Monday, April 22, 2013

Depreciating God and Man

 So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing?  Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.  But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” – Job 1:9-11

Satan is often called our adversary and our enemy.  God’s word says that he comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10).  But what is it that he comes to destroy?  If you know how Satan fights you will know when he is active in your life.  To fully understand our enemy and how he operates, let’s take a look at his operations.
In Genesis 3 Satan pulls Eve aside to have a one-on-one conversation about fruit, or so it would seem.  He says to her Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”  Note that he first misquotes God, who had not said you cannot eat of EVERY tree in the garden, but of one tree in particular, the Tree of The Knowledge of Good and Evil.  Eve refutes his misquote, explaining that they can eat of any tree except the one, and that God had said “You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.”

Pay close attention to what Satan does next.  He depreciates God to man.  He basically calls God a liar, saying in Genesis 3:4-5, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Let’s move to Satan standing before God discussing Job.  Satan first admits to God that he has been wandering around on the earth.  He wasn’t here for a vacation from hell, he was seeking those who he could harm.  God, for the specific purpose of trying and blessing Job greater, brings up Job.  God says about Job in Job 1:8 that “there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil”.  But what does Satan do?  He depreciates man to God.  He tells God that Job is only serving him because of the benefits God is giving him for doing so.  He says in Job 1:9-11,  Does Job fear God for nothing?  Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.  But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!”   

In Zechariah 3 the prophet has a vision of Joshua standing before God.  While the Angel of the Lord is there to present the vision to Zechariah, Joshua standing in front of him as part of the vision, Satan is also there.  Why is Satan there?  Zechariah 3:2 says he was “standing at his right hand to oppose him.”  Satan’s mission even during the vision of Jerusalem given to Zechariah was to depreciate man [Jerusalem] to God.
In Matthew 4, Jesus had been baptized and fasted for forty days in preparation for the beginning of His earthly ministry.  Satan came to him on the mountain and said three things.  In verse 3, he is called the ‘tempter’ and says “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” Then in verse 5 he says “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”   Satan first seeks to cause Jesus to doubt his birth, his identity, saying twice “If you are the Son of God”. Again, Satan depreciates God to man, the Son of Man, tempting Jesus to doubt His virgin birth.

Lastly, in verses 8-9 Satan takes him to the highest mountain, and has him look down on “all the kingdoms of the world and their glory”, and says to him “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”   Satan attempts to lead Jesus away from God by tempting him with the pleasures and riches of the world.  But Jesus, being with God when it was all formed (John 1:1), knew fully that it was not Satan’s to give.  Satan was depreciating God again, and all that He owns.
The enemy comes to destroy our relationship with God.  He seeks to break apart the family of God, pulling children from the Father, and condemning the children to our Father God. 

He cannot be successful in condemning us to God, for “we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.  And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.”(1 John 2:1)  When he stands before God to condemn us, to tell God all our sins and how wicked and evil we are, Jesus stands as our righteousness, saying “Father, I’ve covered this one with my blood.  Father, I’ve paid their sin debt in full.” Psalms 109:31 says “He shall stand at the right hand of the poor, to save him from those who condemn him.” Satan cannot depreciate those that belong to God. 
But He still has the power to depreciate God to those that belong to Him.  Have you ever felt unworthy of God’s love?  Have you ever felts as if God had stopped loving you?  These feelings do not come from God, but the enemy as he tries to place a wedge in our relationship with Father God.  He tries to cause us to doubt our rebirth, our sinless birth through faith in Jesus Christ.  He whispers “God is not your Father, you’re wicked, you’re not loved, you’re dirty and evil, God is not pleased with you.”  If we believe that God is not pleased, that we cannot please Him, then we will eventually give up.  We do not pursue a relationship with God that is sanctified, built stronger as we seek to serve Him.  We become dead in our faith because we don’t operate in it. 

Discern the messages you hear about your relationship with God, and what He thinks of you.  Do they speak of the truth that is in His word?  Jesus refuted every temptation Satan made with God’s word, and we can do the same. 
God loves us so much that He chooses to call us His Children (1 John 3:1).  When we feel God will not help us, He will lift up our heads (Psalms 3:3) in victory.  When we feel filthy in all our sin, we can remember that He has covered me with the robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10). When we are made to feel that God no longer loves us, we can rest assured that “neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing [not even yourself!], shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”(Romans 8:38-39). 

God’s word will refute all of Satan’s lies.

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