Everything I Know About Satan

….well, a lot of it might come from Milton, Origen, and ambiguous “tradition” started by a handful of vague prophetic Bible verses.

A lot of it might not be in the Bible at all, actually.

Isn’t it funny how freely we talk about things just because we hear other people talking about them?

Do you know where your assumptions come from?

An Overview: Satan

An Overview: “Fallen Angel”

An Overview: Lucifer

Luke 10: How do we know Jesus was talking about a prehistorical battle between the Devil and God over a pride issue?

 

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Remembering Deborah / Being the Baby

I.

This is Deborah:

Deborah

In a time when the children of Israel did was what right in their own eyes, Deborah stood as a prophetess of Yahweh and a civil judge. As a judge, she oversaw matters of administration, the settlement of disputes, and military leadership. Deborah went with Barak, a trusted military commander who was under her authority, into battle against the forces of Jabin and Sisera.

On that day Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang this song:

When the princes in Israel take the lead, when the people willingly offer themselves– praise the LORD!

Hear this, you kings! Listen, you rulers! I will sing to the LORD, I will sing; I will make music to the LORD, the God of Israel.

O LORD, when you went out from Seir, when you marched from the land of Edom, the earth shook, the heavens poured, the clouds poured down water. The mountains quaked before the LORD, the One of Sinai, before the LORD, the God of Israel.

In the days of Shamgar son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the roads were abandoned; travelers took to winding paths. Village life in Israel ceased, ceased until I, Deborah, arose, arose a mother in Israel.

When they chose new gods, war came to the city gates, and not a shield or spear was seen among forty thousand in Israel. My heart is with Israel’s princes, with the willing volunteers among the people. Praise the LORD!

You who ride on white donkeys, sitting on your saddle blankets, and you who walk along the road, consider the voice of the singers at the watering places. They recite the righteous acts of the LORD, the righteous acts of his warriors in Israel.

Then the people of the LORD went down to the city gates.

‘Wake up, wake up, Deborah! Wake up, wake up, break out in song! Arise, O Barak! Take captive your captives, O son of Abinoam.’

Christ followers and Bible-believers have struggled for centuries with where to put women.

We have struggled with how to reconcile women like Deborah with other biblical language about “submitting,” “being busy at home,” and Paul “not permitting women to speak in church” meetings. It’s a valid struggle. I don’t think it’s a struggle we will fully figure out without God’s direct intervention. Until then, every day we must face the imperfect efforts of women trying to follow God, men trying to follow God, and a world trying to put men and women in their Right Places.

But no matter how we interpret troublesome or difficult passages, Deborah existed. Deborah is a celebrated figure in the Hebrew Scriptures. Deborah gives me something important to hold on to. Because of Deborah, if God has given me something to say, I will not be afraid of saying it. While I respect and submit to my father and husband out of love, family, and in following the example of Christ, I will not be afraid to call them out for sin or foolishness. I do not have to second-guess myself simply because I am a woman. If I am in a God-honoring position of power, I don’t have to let anyone tell me that I’m only there because “God couldn’t find a man.”

Because that’s what I see in Deborah.

II.

My husband and I both have full-time jobs. He is also a full-time student, and I’m on the leadership board of a nonprofit theatre group. On occasion, we deal with stress and drama from both sides of the family. And sometimes we’re just in bad moods. Sometimes one of us is needy, upset, or frustrated.

Sometimes….well, we need to be the baby.

“…Are you the baby today?”

“I’m the baby.”

These are not at all uncommon phrases to be uttered in our living room. Because, you know, life can be draining. Family members feud and friends abandon you and work is really demanding sometimes. Sometimes you just need someone to cradle you on the couch.

This is one of my favourite aspects of our marriage. My marriage isn’t defined by unflinching roles of Leader/Follower, Stronger/Weaker, Aggressor/Peacemaker, Breadwinner/Homemaker or anything else. In our marriage, we can be weak when we need to be weak. We can be strong for each other when weakness does come. Life is hard, and we all relate to it differently. Some days will not be hard for me, but they will be hard for him. And it’s a source of the greatest, wordless reassurance when my husband becomes my shoulder to cry on when it’s a hard day for me.

That’s taking care. That’s {submitting}. That’s {loving as Christ loved} – which is characterized by not insisting on one’s own way (1 Cor. 13:4-5). And, oddly (or not so oddly…) those two things look so similar…don’t they?

Because it’s just two different phrases for selflessness. It’s two different terms for dying to myself and lifting the needs of the other person above me. It’s different phrasing for the core issue of “you are my priority, and I will help, support, and care for you in any way that I possibly can.”

We’re talking about the same thing. Mutual submission. Mutual love.

And boy, am I glad that we can each be the baby sometimes. We need each other.

“Woe to the Shepherds of Israel”

The word of the LORD came to me:

Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: This is what the Sovereign LORD says:

Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock.

You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured.

You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost.

You have ruled them harshly and brutally. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals. My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them.

Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:

As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock, therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:

This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them.

For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them.

As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel.

I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign LORD.

I will search for the lost and bring back the strays.

I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy.

I will shepherd the flock with justice.

As for you, my flock, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will judge between one sheep and another, and between rams and goats. Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet? Must my flock feed on what you have trampled and drink what you have muddied with your feet?

Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says to them: See, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. Because you shove with flank and shoulder, butting all the weak sheep with your horns until you have driven them away, I will save my flock, and they will no longer be plundered. I will judge between one sheep and another.

I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd.

I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them.

I the LORD have spoken.

I will make a covenant of peace with them and rid the land of wild beasts so that they may live in the desert and sleep in the forests in safety. I will bless them and the places surrounding my hill. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing. The trees of the field will yield their fruit and the ground will yield its crops; the people will be secure in their land.

They will know that I am the LORD, when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from the hands of those who enslaved them.

They will no longer be plundered by the nations, nor will wild animals devour them.

They will live in safety, and no one will make them afraid.

I will provide for them a land renowned for its crops, and they will no longer be victims of famine in the land or bear the scorn of the nations. Then they will know that I, the LORD their God, am with them and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, declares the Sovereign LORD.

You my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are people, and I am your God,

declares the Sovereign LORD.