The General

The General

Let me pose a situation to you. You are fighting in a war against a very powerful enemy. This enemy is so powerful that he was one of the main reasons for your ancestors getting expelled from paradise and is also one of the main sources of temptation for you. It seems like at every turn he is out-smarting you and is taking you through a whirlwind of trials that test both your body and your faith. Your only hope of victory is in a very powerful ally that you just acquired who has battle tactics that revolutionize the way you fight the enemy. Right now, you believe that it is hard to tell if you will win in the end or not, but you are hopeful that your new ally has what it takes to overcome the enemy.

But what if I told you that your new ally brings to the table an asset, in addition to new battle techniques, that you do not know about–the fact is that the enemy himself has to clear all of his battle plans with your ally before the battle begins. Not only this, it is actually your ally who places limits on and approves the battle plan of the enemy and uses this plan for his own perfect purposes. How would your attitude and actions change in regard to making war and in regard to your new ally? These are the questions this blog seeks to answer.

the enemy

The crazy thing is that for the Christian, this situation is reality. Our spiritual enemy, Satan, has to clear all of his plans with God before he can do any of them. This is seen most vividly in Job 2:1–10. Here, Satan has come, among the rest of the angels, to present himself before God. God asks him if he has noticed His blameless servant Job, who, although Satan had already destroyed his possessions and his children, still held fast to his integrity before God (v. 3 ESV). Satan snidely replies, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life” (vv. 4–6 ESV). Satan then struck Job with boils to which Job replied, “Shall we receive good from God, and shall not receive evil” (v. 10 ESV).

What do we learn about our ally (God) from this passage?

  1. Satan has to present himself before God, which speaks to Satan’s subordinate status  (2:1)
  2. God points out his servant to Satan for the purpose of testing (2:3)
  3. He allows Satan to touch Job’s body, but places limits as to how far Satan can go (2:4–6). This speaks to God’s total sovereignty over what happens to his servants. He even ordains the trials that Satan brings.
  4. Job ultimately attributes his calamity to God (v. 10).

If we actually believed that God is as sovereign over our spiritual warfare as this passage says He is, we should:

  1. Fear our enemy less because we know that he cannot do anything without God’s permission
  2. Rejoice in the spiritual trials that come upon us knowing that God has allowed them for our good (Romans 8:28) and that we may be complete and lacking in nothing (James 1:4).
  3. Ask the General for spiritual advice. If God already knows the schemes that Satan will throw at us, then would it not make sense for us to be in prayer constantly in order to get the correct battle plans from the Ally who is in the know?
  4. Have full assurance in our victory in Christ. If God is our Ally, and He is able to limit the schemes of the devil, then there is no way that we can lose. “If God is for us, who can be against us!” (Romans 8:31).

Richard

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