The Devil is a Loser

II Kings 18, 19
In my most recent devotionals, I have been writing about the enemy, Satan the Devil. I don’t particularly like talking about him but I find there is a need to talk about his modus operandi, every once in a while.
This will probably be the last in the series for a while. Until the need arises again. I thought I should use a story in the Bible to buttress all the things I have said about him. This story is about King Hezekiah and his encounter with  Senacherib, king of Assyria.  It typifies our lives as we walk with God.
Hezekiah became King of Judah at the age of 25. He took over at a time his people were steep deep in idolatry. The Bible says, he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord. He brought down all the high places and altars that God was offended by. That could easily be you and I doing the will of God in our lives as we understand and living to please and glorify God. In fact, God was so pleased with him, that he prospered him in all he did and established him. The Bible says there was no king in Judah like Hezekiah, before or after him. That is how much he trusted and walked with God. The perfect picture of the believer, you would agree.
Suddenly,  after fourteen years of victorious leadership,  Senacherib, King of Assyria, struck.  Just like the enemy does. He came up against the all fortified cities of Judah and took them. Nothing had changed in terms of Hezekiah’s walk with God, yet the enemy attacked him. That again would be the you and I, the believer who wakes up one morning and discovers calamity has hit. A lump in the breast, a sudden heart attack, your loved ones perish in a plane crash, you house is completely burnt down, an economic policy completely ruins your fortunes,  your spouse serves you divorce papers, a call from school to say your child is ill or dead. The list goes on and on. He simply strikes.
Like most of us would, Hezekiah tries to make peace with the enemy.  He actually striped the gold from the doors of the temple and gave to Senacherib, just to get him off his back. Isn’t that just like us? When the enemy strikes, we run around, we panic, we give him more ground, we try to make peace with him, meet him half way and hope the problem goes away. As I write, I recall that this past week was a bit stormy for my husband and I. We were disagreeing about almost everything. I could see that the enemy was at work, but I kept attacking my husband, making the matter worse, giving more ground to the enemy.  Can you imagine a man described in the Bible as best the best thing that happened to Godly leadership, stripping the gold from the temple to settle the enemy?
Rather than appease Seanacherib, he now went for the jugular. He began to threaten and boast. He did not back off. He began to question why Hezekiah should expect to escape his wrath. He sent his henchmen to the wall to announce to everyone who would listen, his plan to take them all captive. Fear rose in the land. Again, it is the way he operates. He uses things we can feel, see, hear, taste, experience, so that he can instil fear. Once fear comes he has us in his grip and can do whatever he pleases. He wants to intimidate us into giving in. It is his most lethal tool. The sad thing is that it works. Many of us walk away from our possibilities simply because the signals are loud enough to make us afraid.
It was at this point, Hezekiah went quite. He also told his people to keep quiet. There are times when quietness becomes louder than noise. When we turn to God.  Hezekiah retraced  his steps and ran to Isaiah the prophet and cried out to God. He said, ‘This is the day of trouble and rebuke and blasphemy, for the children have come to birth, but there is no strength to bring them forth’.  Isn’t that what happens? We walk away from dreams, our businesses fail, our children die, our marriages collapse-we don’t have the strength to bring forth God’s plan in the day of trouble.
Hezekiah did not see the way out. It looked terrible. Senacherib had taken so many other nations captive, stronger nations than Judah. They did not seem to stand a chance. As he went to the Lord. There was so much uncertainty. He said, ‘It may be that the Lord your God will hear……..’ Does that sound like someone who has walked with God? It was such a weak plea. He referred to God as Isaiah’s God rather than his God. I remember once hearing Pastor Sam Adeyemi, Senior Pastor of Daystar Christian Centre, saying that most of our prayers amount to emotional ventilation of our desires. We pray wimpy prayers that cannot avail, rather than confident prayers to the God with whom we are in covenant. We must know the difference as we go before Him.
Thank God for who He is-faithful and merciful. Isaiah gave an answer of hope. He gave assurance of deliverance. He pronounced victory even when the situation looked hopeless.  ‘Do not be afraid of the words which you have heard……….’  Did I not say that fear is his strongest weapon? I have not counted but I have heard that the phrase ‘do not fear’ appears 365 times in the Bible. Some preachers say, it is one for everyday of the year. We deal with fear everyday. It’s the only thing that holds us back. But once the Word has gone forth, it will go where it has been sent and will not return until it has accomplished. It will wrestle with the circumstance until it comes up victorious. It can never fail.
If you’re reading this story for the first time, you will expect that a great battle would ensue and it would take another year to get Senacherib and his henchmen out. The climax of the story is at the point Isaiah spoke. God simply sent ONE angel to the Assyrian camp and one hundred and eighty five  thousand soldiers were dead. One angel. Does that amount to a battle? Everything that made  Senacherib look formidable disappeared in one swoop of one angel.  Then Senacherib got word that theres was trouble back home and had to head home. Then as he served his god, his sons killed him and it was all over. End of story. How boring. It was that simple for God. It was no big deal for God. One stroke from God and the entire machinery of the enemy was nowhere to be found.
The enemy and all his activity and shenanigans is a piece of cake for God.  I have never understood why God allows him to make so much noise when he can take him out in one breath. I guess that is what makes us grow in Christ, when we see him defeated again and again and grow in confidence towards our God.  I was listening to a Yoruba song in church that brought tears to my eyes. I hope I get my spellings right.
We re ni ishe oluwa
We re ni ishe oluwa,
Nkan ti won ni ko she she,
We re ni ishe oluwa.
It simply means that God does things swiftly, what seems impossible before men, He does simply. I looked at all the seemingly impossible knots in my life against the background of who God is and simply began to shed tears. My tears became my prayers and worship to the Lord, simply saying, ‘I trust You Lord’.
The devil is no match for our God. They are not equals on two sides of the divide, God being good and the Devil being bad. That is not how the equation works. God is almighty. God is all powerful. God is all knowing. God upholds creation in it’s entirety.  God brought creation into being by simply speaking it into place. How can the devil be spoken about in the same breath as God? It would be unfair to who our God is. The devil does not matter. He is simply a tool in God’s hand that pushes us closer to Him closer to our destinies.
We must recognise the devil’s antics as soon as he manifests around us. We must run to our Source as soon as he manifests. We must run to God as our first option, not our last after everything else has failed.  That is the way to beat the devil. That is the only way to tackle the terror he throws at us. That is the only way to dispel the fear that rises up. That is the only way.
We must have an understanding of how he operates. And respond the way God expects. Then we can enjoy the benefit that God has made abundantly available. I am excited because I have lived through these messages. As I wrote each of them, he was on the prowl, but as I conclude these series, I can confidently say, my Redeemer Lives. Can you? I sincerely hope so.  Ck