A real devil with a real plan

If the Bible was published in chronological order, it would start with the first 11 (or 22) chapters of Genesis and then straight into the book of Job. And in both Genesis and Job the devil pops up very quickly, first as a serpent and then as an angel called Satan. So right from the very beginning, the devil’s already striding into human history as a central figure to be reckoned with, and, what’s more, he soon makes it obvious what his plan is. And his plan never changes either, from the beginning of the Bible to the end of it.

He lives for one thing – to get God to curse us so we curse God in return. The devil’s very good at it, too. In the book of Revelation, for instance, God curses humanity horribly with “the seven bowls of his wrath,” Revelation 16:1. And the people’s reaction? They “cursed the name of God,” verses 911, and 22. It doesn’t cross their minds that they’d brought God’s curse on themselves; their focus is entirely on blaming God for cursing them.

But that was the devil’s plan with Job, too. In Job 1:11, the devil believes that if God hits Job with a few disasters, “he (Job) will surely curse you (God) to your face.” Get God to curse Job and Job will curse God back. It worked with Cain: When God cursed Cain for killing his brother, Cain’s reaction to God was, “My punishment is more than I can bear,” Genesis 4:13. Cain’s reaction to being cursed was to blame God for cursing him – the same reaction as the people in Revelation 16.

And the devil’s got us doing the same thing today. When we’re hit with a disaster we call it an ‘Act of God’, not an ‘Act of the devil’. We’d much rather curse God than the devil, which fits in perfectly with the devil’s plan yet again. And it never seems to enter people’s heads – Cain’s head included – that the devil is playing a clever game. He’s got us thinking it’s God’s fault when bad things happen, and instead of questioning our own behaviour, we question God’s behaviour.

But why would God LET the devil turn people against him? For the same reason God let the devil try to turn Job against him. It was to face Job (and all humanity) with a question: “Would you condemn me to justify yourself?” Job 40:8. Because isn’t that, in fact, the devil’s ultimate aim, to find reason for condemning God to vindicate and elevate himself? Is it any surprise, then, that we humans, under the devil’s influence, condemn God to justify ourselves too?

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