Ray of Hope Shining on the Face of a Child

A daily devotion for March 9th

Satan Blocked Our Way

But, brothers and sisters, when we were orphaned by being separated from you for a short time (in person, not in thought), out of our intense longing we made every effort to see you. For we wanted to come to you — certainly I, Paul, did, again and again — but Satan blocked our way.

1 Thessalonians 2:17-18

I wonder where the idea ever arose that Paul was stern and cold? You cannot read this letter without sensing the warmth of his heart and the depth of his love. At the time he wrote this letter, he was ministering alone in Corinth. He was feeling lonely. Being far away from loved ones is a very unpleasant experience. Forgetting the danger that had driven him from Thessalonica and the cruelty he had experienced there, he longed to be with them again. He even tried to go to see them again but was prevented by Satanic interference.

In this chapter Paul mentions three sources of opposition: opposition from the state; opposition from society; and here, opposition from Satan. While this might look like three enemies, it is really only one. Other Scriptures indicate that the state and society are often the channels of the devil's attempts to hinder the spread of the Word of God. This is what Paul was encountering here.

Have you ever experienced a frustrating time in your own life when again and again you tried to do something you knew was right and found it hard going? You met opposition and hindrance, perhaps even from your own family. That is Satanic hindrance, the psychological manipulation of minds to arouse opposition and plant obstacles in your path.

During a trip to Northern Ireland, we spent some time in a wonderful church. The young pastor and his wife were beginning to teach Body Life and Spiritual Warfare. Where once it had been a lifeless church, now it was alive and growing, filled with young people and young couples. But while we were there, we learned that the best friend of the pastor and his wife had suddenly turned against them. He began to spread lies and slanders about them, upsetting the whole church. It was a terrible time of pain and suffering. We have learned since that God has cleared it all up. The pastor has been vindicated and this whole thing has been exposed. But what caused it? It was Satanic opposition, the devil with his clever ability to work through people to stir things up.

The Bible is the only book that explains the persistence and malevolence of evil. Why do we struggle so in this life? What are we up against? Jesus told us that it is the devil. He is a liar and a murderer (John 8:44). He deceives and he kills. The Satanic mind is responsible for the murderous violence, widespread deceit and false philosophies that we are confronted with today. Paul himself tells us, We do not wrestle with flesh and blood but with principalities and powers, the world rulers of this present darkness (Ephesians 6:12). No other book tells you that it is not people who are your problem, but rather the spiritual forces of evil that prevail in the world.

Father, let me not be ignorant of the enemy's schemes, and help me to stand firm against him in the strength of your might.

Life Application

What is your specific strategy to deal with the opposition Satan presents as you seek to serve God and do his will?

This Daily Devotion was Inspired by one of Ray's Messages

A Father's Joy

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