And the Lord raised up an adversary to Solomon 1 Kings 11:14 NASB
Adversary – You may find this word surprising. It is the Hebrew word satan. That’s right. Our word Satan in English is really a transliterated Hebrew word that means “adversary.” The reason we connect it to the person we call Satan is that when the Hebrew Old Testament was translated into Greek, this word was translated with the Greek word diabolos – the word we translate as “devil.” But the Hebrew word is not just a personal name. The word has all of the following meanings: divide, set at odds with, accuse, slander, reject, deceive.
Yeshua is very much aware that His mission is a direct assault on the forces of evil in this world. Those evil forces have purposes that are expressed in the full meaning of this word. The intention of these evil forces is to bring separation, blame, lies, rejection and defamation against us. Every time we participate in any form of these actions, we add support to the empire of evil. No wonder Yeshua exhorts us to seek unity, truth, acceptance and kindness.
The Hebrew word satan exposes the principal strategy of evil – opposition. God triumphs through submission. His power is the power of weakness. Evil attempts to control through opposition. First, it attempts to usurp God’s graciousness by enticing us to oppose God’s claim over us. It suggests that God really does not have our best interests in mind – that we need to stand up for ourselves. At an individual level, this means confrontation with anyone who also believes he has a right to his own way. At a social or national level, it means ethnic hatred, social distrust, power struggles; force and lies rule our behavior. Where there is opposition to God’s purposes, there is always satan.
How many times in my life have I unwittingly been seduced into acting as though I had to exercise my rights? How many times did I create opposition by claiming that my way was the right way? Conflict is part of the human condition, but it always represents a choice. Will I be sensitive to God’s whispers for reconciliation and unity, or will I shout my claims for personal justice – and push opposition one step further? If I truly believe that God is the Lord of all creation, why am I so inclined to wrest control of my life from His hands?
God encourages unity, submission and serving. Ha-satan (as a force and a person) endorses disunity, opposition and entitlement. It’s pretty easy to check yourself on this scorecard. How are you doing?
Topical Index: satan, adversary, opposition, 1 Kings 11:14, Satan
NOTICE: On July 16 there was no Today’s Word sent out. I didn’t realize it was missing until I got home from El Salvador about 1:30 in the morning and by then it was too late. So, for those who wanted to read about Ruth, here it is. Sorry for the mistake.