No Rest in Satan
I got called Satan this past week. It had nothing to do with behavior. It happened because I, along with several brothers and sisters in Christ was disagreeing with some wild doctrine being put forward by a man on social media. I’m not talking about anything to do with tribulation, rapture, Calvinism, etc. This was something way, WAY out there. It was something I’d never heard previously and something I am surprised anyone would even believe, let alone teach.
It was pretty offensive to be called Satan, and it earned the guy a mute; not a block, but a mute. And it did serve to get me thinking a bit about Satan this week. So, God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love him and who are called according to his purposes, right?1
The LORD said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.”
– Job 1:7, ESV
The context of this brief exchange between God and Satan gives us a picture of something entirely other than an innocent stroll by Satan as he was enjoying the afternoon. Satan was busy. He was working. He was searching for something, for someone.
This was not a one-time event for Satan. This is his pattern. This is his MO. As Satan is unable to be in more than one place at one time, he moves. He searches. He prowls.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
– 1 Peter 5:8, ESV
Sometimes Satan messes with his target and then leaves them alone. We see that in the way that we are taught to resist him, standing firm, and he will flee from us.2 We saw that same truth in the way Satan tempted Jesus and then left him for a time.
And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from [Jesus] until an opportune time.
– Luke 4:13, ESV
Satan stands in opposition to God, to his salvation, to his reign as Lord and King. And as a finite, created being, Satan never rests in this opposition, moving rather from one place to the next, working one deception after the next. And never lose sight of the reality that Satan is very good at what he does. He won the first battle with humanity he ever fought.
One of the great deceptions perpetrated on us is the idea that Satan and demons are grotesque and ugly, when the Bible is upfront in indicating that Satan is beautiful. The very fact that Satan would appear in ways we do not expect underlies the repeated calls for us to “be not deceived,” because we are deceived so easily. Michael Omartian performed the lyric, singing as Satan, “…and if you want to think I wear a red suit, that’s fine, but the truth is I wear whatever suits me at the time.”3
Yes, he is a master of disguise.
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
– 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, ESV
And Satan is not alone in his nefarious designs. He has legions of minions to do his bidding. Jesus spoke of them and their restlessness until such time as they are able to take possession of a person’s mind and body, controlling that person’s behavior.
When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, “I will return to my house from which I came.” And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.
– Matthew 12:43-44, ESV
The restlessness portrayed in the unclean spirit above is the same restlessness I see in one not submitted to the Lord Jesus as King. They wander aimlessly, never finding what their soul longs after. What is even more horrific is the final state of those who never bow the knee to Jesus in this life.
And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.
– Revelation 14:11, ESV
King Jesus is our sabbath rest.4 In him and him alone do we find rest for our souls. Jesus called all who are weary and laden to find rest for their souls in him.5
1. Romans 8:28
2. 1 Peter 5:9, James 4:7
3. Omartian, M. (1976). Alive and Well [Recorded by M. Omartian]. On Adam Again [Vinyl]. Myrrh Records.
4. Hebrews 4:1-13
5. Matthew 11:28-29