The Devil Cannot Be Quarantined
A highway billboard read: “Go to church or the Devil will get you.” Well, the truth is even if you attend church the Devil can get you. Unlike what is portrayed in these horror movies, church buildings do not represent holy ground where the Devil and his demons dare not tread. In fact, every Sunday Satan’s ministers stand in pulpits across this nation spreading his lies to the gullible pew potatoes (2 Cor. 11:13f).
The Devil is always at work tempting. Covid-19 might have us quarantined, but the Devil is not. The stay in place order does not apply to the Devil. He’s busy “twenty-four/seven/three sixty-five.” He just might sneak up while you are reading this article and take a shot at you.
The Great Dragon (Rev. 12:9) would love nothing more than to be a non-existent threat. As a line in a movie once said, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” The devil doesn’t want you to know he exists. If God is the great “I AM”, Satan is the great “I AM NOT”!
According to Job, the Devil is constantly wandering about the earth seeking his next victims. And the Lord said to Satan, “‘From where do you come?” So Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it’” (Job 1:7). He is like a lion with an insatiable appetite. Peter warned the saints of the first century, “be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8). A lion is an opportunist. He goes after the weak and elderly and unprepared.
The Serpent will show up when we are happy in paradise. The first time he made an appearance was in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). The Devil will drop by when we are experiencing prosperity. Paul warned, “but those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition” (1 Timothy 6:9). The evil Lion will pounce on those who are novices, that is, new born babes in Christ. Paul told Timothy that an elder could not be “a novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same condemnation as the devil” (1 Timothy 3:6).
The Deceiver will snare us when we are complimented by others. Also concerning the qualifications of an elder Paul wrote, “moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil” (1 Timothy 3:7).
The God of this World loves to find us when we are alone. Like when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness. “Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts” (Mark 1:12).
Those who are weak and hungry are especially targeted by the hungry roaring Lion (1 Peter 5:8). Jesus “being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry” (Luke 4:2). When we are suffering great loss like Job who lost all in a day The Destroyer (Rev. 9:11) will seize opportunity. “And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.’ So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord” (Job 1:12).
The Murderer (John 8:44) will attack the sick and suffering. “So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head” (Job 2:7). And Paul the apostle was not exempt from the Devil’s intentions. “And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me” (2 Cor. 12:7).
The Adversary (1 Peter 5:8) will show up while we are at worship. Consider how Satan tempted Nadab and Abihu to use strange fire. God warned Cain of his attitude, “so the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it’” (Genesis 4:6-7).
While people are sitting in the pews looking for a lesson from God’s Word, the Father of all lies (John 8:44) has his false teachers in place and ready to deceive. “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).
“Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, ‘Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!’ But He turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men’” (Matt. 16:22-23). While good men are striving to do God’s Will and are sincere in their motives they will be tempted by the Tempter (Mt. 4:3).
The Prince of this world (John 14:30) is not going to stand by idly while the saints spread the Good News of salvation in Christ to those lost in sin. Paul told the Thessalonians “therefore we wanted to come to you—even I, Paul, time and again—but Satan hindered us” (1 Thessalonians 2:18).
They say that “anger” is just one letter away from “danger.” Belial (2 Cor. 6:15) knows all to well how tempting it can be for some to let their anger get out of control. We are commanded to “be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil” (Eph. 4:26-27). The Greek word for “place” is topos. It refers to a specific, marked-off, geographical location. It is from this word that we get the word for a “topographical” map. They say, “if you give a man an inch, he will take a mile!” And the Devil will take your soul.
If the Devil cannot be quarantined, just how can we protect ourselves. Jesus suggested praying: “and do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:13). As a soldier fighting the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2) we must “above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one” (Eph. 6:16). Furthermore it comes in handy to understand the Satan’s tactics “lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Cor. 2:11). It’s hard enough to do right, but when we fail to take our enemy the devil seriously we make matters worse.
The Devil has a crippling weakness. What the devil doesn’t want you to know is this: what kryptonite is to Superman, what light is to cockroaches, what the cross is to Dracula, so God’s spoken Word is to the devil! Jesus never once failed any of the tests the Devil placed before Him. What helped Him defeat the devil time and time again was His understanding and ready use of the Scriptures. Three times in response to three temptations Jesus quoted from the Word of God: “it is written.” This sent the Devil running for a time. “Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time” (Luke 4:13). We too need to use the Word of God to resist the Devil. “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). However, keep studying the Word and be ready. The Devil will be back. He cannot be kept in quarantine.
– Daniel R. Vess