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Satan - The Adversary

The believers arch enemy is first known to us by the name of Lucifer (Isaiah 14:12). The next time we see him mentioned by name is 1 Chronicles. In chronological history the first time we see him addressed by the name of Satan is in the book of Job. The name the Lord chose to ascribe to Lucifer in his fallen state was Satan.

The name Satan means adversary. In the Old Testament his name means opponent, arch enemy. In the Old Testament, the noun Satan (the name ascribed to him by God) comes from the verb satan which means to attack, accuse and resist. So, the noun form of his name comes from the verb form of the word which means to attack. In the NT his name means accuser, adversary and devil.

This gives us the information we need to know about our enemy. We see him three times mentioned by name in the OT resisting, attacking and accusing the people of God. They are Job, King David and Joshua the high priest.

The three ways Satan opposes in the Old Testament

1 Job (Job 1-2) Satan’s opposition is seen by attacking the relationship God has with his children and our relationship with God.

2 David (2 Sam 24:1-10; 1 Chronicles 21:1-8) Satan opposed David by provoking David to pride.

3 Zechariah (Zechariah 3:1-7) Satan opposes Joshua by pointing out his sinfulness.

So we have these three individuals where Satan is mentioned and opposes. Let’s take a look at them. We can learn from these passages how Satan opposes us also

1 Job (Job 1:6-22)

Principle – Here Satan opposes God’s relationship with his children and our relationship with God

Satan must have considered Job but knew the Lord had put a hedge around him that Satan could only get through if God had permitted. When the Lord offered up Job, Satan said Job only fears you because you’ve been good to him. He opposed God’s character and Job’s faithfulness to God. The way he tested Job’s faithfulness to God was taking Job’s things, family and by inflicting physical pain on him.

Satan’s opposition was seen in opposing God’s relationship with his children and our relationship with God. He does this in several ways

  1. He says Job fears God only when God is good to Job.

  2. He says God is overprotective of Job.

  3. He impugns the character of God by saying God had overly blessed Job.

  4. He says If God stops blessing Job that Job will curse God.

  5. He inflicted suffering on Job.

Other example of this are Satan tempting Eve in the garden. He attacked the character of God and God’s word. Sennacherib king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh to attacked the character of God and tell Hezekiah not to trust God (2 Kings 18).

The way Job handled this opposition of suffering was to trust in God’s character. He didn’t charge the character of God foolishly (Job 1:22,23). What God was teaching Job was the God is in control, can do what he wants and could be trusted. We know that in Job 3 Job got discouraged. In the New Testament James tells us about Job in James 5:11. He describes Job as a patient man.

The way we handle this opposition? The same way Job did. Trusting that God is in control and can do what he wants and is still trustable. The enemy tells us God doesn’t care, isn’t interested, is far away but God is near and we can trust him. We believe our bible and don’t believe the lies the Father of lies tells us about God (John 8:44).

We don’t have to worry about God’s relationship toward us. He’s the same and never changes but we do change sometimes when Satan resists and attacks and when we suffer. When the attacks come stay true to the character of God and His word.

2 David (2 Sam 24:10; 1 Chronicles 21:1-8)

Principle - Satan opposes Israel and uses David to do it through pride

Satan’s opposition was seen in opposing Israel and he caused David to be the tool to do it through the sin of pride. David was provoked by Satan. The word provoked means to prick, stimulate, persuade, stir up, incite, and instigate. This inciting was to pride. David got proud in position and ability to order a census. David wanted to show his greatness as a king and show his military might. It seemed such a foolish thing that even foolish Joab thought it was a bad decision.

As Satan used David to resist Israel, so the devil will use people to resist me and provoke me to resist other people. The devil might get us caught up in pride to resist another person.

While 1 Chronicles 21 says Satan provoked David, 2 Sam 24:1 says the Lord moved David to number the people. How do we settle this discrepancy? I believe this is a situation as we see with Job. The Lord wanted David to be tested and Satan wanted to tempt David.

The way we handle this opposition? We fight the instinct to justify ourselves, promote ourselves and do our own thing to make ourselves look good. Humility is the answer. To humble ourselves when we’re tempted to jealousy, self-promotion and discontentment.

3 Joshua the high priest (Zechariah 3:1-7)

Principle - Satan opposes us by point out our sinfulness to God

Satan was standing to resist Joshua. He was there to accuse Joshua the high priest for having filthy garments. The devil baits us to sin and when we do accuses us of sin. Satan baits us by telling us it’s our right to do what we want and that it won’t hurt anything, then when we fail he accuses us.

The devil makes us insecure about our position in Christ. He would love to make us question what God says about us in His word. He wants us to question God’s love toward us. Satan wants us to be insecure Christians. He wants us to be insecure in our security in Christ. However, we are secure in our position in Christ.

Our security in Christ is based on the shed blood of Jesus on the cross. He offered himself once and once was enough (Hebrews 10:10-14). Because of our secure position in Christ when we confess our sins we are restored to fellowship with God.

So, the Lord reclothed and recommissioned Joshua but then told him to walk holy and keep God’s charge in verse 7. The Lord restores us but then charges us to walk holy (1 Peter 1:15,16). God forgives and cleanses but at same time commands us to live holy lives.

The way we handle this opposition? We rest secure in our position in Christ and walk holy so we aren’t in a position of needing restoration.


James said in James 4:6 to submit yourself to God, resist the devil and he will flee. We submit to God when Satan opposes us. Only after we have submitted to God can we resist the devil. Then he will flee.

1 When our relationship with God is attacked in suffering, we trust God when the suffering comes. We submit to God’s control.

2 When Satan instigates us to pride, we humble ourselves We submit to humility.

3 When the devil accuses us for our sin, we rest secure in our position in Christ and walk holy so we don’t need to be restored. We submit to what the bible says about us.

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