Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Mouse That Roared

"The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet"  —Romans 16:20

A number of years ago our boys and I spent a week driving across the Magruder Corridor, a hundred-mile long jeep track through the Selway–Bitterroot Wilderness in Northern Idaho, one of the least populated areas in the lower forty-eight.

It's grizzly bear country so we took precautions, but anticipated no major difficulties. 

One evening, in the middle of the night, Randy give a blood-curdling yell and scrambled to his feet while still in his sleeping bag. I frantically felt around in the darkness, located my flashlight and aimed it into the woods, expecting to see an outraged bear. 

There, sitting upright on its haunches and waving its paws in the air…

…was a field mouse about 4” tall with Randy’s watch-cap clenched in its teeth. The little creature had pulled the cap from his head. Randy yelled at the mouse; it dropped the cap and scampered away. 

But my heart kept pounding.

Everyone else went back to sleep, but I couldn’t. I was so adrenalized I lay awake for several hours. With nothing else to do I began to consider another predator: the devil.

We do well to be aware of the devil. Jesus said he is “a liar and a murderer. His goal is to destroy the human race and his strategy is deceit. He is not to be taken lightly.

We Christians are not dualists, however, believing in two equal and opposite spiritual powers. The devil is a mere created being. His only power is the power that fear gives him. Indeed, as Luther said, "one little word shall fell him."

Consider the temptations of Jesus (Matthew 4). On each occasion, Jesus' countered Satan's enticement with a word. Here is the third temptation:

The devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve'” (Matthew 4:8-10).

It's important to understand what's going on here. Jesus is not quoting scripture to Satan. (That brings to mind an old Sunday school song about the “gospel gun”: “Shoot it at the devil if you want to make him run.”) 

No, Jesus is quoting scripture to himself! Satan offered Jesus the whole world if he would serve him. Jesus, quoting from the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 6:13), reminded himself what God has said and asserted that he would not act contrary to it. It was Jesus' utter submission to God's word that caused Satan to flee (4:11).

That's why it's so important to know God's word and store it in our minds: "Your word (Oh, God), have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you,” the psalmist wrote (Psalm 119:11).

And though this world, with devils filled,
should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed 
His truth to triumph through us
The Prince of Darkness grim, 
we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, 
for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him—Martin Luther

David Roper


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