Satan – the Designated Loser
by Bob Burridge ©2018
As each of Satan’s attacks took place throughout history, and as it became clear how they fit into God’s plan, this evil creature must have been very disappointed. No creature or anything in all of creation can derail what God had planned.
In Eden, Satan planned to turn humanity against it’s Creator, and to destroy the glory of God displayed in the human race. But it didn’t turn out the way he imagined. God used the fall of Adam to reveal the promise of the Redeemer. Satan had unwittingly set the stage. By redeeming lost humans from their fall into sin, God would dramatically display his mercy, power, love, and grace. Satan thought he won a great victory when Adam ate that forbidden fruit. But he didn’t win. He was the loser. The perfect universe isn’t one where there was never any sin. It’s one where the Creator redeems his people from sin’s grip to reveal his amazing power, justice, and grace.
Jacob’s son Joseph suffered in an Egyptian prison after his brothers sold him into slavery. He wondered why he was put in a dungeon there for a crime he never committed. He could not yet see how God was setting the stage for great blessings through him. Joseph was placed there to save God’s people by opening the door for them to come to Egypt to escape a famine. When he was very old Joseph was able to see some of the reasons for his suffering. He said to his brothers in Genesis 50:20, “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”
While they were there in Egypt the people of Israel (the descendants of Jacob) became captives to the Pharaoh. Satan hoped to enslave God’s chosen nation in the chains of that pagan country. It looked like there was no hope for them. But again things didn’t turn out the way that Devil imagined. Their captivity became the background for a most amazing delivery by God’s hand. The miracle of the Passover and the great Exodus from Egypt led to the revealing of God’s Law at Sinai, and a greater understanding of God’s redemptive promises through Moses. A greater nation was born than was taken captive. Again, Satan was used to set the stage in Egypt for a miraculous deliverance and advancement of the people of God’s promise. He was the loser, not the victor he had imagined himself to be.
We can imagine the cheers in the den of Satan when God’s Prophet Daniel was thrown into the den of lions. Things didn’t go the way Satan would have hoped. Instead of silencing this messenger of the True God, the lions didn’t eat him. Daniel was delivered from the plan of the Evil One. The jaws of the lion were held shut. God’s power and sovereign control of all things was again displayed for all to see, even to the eyes of the pagan king.
Then there was the climax of Satan’s attack when Jesus was put to death on the Cross. The Promised Messiah and his message were thought to be silenced and put to shame. But three days later God’s purpose in it all shook the gates of hell. It was by that crucifixion that the climactic act in the plan of redemption took place. Instead of silencing the Redeemer, God’s great redemptive work was accomplished. By the hands of lawless men the plan of God was brought to a dramatic victory. In Acts 2:23 the Apostle Peter explained, “this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.”
There are many other instances in the record of Scripture that show how the plans of evil became the darkness in which the light of God’s glory would shine brightly. Even in the yet to come last days when Satan’s followers will gather to defeat what remains of God’s people, the battle plan of evil will fail. Instead of a great battle, God’s judgment will fall destroying the hope of the enemies of Christ. Revelation 20:9-10, “And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”
The Word of God preserved for us in the Bible is filled with the history of such failed attacks. In each case Satan intended to win a great victory, but it turned out that it was a stage set in God’s plan upon which more of God’s amazing attributes and power would be dramatically displayed. In each case I can imagine Satan with a shocked look on his face saying, “Nooooo! It wasn’t supposed to turn out this way!”
God created Satan knowing full well how this creature would rebel, becoming the one who would be used to display God’s wrath and justice, things which would not have been revealed in God’s Creation without victory over evil and its prime instigator, Satan. In each case we see not only justice vindicated, but also a clear revealing of more of God’s power, mercy, love, and grace.
Satan was from the beginning God’s “Designated Loser“. He is an unwitting tool in the hand of an infinitely powerful and all-knowing Creator for the display of wonders we still don’t yet have the capacity to fully appreciate.
The Devil might tempt us, and hope to lead us into sin. When we are tempted to do what is morally wrong, or to neglect what God calls us to do and to be, we have power from the Risen Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, to resist him and to come to our Lord repentantly, resting in our Good Shepherd’s unfailing care. The tempter has no power over us. Each time we reject those temptations and come to God for strength to over come such things through Christ, and each time we come repentantly when we give in to sin, God is glorified and honored. Satan loses again!
[Bible quotations are from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.]