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Satan Has Demanded to Have You
Satan Has Demanded to Have You
We have all heard the warning to Peter by Jesus in the gospels prior to Jesus' arrest and Peter's denial. I believe there are more examples of times when Satan had the opportunity to use his abilities on people, with mixed results.
The key for each of these situations is the response by those who were tempted. These individuals responded in many ways: some good, some bad, some better than others, some worse than others. But their response is a lesson to us all on how we should respond when Satan desires to have us.
We all know the story of Cain, that his sacrifice to God was not acceptable, but why? I had always wondered why Cain's offering did not win God's approval. Was it because it was plants and not animals? For years I didn't know. I think I know now:
Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. 4 But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
Gen 4:2-5 (NIV)
The passage tells why Cain's offering was unfavorable while Abel's was. Cain brought SOME of the fruits, but Abel brought from the firstborn (or BEST) of his flock.
God didn't wait on Cain. It seems that God approached Cain and tried to help him.
Then the Lord said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."
Gen 4:6-7 (NIV)
Look at the warning from God. "Sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you." It is chilling. It sounds just like the statement to Peter, "Satan has demanded to have you." Satan was crouching at Cain's door, and desired him. Look at the next verse:
Now Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let's go out to the field." And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
The first example I want to consider is Cain.
God warned him and told him how to deal with it, and yet the next thing Cain did was call his brother to the field so he could kill him. Throughout the rest of the story, God's curse on Cain and Cain's response to the curse; there is never any record of Cain being sorry for what he did. There is never one word of remorse. Satan demanded to have Cain; and, once he had him, he kept him.
1 Sam 15:7-31
Then Saul attacked the Amalekites all the way from Havilah to Shur, to the east of Egypt. 8 He took Agag king of the Amalekites alive, and all his people he totally destroyed with the sword. 9 But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs--everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed.
10 Then the word of the Lord came to Samuel: 11 "I am grieved that I have made Saul king, because he has turned away from me and has not carried out my instructions." Samuel was troubled, and he cried out to the Lord all that night.
12 Early in the morning Samuel got up and went to meet Saul, but he was told, "Saul has gone to Carmel. There he has set up a monument in his own honor and has turned and gone on down to Gilgal."
13 When Samuel reached him, Saul said, "The Lord bless you! I have carried out the Lord's instructions."
14 But Samuel said, "What then is this bleating of sheep in my ears? What is this lowing of cattle that I hear?"
15 Saul answered, "The soldiers brought them from the Amalekites; they spared the best of the sheep and cattle to sacrifice to the Lord your God, but we totally destroyed the rest."
16 "Stop!" Samuel said to Saul. "Let me tell you what the Lord said to me last night."
17 Samuel said, "Although you were once small in your own eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord anointed you king over Israel. 18 And he sent you on a mission, saying, 'Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; make war on them until you have wiped them out.' 19 Why did you not obey the Lord? Why did you pounce on the plunder and do evil in the eyes of the Lord?"
20 "But I did obey the Lord," Saul said. "I went on the mission the Lord assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king. 21 The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the Lord your God at Gilgal."
22 But Samuel replied:
"Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
24 Then Saul said to Samuel, "I have sinned. I violated the Lord's command and your instructions. I was afraid of the people and so I gave in to them. 25 Now I beg you, forgive my sin and come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord."
26 But Samuel said to him, "I will not go back with you. You have rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord has rejected you as king over Israel!"
27 As Samuel turned to leave, Saul caught hold of the hem of his robe, and it tore. 28 Samuel said to him, "The Lord has torn the kingdom of Israel from you today and has given it to one of your neighbors--to one better than you. 29 He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a man, that he should change his mind."
30 Saul replied, "I have sinned. But please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel; come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord your God." 31 So Samuel went back with Saul, and Saul worshiped the Lord. 1 Sam 15:7-31 (NIV)
Saul wanted to think he was doing a good thing. Maybe keeping King Agag demonstrated the degree of the victory. They only kept the best of the cattle to sacrifice to God. (At least, that was the story when Saul was confronted by Samuel.) It sounded good. I am reminded of Proverbs 14:
There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.
When Samuel came to find Saul, Saul had gone to Carmel to set up a monument in his own honor. Not God's honor, Saul's honor. He disobeyed, then tried to honor himself.
I have noticed something in Saul's language. Maybe I am making too much of it, but look at verses 15, 21, 30. Talking to Samuel, he referred not to my Lord, but to the Lord, YOUR God. I wonder if his attitude further changed, from disobedience to detachment.
Saul replied, "I have sinned. But please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel; come back with me, so that I may worship the Lord your God."
Again, he says the right things, he asked Samuel to come back with him, so that he could worship the Lord. Verse 31 says that Saul did worship the Lord. But he asked Samuel to come back with him to honor him before the elders and before Israel. Did he just do it for show? Was his heart in the worship, or was he jus doing it for himself and his own appearance?
Saul's jealousy caused him to try to kill David (Chapter 19). David spared his life in chapters 24 and 26. You would think Saul would learn a lesson, but in chapter 28 he violated God's law by consulting the witch of Endor. Once he started his fall, he gradually descended lower and lower. Eventually he took his own life rather than fall into the hands of the Philistines. Not a very honorable end for the first King of Israel.
Satan desired to have Saul, and Saul's pride opened the door for Satan. JOB
Maybe the most obvious choice after Peter of a person who Satan demanded to have is Job.
Then the Lord said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil."
9 "Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. 10 "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face."
12 The Lord said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger."
Job 1:8-12 (NIV)
In one day Job lost his oxen, his donkeys, his sheep, his servants, and his sons and daughters.
Then the Lord said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason."
4 "Skin for skin!" Satan replied. "A man will give all he has for his own life. 5 But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face."
6 The Lord said to Satan, "Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life."
Job was afflicted with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. How did Job respond in each of these situations?
After losing all his property:
At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:
"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised."
22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
Job 1:20-22 (NIV)
His wife said to him, "Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!"
10 He replied, "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?"
THE DIFFERENCE IS IN THE RESPONSE
I want you to see the difference in the three stories we have just studied. The difference is all in the response. Cain and Saul reacted in very different ways than Job to Satan's attack.
God had talked to Cain and warned him that "sin is crouching at your door, it desires to have you, but you must master it." But Cain's next act was to take his brother out and murder him. When confronted by God, he had no sorrow. Satan had him because he ignored the warning of the Lord.
Saul began his descent when he disobeyed what God told him to do. Then he began to separate himself from God. And, despite some sporadic attempts, that may have been just for show, he tried to kill David, consulted a witch, and ultimately took his own life.
Saul created his own problem when he listened his own desires rather than trying to please God. Satan demanded to have Saul, and Saul helped with his disobedience and selfish actions.
But look at the difference in the response of Cain and Saul and that of Job.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.
Job responded by not blaming God. The scripture says that Job did not sin in anything he said. He realized that God is in charge; that he must accept God's will for him and that God will protect his soul.
The first two were selfish, but Job was selfless. Satan had demanded to have Job, but Job didn't give in to the temptation.
HOW MUST WE RESPOND?
Can Satan demand to have us? Are we as vulnerable to Satan's attacks as Cain, and Saul, and Job? I think we are. We live in Satan's world. This is his domain.
I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming.
John 14:30 (NIV)
The Lord said to Satan, "Where have you come from?"
1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.
Eph 2:1-3 (NIV)
13 When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.
James 1:13-15 (NIV)
The truth is, Satan is more inclined to attack us if we are children of God, if we try to do God's will, because we are a threat to Satan. For all his faults, Cain was making an offering to God. Even though it wasn't favorable to God, he was trying and God tried to correct Cain's error. But Cain wouldn't be corrected. Saul was attacked because he was King of Israel. Saul had disobeyed, but when his sin was pointed out to him, he continued to fall further and further astray. Job was God's great example to Satan of a man who was a blameless follower of God. But Job didn't fall when Satan attacked him. He is an example to us of how to handle adversity. We must cling to our faith in God and don't allow Satan continue to drag us down.
Satan will attack those who follow God. Even God's son wasn't exempt.
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written:
"'He will command his angels concerning you,
8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me."
Satan gave Jesus his best shot, "you're God, make yourself some food; you're God, let the angels take care of you; you're God, you created this world, claim it as your own." Jesus had every right to claim everything Satan was asking him to. But Jesus responded as God would have us respond. He went to God's word.
"If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."
4 Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.' "
6 "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written:
"'He will command his angels concerning you,
7 Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.' "
9"All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me."
10 Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.' "
Matt 4:4,6,7,9,10 (NIV)
Jesus responded to Satan's temptation by going to God's word. The best way to withstand the attacks of the Devil is to stay in God's word. God's word is a solace from evil and temptation.
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
God's word keeps us focused on Him. It keeps us from being distracted by the promises of the devil. And there is payback for being in the word. We become closer to God the more we study about Him. And this resistance against sin will make the devil leave us.
7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you.
This is exactly what happened when Jesus was tempted by Satan. After rebuking Satan's temptations three times, look what happens in verse 11.
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
Matt 4:1-11 (NIV)
Satan demanded to have the Son of God, and Jesus handled his temptation with the word of God. If we stay in the word and resist the devil, the devil will flee from us, too.
And finally, the classic example of Satan demanding to have someone.
I think there is more here than just the obvious.
13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"
14 They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
15 "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"
16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
17 Jesus replied, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." 20 Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ.
Jesus Predicts His Death
22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "Never, Lord!" he said. "This shall never happen to you!"
23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."
This is just like Cain and Saul. Hey wanted things to be on their terms, not God's. Peter was more concerned about this world than he was about the things of God. Jesus had just explained what had to happen, but Peter didn't like that idea. He wanted it his way. Jesus had to let him know that that wasn't God's way.
Judas had just kissed Jesus, and given the signal to the soldiers.
50 Jesus replied, "Friend, do what you came for."
Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. 51 With that, one of Jesus' companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
52 "Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?"
Matt 26:50-54 (NIV)
Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.
Matt 26:56b (NIV)
Of course, the companion with the sword was Peter, still trying to handle things his way. Was Satan's hand on him? I don't know. But if Peter had succeeded and stopped Jesus arrest and crucifixion, there would be no atonement for our sins. I think the devil would use any means to deny us our salvation, even that which seems good at the time.
31 And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. 33 And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. 34 And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.
Luke 22:31-34 (KJV)
54 Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. 55 But when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. 56 A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, "This man was with him."
57 But he denied it. "Woman, I don't know him," he said.
58 A little later someone else saw him and said, "You also are one of them." "Man, I am not!" Peter replied.
59 About an hour later another asserted, "Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean."
60 Peter replied, "Man, I don't know what you're talking about!" Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: "Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times." 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.
Luke 22:54-62 (NIV)
Peter has had arguably the greatest failure recorded in the bible. We have said before that the important fact is not that Satan had an effect on these people, but how they respond to their failure. So how does Peter respond?
9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.
Luke 24:9-12 (NIV)
Peter was one of the first to arrive at the tomb after Jesus' resurrection. In John 20, the record indicates that John outran Peter to the tomb, but Peter was the first to enter the tomb.
7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, "It is the Lord!" As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, "It is the Lord," he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.
John 21:7-8 (NIV)
Once again, Peter was first to go to the Lord.
36 "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."
13 The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.
Acts 3:13-15 (NIV)
8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: "Rulers and elders of the people! 9 If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 He is
"'the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone'.
12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."
Here is this man who ran rather than stand up with his leader as he had promised, who denied that he knew Jesus three times. It would have been easy to give up. It would have been easy to decide that you were too much of a failure to keep trying. But Peter didn't do that. He kept putting himself right in the middle of the action, right at the front line, like at Jesus tomb, at Pentecost where he preached the first gospel sermon. In chapter after chapter of Acts he stood up to those who would silence him. He never again backed down. He taught the message of Christ crucified until his death. Secular history tells us that Peter was crucified, but he didn't consider himself worthy to die the same death as his lord, so he demanded to be crucified upside down. Maybe that is true, maybe it isn't, but it fits way that Peter has behaved after the resurrection.
(If we re-read Luke 22, we find that Jesus knew what Peter was going to do. The denial was never in question to Jesus. What he prayed for was that Peter's faith not fail him, and that when he was converted, that he strengthen the brethren. Peter did all this, just as Jesus had prayed.
So we have seen that Satan does have control of this world, and that he will try to sift us out of our protection and our focus on God. As he did Cain, Job, Peter, and even Jesus himself. There are others in the Bible we could discuss: Jonah, David, Simon the sorcerer, and Paul the apostle, among others
We have different ways to respond when we are tempted.
We can be like Cain and think of only ourselves and have no sorrow for our sins and their consequences. We can let ourselves move further and further from our connection with God until we are totally separate from his will, like Saul.
Or we can be like Job, who didn't let anything that happened to him affect his trust in God. Or we can take the example of Christ and focus on God's word when we are tempted. Or, as Peter responded, we can dedicate ourselves even more to doing God's will and furthering his kingdom.
In other words, we can be selfish or we can be selfless.
We have two great passages that help us in this battle:
No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
1 Cor 10:13 (NIV)
Even so, we are still going to fail. We will fail when we decide, like Peter, that doing things our way is better than doing things God's way. What do we do then? We consider the rest of the passage in Ephesians 2 that we read earlier.
1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Eph 2:1-10 (NIV)
God has made a way out for us no matter what temptation we face, and he has supplied his grace so that we can be saved from the times when we fail. It all depends on how we respond when Satan demands to have us. We must cling to our Lord through prayer, and faith, and fellowship, and his word. That is the key to our response.
You have a chance today to respond to God's invitation today.
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