The Devil’s mission: Meditation for the nineteenth Sunday after Trinity
The Devil is a real entity and not simply the figurative embodiment of evil (2 Cor. 11: 3; Rev. 12: 9). A study of such passages as Rev. 12; 1 Jn 3:8; I Pet. 5: 8-9 and Jn 10: 10 throws light on the devil’s background, and what he is out to accomplish here on earth, particularly in relation to the people of God. He was an over-ambitious and rebellious heavenly being, who was hurled down to earth. He made frantic effort to thwart God’s purpose for man. When he failed and man was saved from him, he pursued the destruction of the saved with every determination and filth of rage. “Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring – those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” (Rev. 12:17). He prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom to devour (1 Pet. 5: 8). He is the enemy and thief, whose mission is to steal and kill and destroy, unlike Jesus Christ, Whose mission is to give abundant life (Jn 10:10). The Devil employs temptations, persecutions, oppressions, intimidations, distractions and demonic attack, among others to accomplish his mission.
We are not ignorant of the Devil’s schemes and should therefore guard ourselves against his devices and attacks (2Cor. 2:11; Eph. 6: 10-18).
Reflections on Bible Readings for Day – Job 1; 2Tim. 2: 1-19 (Mattins)
The OT Reading is a classic example of the Devil at work. He roams through the earth with eyes on godly people to deal with them. He is, however, generally hindered by the “hedge” or protection, which God has provided for His people. But he stops at nothing to accomplish his task, including joining the angels in presenting himself before God to act as man’s adversary and obtain approval to test the godly. He makes best use of any opportunity of crossing the hedge, which God has placed around His people to deal them such heavy blows that can crumble them. Job is a case point. He was made to lose all he had in one day! But he appeared to understand the Devil’s mission or what was at stake and remained faithful. “In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.” (vs. 22).
The NT Reading is a pastoral letter in which Paul underscored discipline in discipleship. The Devil employs some distraction strategy to accomplish his purposes. The need for the discipline and endurance of a soldier and athlete, therefore, cannot be overemphasised. Timothy should prove himself an approved workman committed to keeping the people on the track. Some have derailed and fallen to the Devil’s ploy, even while still claiming to be in the faith. ‘Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.”’ (vs. 19).
The Venerable Dr. Princewill Onyinyechukwu Ireoba, FIMC, CMC, is the Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.