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  • Writer's picturePastor Hans Fiene

Matins Devotion: May 20, 2024

Martin Luther once said, “even the devil is God’s devil.” That is to say, while the devil wars against God, God always keeps him on a leash. Satan can’t destroy any more than what God allows him, can’t devour beyond what God permits. Satan can destroy Job’s wealth and family because God permits it, but He can’t destroy the resurrection promise God has given Job. Satan can enter the heart of Judas because God has ordained this to be a part of the plan of salvation, but Satan can’t enter the heart of Jesus and destroy the plan of salvation.

This is something that we see, and something that Balaam sees, in our reading from Number 22 today. Balaam is basically a spiritually mercenary, a spiritual gun for hire that the Moabides contract to conjure up some sort of curse against the Israelites. But Balaam, who flirts with the various demons posing as gods, gets a clear word from the true God, and responds accordingly, telling the princes of Moab he will not go with them, essentially saying, “this isn’t going to work. You’re not dealing with the weak gods of snake charmers and court magicians. You’re dealing with the real thing here, the God who has marked His people with His blessing.”

So the devil can afflict you and harass you. He can snarl in your direction. But his jaws cannot pierce the righteousness of Jesus Christ that you received in the waters of your baptism. And anyone who would try to conjure up demons to bring you to spiritual ruin will always crash headfirst into the impenetrable wall of Christ’s protection. 

So don’t leap into the jaws of the one who can’t otherwise devour you. Flee from temptation, from unbelief. Keep your distance from the beast on the leash. But don’t fear him. The devil’s is God’s devil. And you are something far greater. You are God’s beloved child.

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