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The Foiled Foe

Satan understood Job. He knew the workings of that corrupt nature, which his own lie has formed (“thou hast done this”: Gen 3:14—NC) in the Garden of Eden. He had said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him? Touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face. Skin for skin; yes, all that a man has will he give for his life.” And serious and terrible is the thought, beloved, that he knows us so thoroughly and understands the springs of thought and will within us.

But though Satan thus understood Job, he did not understand God. The counsels of grace are above him. And by reason of this, he has been always, in the history of this world, defeating himself, while thinking that he was getting the advantage of us. For he has to meet God in the very thing he does, and the purpose he plans against us.

When Satan interfered with Adam in the garden, he encountered God to his own confusion, and God’s promise announced his own doom (Gen 3:14, 15—NC). When he provoked David to number the people (1Chr 21:1—NC), Oman’s threshing floor was disclosed, and the spot where mercy rejoiced against judgement (Jam 2:13—NC) becomes the place of the Temple (1Chr 3:1—NC). When he sifted the Apostles as wheat (Luke 22:31—NC), he was answered by the prayer of Jesus, and, instead of faith failing, brethren were strengthened. And above all, when he touched the Lord Jesus on the Cross, the very death he inflicted was his own perfect and accomplished destruction (before Jesus’ resurrection Satan possessed the “power of death” by God’s allowance; Heb 2:14; Rev 1:18—NC).

So, in every trouble which he brings on any of us, he finds, or is to find, sooner or later, that he has met the mighty God, and not the feeble saint (1Cor 12:22; Heb 12:12—NC. He entered Job’s nest that he might spoil it, and leave it driven and wasted. He came upon another garden then, but God was there as well as His servant Job, and in the end Satan was confounded.

Thus is it with the saints and their Enemy. They shall reign over the Kingdom, and the kingdom of Satan shall have no place (Mat 12:36; Rev 2:13; 16:10—NC). Out of the trials which he had raised around them and against them (Gen 50:20—NC), they come forth to wear their crowns, and sing their triumph songs. Instead of his appearing again “among the sons of God,” the mighty angel shall lay hold on him, and cast him into the bottomless pit (Rev 20:1-3—NC).

It has been observed by another, that Satan is always defeated. He is the instrument, the willing instrument, of destroying the flesh (body, not spirit, nor soul); but that destruction ends in the saving of the spirit (1Cor 5.5). He receives, gladly receives, one that is judicially (a right due to “the law of sin”—NC) delivered over to him; but all that ends in such a one is learning not to blaspheme (1Tim 1:20). He inflicts thorns in the flesh, but this still works good, for the servant of Christ is thereby kept from undue exaltation (1Cor 12:7).

These are illustrious exhibitions of Satan being always defeated. Because they show this—that he lends himself directly to his own overthrow. His own weapon is turned against himself. The one whom he assails is, by the very attack, given strength and virtue against him (Jam 1:3; 2Pet 1:6—NC). Happy assurance: our great adversary is never victorious (which I believe is the same even concerning unbelievers because their remaining in unbelief is due to the sinful nature, not the devil, who I believe can only enhance the sinful nature—which is a body with its own sinful members; Rom 6:6; Col 3:5, 8—NC), but the final accountability always lies with the unbeliever’s volition, i.e. Eze 18:20—NC)!

- J G Bellett

I humbly recommend this surprising daily devotional by MJS: None But The Hungry Heart