The range of our formidable Enemy
Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?”
The joys of living a quiet, peaceful life in stable community within a justice-honoring country are without number. Such is the lot of many — if not most — in the United States of America. When the economy is good, the weather fair, and one’s health is stable, we could hardly ask for more. Delightful conditions, if you enjoy any measure of them, lull us to doze off regarding a greater reality.
That greater reality is that there is a powerful, spiritual being who enjoys, it appears, a sobering, wide range of motion and access to our world. Paul names him “the prince of the power of the air” (cf. Ephesians 2:1), the orchestrator of “the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.” Peter names him “the devil,” an adversary on a lion-stalking-like prowl for human prey (1 Peter 5:8).
Interestingly, the account of Job 1 indicates Satan is required to check-in before the Almighty periodically. An indication that his authority is indeed limited. Nonetheless, the scope of his sojourns through the masses of humanity is breathtaking. A keen observer, he apparently misses little, and forgets even less. When asked by the Lord, Satan is immediately aware of everything about Job. Most notably, that he hasn’t (yet) been given the “right of (destructive) entry,” which is frustrating to him.
Let’s take note. Our enemy knows us, not as well as God (cf. Psalm 139), but well enough. To our peril, we may be asleep as he assesses our condition, our strengths and our vulnerabilities. Peter’s urge is for us to be “sober-minded,” watchful, ready to resist him in firm faith. Are you?