God can’t win. When Jesus drives out demons, his is accused of being empowered by Satan. In impossible circumstances when our faith is under attack, we blame Satan. Satan gets too much credit, while we ought to focus on God’s presence and power here with us…
14 Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed. 15 But some of them said, “By Beelzebul, the prince of demons, he is driving out demons.” 16 Others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven.
17 Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them: “Any kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and a house divided against itself will fall. 18 If Satan is divided against himself, how can his kingdom stand? I say this because you claim that I drive out demons by Beelzebul. 19 Now if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your followers drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. 20 But if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
It’s interesting that God can’t win. When Jesus drives out demons, people accuse him of being empowered by Satan. When we find ourselves in impossible circumstances in which our faith is under attack, we blame Satan (while God is master of our circumstances and may even have intentionally placed us there).
I am relearning the lesson that we focus too much on Satan and we invest too much time linking our circumstances to his activity. We can see that Jesus doesn’t take kindly to people linking his actions to Satan’s power.
Jesus points out how illogical their reasoning is, and at the same time reveals that the kingdom of God has come upon them in his works before their very eyes. The kingdom of God is now. The kingdom is here in Jesus’ healings. The kingdom is here in God’s positioning us in predicaments of impossibility.
There is no need to bring Satan up as anything more than the prowling lion he is – he wants to devour us. That’s true. Yet if we find ourselves in Babylon, we need not explore whether he put us there. When we do, we risk attributing God’s work to Satan’s hand or vice versa. That’s dangerous territory.
Better to respond in recognition of God’s control over all things. God put me here or he allowed me to be here. Full stop. Now that I am here, I am confronted, as I always am, with pressures from within and without to disobey and go astray. Satan is the tempter. He will devour if I give in. Yet Satan is not in control of me being here, no matter where here is.
So when a good thing happens, like a demon being removed from a person, we praise God. When we find ourselves in a safe place, we praise God. When we find ourselves in an impossible place, we praise God. Praise him for putting us here? No. Praise God for being here with us.
The lion will continue to prowl while we focus on, relate to, and trust our God. Satan’s devouring desires will matter less and less, though, as we focus more and more on God increasing in our lives.