by Heather Bock
My biggest enemy is Satan. Well, not THE Satan–he’s not omnipresent or omnipotent, and I’m sure he doesn’t spend any time attacking me. I mean other demons, of course.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12
The strange part of having an unseen enemy is that I don’t always know when he’s gone against me. In fact, as I usually go along with my eyes on the physical world, I almost never know when spiritual forces are giving me trouble.
When I was younger, before I had kids, I remember several times when I felt oppressed, and it felt like something that went beyond the physical world. Most of the time, though, I don’t think spiritual oppression is that intense, at least here in the United States. I remember reading C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, told from the viewpoint of a head demon mentoring a young demon on how to best fight against a particular young man to whom he was assigned. The fight wasn’t outright and obvious–more like lies whispered and small temptations given. Screwtape says, “The safest road to hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts” (p. 61).
I’ve believed a few of those lies in my lifetime. I’ve believed I have to perform well in order to earn God’s favor. I’ve believed if I can just get in control of my situation, I will feel better (as if I can get in control of any situation when it’s God who’s in control). I’ve believed I don’t need grace as much as punishment, and if God’s not going to punish me, I’d better do it myself.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been doing Beth Moore’s Entrusted study, which focuses on II Timothy. Yesterday, I read her commentary of II Timothy 2:26 about those opposing the gospel, that “they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.” She then proceeds to give a beautiful example of deliverance from an enemy: Psalm 18:1-19. Will you take the time to read this shocking account of the Almighty God rescuing a frail man with passion and power?
I love you, LORD, my strength.
2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and I have been saved from my enemies.
4 The cords of death entangled me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
5 The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.
6 In my distress I called to the LORD;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears.
7 The earth trembled and quaked,
and the foundations of the mountains shook;
they trembled because he was angry.
8 Smoke rose from his nostrils;
consuming fire came from his mouth,
burning coals blazed out of it.
9 He parted the heavens and came down;
dark clouds were under his feet.
10 He mounted the cherubim and flew;
he soared on the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him—
the dark rain clouds of the sky.
12 Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced,
with hailstones and bolts of lightning.
13 The LORD thundered from heaven;
the voice of the Most High resounded.
14 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,
with great bolts of lightning he routed them.
15 The valleys of the sea were exposed
and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at your rebuke, LORD,
at the blast of breath from your nostrils.
16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the LORD was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.
He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.” Do you need more? I wrote more about Zephaniah 3:17 in a blog post here.