance.
This campaign took many centuries but Satan brought the world to great wickedness as we are told in Gen. 6:5-8:
And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. 7And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
This lament of God pleased Satan, for if there was no man on earth there would be no seed, no deliverer of man, there would be no bruising of his head, no defeat but only victory.
Satan believed that Godís holiness would move Him to destroy a race of people that was without merit, a race of people that was without hope of turning from wickedness and evil.
But Satan did not know as much about God as he thought he knew.
He knew about His holiness, but he knew nothing of His Grace.
Godís holiness would not permit this race of people to continue but God also remembered his promise to bruise the head of Satan and deliver this people.
God cannot be stopped by any adversary.
So God looked for a man and he found Noah.
Genesis 6:13, And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.
So God chose Noah with whom to begin anew.
We know on this side of scripture that God always preserves a faithful remnant from which he can begin anew.
Godís principle is this: that all things work together for good to those who love God.
His will, will not be thwarted, and we can depend upon that.
Satan believed otherwise but his second attempt to prevent the deliverer of God failed, for Noah and his family were preserved from Godís judgment of the human race.
But Satan did not give up easily and continued to look for clues to Godís plan of deliverance.
And he gathered intelligence by hearing that God promised Abraham that the Messiah would come from his seed.
Genesis 12:1a-3b, Now the LORD had said unto Abram, ÖÖÖ.. and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
Later on, Satan learned that Messiah would be a descendent of Abraham's son, Isaac.
Genesis 21:12b, for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.
Later yet, Satan overheard that Messiah would be a descendent of Isaac's son, Jacob.
Gen 28.13a, 28.14b, And behold, the Lord stood above it (a ladder) and said [to Jacob]: "I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac... in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.
Satan had now pin-pointed his target.
If he wiped out all of Jacob's descendants, there would be no Messiah.
This he tried when Jacobís descendants were enslaved in Egypt using his surrogate, Egyptís king, for a genocide against Jacobís seed.
Genocide is no new thing for the Jew.
Satan has tried this tactic throughout the centuries in an attempt to stop Godís grace.
So moved by Satan, as those who are without God so easily do, the Egyptian king ordered the midwives to kill all newborn male Hebrews.
If all the male Hebrews were slain, the Hebrew race would disappear within a single generation.
There would be no descendants of Jacob, and no Messiah would be born to defeat Satan.
In other words, Satan attempted "genocide" -- the extinction of an entire
race of people in order to prevent Godís deliverer.
But another plan was ordered for we find this attempt at genocide again in the book of Esther.
We all know the story:
Esther 3:13, And the letters were sent by posts into all the kingís provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day,
But how glad the ending was, for God saved the day and turned the genocide to Haman and his sons.
But later, Satan is at the ready with another of his sons, Herod to carry out his edict to destroy the promised one whose coming was announced by the angels to the shepherds.
Luke 1:10,11, And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
No doubt this message was heard by Satanís evil angels and quickly reported to him.
Godís deliverer is now known to Satan.
Satan springs into action and another of his faithful surrogates, Herod does his bidding for an order is given to kill children.
Matthew 2:16, Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.
But and angel appeared to Joseph in a dream saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
Over the years as Jesus grew up, Satan continued to seek opportunity to tempt Him into disobeying God as he did the first Adam.
In his mind this Jesus was just another weak human being who could be corrupted.
But it was God who put his son though these temptations as we are told in:
Matthew 4:1, Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
But every attempt at corruption failed for this man was not a man like the first Adam for this man obeyed the word of God.
The first Adam was in a perfect environment, with beauty all around and all good foods to eat. And yet he fell.
Jesus was led, not to a garden with all manner of food but to the wilderness without sustenance for forty days and forty nights.
So Satan played to his weakness and tempted Jesus with food.
That temptation was met by the word of God.
It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Satan then offered him fame, worship and power, but all were rejected in favor of doing His fatherís will.
This failure to win him as he won other men did not stop Satanís efforts for he had many in Israel who were at the ready to do his evil bidding.
Remember that Jesus had told the Pharisees "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.
So Satan went about to use his children to destroy this promised one, and like any good executive he called a meeting.
Matthew 26:3,4, Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, 4And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtlety, and kill him.
Another Herod was enlisted.
Satan also knew his man Pontius Pilate would come through for him and he knew just the right mob to demand that Pilate crucify Him.
And because of this conspiracy Jesus was sentenced to death and crucified where he gave up his spirit, Iím sure to the relief of this arch enemy who for so long yearned to stop Godís plan to bruise his head.
Satan no doubt rejoiced, for victory was his at last, or so he thought.
If demons and devils celebrate it must have been a festive night like no other, and this festivity continued while this one who had been announced to be a Savior lay dead in the tomb.
Perhaps they ridiculed that angelic announcement that they and the shepherds heard 33 years ago.
11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
But then came Sunday morning and the view of an empty tomb which first was seen by Mary Magdalene and the other Mary.
Matthew 28:2-6, ÖÖ.the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. 3His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: 4And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. 5And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. 6He is not here: for he is risen, as he said.
Satan who was sure that victory was in hand was again thwarted by the hand of God.
Satan does not believe that Godís word is sure but as the Bible makes clear all of his attempts have proven that God will always fulfill His promises.
From this list of victories we can be assured of the ultimate defeat of Satan and any promises that remain unfulfilled will be fulfilled.
Satan proposes, but it is God who disposes.
Ecclesiastics. 7:8a, Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof