GOD UTILIZES THE ENEMY – 1
(Thirty plus years ago God put Don Rogers in my life. He trained and mentored me in spiritual ministry. When he was no longer able to minister, I had the privilege taking over his “Spiritual Warfare Ministries”. He had written many articles about spiritual warfare. I have edited and added to his work for this blog.)
Why does God permit Satan and evil spirits to continue their work? In His sovereignty, God chose to give both the angels and mankind free wills to make choices. Both angels and mankind fell when they chose their own will instead of God’s will. God knew the risks of entrusting freedom to His creatures, but He also knew that relationships and love could only exist through the freedom of the will. Love is a choice.
Unfortunately, freedom allowed sin to enter the picture and produce suffering and death. Sin also gives Satan an opportunity in peoples’ lives. Sin allows Satan to rule for the time being upon the earth. But sin and Satan cannot stop God’s will from being accomplished. In fact, the Lord can take anything and use it to accomplish His purposes (Romans 8:28). We see in the scriptures how the Lord uses sin and it’s consequences to demonstrate to mankind their need to have God in their lives. He uses our enemy to get our attention as well. Satan may think that he is working out his own agenda, but he and his hosts accomplish God’s purposes in spite of their lies and rebellion.
The scriptures give us a number of instances where God permits an evil spirit to work in a person’s life. We are going to examine three ways God uses their activity. Let us examine the first reason:
- God uses evil spirits to administer CHASTISEMENT. God chastises those who are sinning, that they might recognize their sin and turn their lives over to Him (John 15:1; Hebrews 12:4-12; Proverbs 3:11-12). Of course Satan is seeking a different outcome.
- King Saul – 1 Samuel – chapters 13-31 Saul was a very secular person who relied upon his own understanding and abilities, rather than God. God reprimanded him through the prophet Samuel on different occasions, because of his disobedience. First, he was informed that his kingdom would not endure, because God had sought out a man after His own heart (13:14). Next, he was told the Lord had rejected him as king over Israel (15:26). Then when the Lord had David anointed and the Spirit of the Lord came upon him in power, the Lord removed His Spirit fro m King Saul and permitted an evil spirit to torment him (16:14)
I believe the Lord was still trying to salvage the man, by getting his attention through the work of the evil spirit. He suffered depression, but still leaned on his own understanding and abilities. Often, when we are in mental, emotional or physical pain, we turn to Go for help. But Saul did not seek the Lord. Instead his life began to plummet. He became a very angry man, exhibited jealousy and fear because of David (18:18-19). The evil spirit was evidently exerting his influence in Saul’s life. He made repeated attempts to kill David.
Finally, when the Philistines had gathered their forces to fight against Israel, King Saul was overcome with fear and terror. He decided to inquire of the Lord for guidance, but the Lord did not answer him. So, Saul asked his attendants to find him a medium that he might inquire of Samuel. King Saul did not get the answer sought. Instead, the Lord caused the prophet Samuel to be manifested to the medium in a vision. Samuel told Saul that he had become the Lord’s enemy. The Lord was going to hand both Israel and Saul over to the Philistines and both he and his sons would be with the Lord the following day. Shortly thereafter, when the Philistines fought Israel, Saul’s three sons were killed and Saul was critically wounded. Saul commanded his armor bearer to kill him with his sword. Thus, Saul and his sons died on the same day.
If King Saul had responded differently to the chastisement that the Lord had permitted, his life and the lives of his sons might have been much different. Instead of turning to the Lord about his feelings towards David, he sought to eliminate his challenger on his terms. By trying to destroy God’s chosen one, he was actually fighting against God and making himself God’s enemy. Even the chastisement of the Lord did not bring about a change of heart in this man.
- Parable of the Unmerciful Servant – Matt 18:21-35 This parable was given by Jesus in response to the question, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me?” The Lord responded with a story about a servant who owed the king ten thousand talents. As the servant was unable to pay what he owed, his master ordered that he and his wife and children, along with all they possessed, be sold to repay the debt. The servant fell on his knees before the king and begged for his patience, so that he might have time to pay him back. His master surprised him by canceling his debt and letting them go.
But the story did not end there. The forgiven servant found one of his fellow servants who owed him money and began grabbing him and choking him. He demanded to be paid what was owed him. His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, “Be patient with me and I will pay you back.” But the forgiven servant would not forgive him but had the man thrown into prison until he would pay the debt. Other servants witnessed what happened and reported it to the master.
The master called the servant in and reprimanded him. “You wicked servant, I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?” Then we are told, “And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the “tormentors,” till he should pay all that was due unto him.” (KJV)
The point I am trying to make is that we must remember this is a parable which is designed to convey a spiritual lesson to the listeners about the consequences of unforgiveness. I think the King James Version is a good translation that conveys the Lord‘s intent here. The Lord often turns sinners over to the enemy and permits him to torment them. It is through suffering the consequences of sin that a sinner repents and asks for mercy.
Look at Ephesians 4:26-31, where Paul says, “Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” (26,27) The context suggests to me that the various sins listed in the passage could give the devil a foothold if practiced in a person’s life. The sins mentioned are: stealing, unwholesome talk, bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander and malice, to mention a few. Unforgiveness is certainly implied.
If you are struggling with difficulties, make sure God isn’t using them to get your attention to bring you closer to Him. Even if there is no sin in your life, He still uses obstacles to stretch our faith and bring growth (John 15:1; Hebrews 12:4-12; Proverbs 3:11-12).
BOOKS OF BLOGS Recently I’ve compiled my almost 400 spiritual warfare blogs into 3 books with an excellent, thorough index to all the blogs. They make an excellent resource for any subject even remotely related to spiritual warfare which you’d like to know more about. You can download a PDF or read it on line. Go to https://www.christiantrainingonline.org/ Open the Spiritual Warfare site, then click on “Learning More (Books)” and the listing will open. If you have problems or want me to email them to you just contact me at Jerry@ChristianTrainingOrganization.org