A murderer and a liar! That ought to settle the much-debated question as to the personality of Satan. You could hardly call an influence, an idea, an imagination, a figure of speech, or a personification, a murderer and a liar. But that is what Jesus called Satan. He said he was "a murderer from the beginning," and that he was "a liar, and the father of it" (John 8:44). Either Christ himself was a great deceiver or Satan is a personal power in rebellion against God, although under the government of God, and the great and subtle tempter and adversary of men's souls.
The devil is often voted out of existence today; but someone certainly is doing his work, sowing tares where the wheat has been sown, mixing the fatal draught that palsies the heart and brain of man, dogging the steps of the toiling saints and digging pits for his feet, blighting the land with his fiery breath. A French priest was once addressed by a young man who said to him, "I suppose you no longer believe in a devil?"
"Yes," said the priest, "I do; for if I did not believe in the devil, I would have to believe that I was my own devil."
This fact, taught by Christ and the Bible, that man is the object of a hostile interest on the part of the prince of evil himself lets us know that man is assailed not only by evil motives and desires but by the great spirit of evil himself, who goes about seeking whom he may devour. In the literal translation the Lord's Prayer reads, not "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil" (Matt. 6:13), but "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one."
Peter McKenzie, the eloquent Wesleyan preacher, once said that, whenever he was going to preach on 'Satan', he invariably found some hindrance or other come in his way.
Satan is called—`the god of this world,' the prince of this world,' the prince of the power of the air' and 'Lucifer, son of the morning'. (Isa. 14. 12; John 12. 31; 14. 30; 16. 11)
Napoleon Bonaparte, with his staff officers around him, once spread a large map of the world on a table before him, put his finger on a kingdom coloured red, and said to them, 'Messieurs, if it were not for that red spot I could conquer the world.' That red spot was the British Isles.
In like manner Satan might place a huge map of the universe before his cohorts, put his finger on a place red with the blood of the Saviour, and say to them, 'If it were not for that red spot, I could conquer the universe.'
That red spot is the Cross on Golgotha's Hill where the Lord of glory died to save sinners from Satan's power.
(Col. 2. 15; Heb. 2. 14)
The devil may wall you round
But he cannot roof you in;
He may fetter your feet and tie your hands
And try to hamper your soul with bands
As his way has ever been.
But he cannot hide the face of God
And the Lord shall be your light,
And your eyes and your thoughts can rise to the sky
Where His clouds and winds and birds go by,
And His stars shine out at night.
The devil may wall you round;
He may rob you of all things dear,
He may bring his hardest and roughest stone,
And think to cage you and keep you alone,
But he may not press too near;
For the Lord has planted a hedge inside,
And has made it strong and tall,
A hedge of living and growing green;
And ever it mounts and keeps between
The trusting soul and the devil's wall.
The devil may wall you round,
But the Lord's hand covers you,
And His hedge is a thick and thorny hedge,
And the devil can find no entering wedge
Nor get his finger through.
He may circle about you all day long;
But he cannot work as he would,
For the will of the Lord restrains his hand,
And he cannot pass the Lord's command
And his evil turns to good.
The devil may wall you round,
With his grey stones, row on row,
But the green of the hedge is fresh and fair,
And within its circle is space to spare,
And room for your soul to grow;
The wall that shuts you in
May be hard and high and stout,
But the Lord is sun and the Lord is dew,
And His hedge is coolness and shade for you,
And no wall can shut Him out.—Annie Johnson Flint
(Job. 1. 6-12; Ps. 104. 9)
Albert Durer's pictures representing Satan as a monster with horns and a tail are not true to the Scriptural representations of the Adversary. Satan is portrayed as 'a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour' but is often 'transformed as an angel of light'.
A Scotsman, seeing Schaefer's painting of the 'Temptation of the Lord', said, pointing to Satan, 'If that chiel cam' tae me in such an ugly shape, I think he'd hae a teugh job wi' me too.
(Matt. 4. 1-11 2 Cor. 11. 14)
There is a large black bird which feeds on shellfish. Being unable to break the shell it picks it up, flies above some rocks, and drops it, breaking the shell. So the devil takes up the saint or sinner and drops him down to his undoing.—Selected