It can be comforting to know that Satan needs to get God’s permission before attacking us, as Job 1 and 2 states. God protected Job so when Satan tried to attack he couldn’t, thus Satan asked God to remove the “hedge” God had put around him (Job 1:10). And God did.
That’s not the only time Scripture speaks of this. In Luke 22:31-32 Jesus says, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Clearly in this case Satan had asked God’s permission to test Peter and the other disciples. Jesus tells Peter that He has prayed specifically for him so that Peter’s faith would not fail and so that Peter can strengthen the other disciples when the test was over. The implication is that Peter and the rest would be sifted in whatever way Satan intended. So, God allowed opposition to His disciples, within limits, but He had a higher purpose in mind—the strengthening of them all.
Does that mean that every time we are attacked it is because God has removed His protection and allowed Satan and his forces to strike at us? God is in sovereign control of everything and puts limits on all His creation (Job 38:11). God has limits and boundaries around Satan, so when he “prowls around like a roaring lion” there are restrictions to his actions. If there weren’t, I’m sure he would have every Christian dead. Yet God protects us with His power, His Spirit and His angels. So why does He allow demons to attack us at all? Why not protect us from every attack and temptation?
I covered this pretty thoroughly in a previous blog, “Why Does God Allow Demons to Attack us?” He does it so we will grow in our faith as we learn how to fight for victory. He also does it so we have opportunities to trust Him and glorify Him as we see Him work in and through us. He does it because He honors our free will. He doesn’t force us to sin, neither does He force us to not sin. It is our choice to make, and when we make the choice He steps in and helps us have victory over the temptation, oppression or demonic attacks.
God is much greater than Satan (1 John 4:4). God is in sovereign control of everything (Romans 8:28-39). God knows all about every part of our lives, even the very hairs on our heads (Luke 12:7). God loves us totally and unconditionally (John 14:16). Therefore, we can have assurance that His protection of Job and Peter aren’t exceptions but are the rule. We can confidently say that all our trials are “Father filtered.”
There are some important implications from that. That means that we can’t ever say that what we are going through is “too much” because God promises that can never be the case (1 Corinthians 10:13). We can have victory no matter what we face. God is always acutely aware of what is going on in our lives. It also means there is always a good reason for everything we face, if we realize it or not. Additionally, we can never blame God for what we face. It is never His fault (James 1:13). Yes, Satan always needs approval to attack.
Colossians 1:16–17 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Job 42:2 “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.”
Do you ever feel that what you are facing is too much for you to handle?
Do you feel God isn’t aware of what is happening in your life, or that He doesn’t care?
What truths should you turn to in order to overcome these lies?
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
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