“Then there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels. And the dragon lost the battle, and he and his angels were forced out of heaven. This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world—was thrown down to the earth with all his angels.” 12:7-9
What great chapters to read as we head into Easter weekend. Today is Good Friday, when we reflect and acknowledge the slain lamb that we have been reading so much about the past couple days. This verse especially caught my attention:
“For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth—the one who accuses them before our God day and night. And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony. And they did not love their lives so much
that they were afraid to die.” 12:11
We have no reason to be afraid of death, because Jesus has conquered it already!
“But terror will come on the earth and the sea, for the devil has come down to you in great anger, knowing that he has little time.” 12:12b
This verse got to me too. It reminded me to be mindful of Satan and his evil tendencies. Sometimes this can overwhelm me, and I become fearful and begin over-spiritualizing things. Did Satan stack up traffic on your way to church? Did Satan attack the marriage and well-being of your pastor? Maybe. There’s a balance here. There’s a time and a place to take ownership of our own sin; we can create plenty of chaos and mess on our own without him. But it’s also crucial to be on guard.
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
Whew, that visual! Lion’s are powerful, fierce and strong. Yet they make themselves terribly small, quiet and discreet as they creep towards their prey. Almost unnoticeable. Oblivious prey gets clobbered and torn apart by their sharp claws and teeth. Animals that stay aware are able to run off before the lion can pounce on them.
Satan is not inactive. Although it is temporary, he has been given power over the earth. Don’t misread this: God has full authority over him (read the first few verses in Job) and will ultimately defeat him completely (Romans 16:20). And Satan knows this! Which is why he works quickly and ruthlessly.
If you’re like me, this is unsettling and possible scary. I find great power and bravery in this verse:
“Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
You read the above verse: he is working quickly, trying to take down as many souls as he can before Jesus comes tearing in with a sword coming out of his mouth. If you don’t budge, he will move on. He will flee from you.
Draw near to the Lord, through prayer and studying his Word. Let people into your life who will call you out on your sin and stick by you, bearing that burden with you.
Mediate on the crucification of Jesus. An innocent man, facing mankind’s greatest fear of death and providing atonement for our sins. Praise God, the dragon loses the ultimate battle.