Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Attack and Counter-Attack

Leslie Basham: Here’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss giving us perspective on the evil we see carried out by men and women.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Remember who’s behind it. They are just pawns in the hand of Satan who is using them to play his game, to attack against God. He is the power behind all those who oppose God. When you and I oppose God, we are putting ourselves as pawns in his hand.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, December 28th.

In the game of chess, each player tries to trap his opponent’s king. When he succeeds he says, “Checkmate,” and the game is over. Today we’ll hear how Satan has tried repeatedly to get God into checkmate.

The audio sounds a little different because Nancy delivered it at a women’s conference. It’s part of a message called The King Still Has One More Move.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: After Satan’s fall from heaven down to the earth, he determined to do everything that he could to get back at God. Satan is angry at God. Satan remains to this day and for all of eternity an avowed rebel against God. He is God’s enemy. He hates God.

Lest we pride ourselves in thinking that Satan is after us, don’t kid yourself. Satan is after God. Don’t think so highly of yourself. What would Satan want with us? He’s after God, but he knows that the way to get at God is to attack God’s cherished creatures.

So when he goes after us, it’s not really us that he’s after. He’s wanting to dethrone God, for he knows that when he gets us into his court, into his kingdom, to surrender to him, to worship him, that he gets God. Satan has forever been attempting to break fellowship between God and His creatures.

When he came to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, his goal was not to disprove God’s existence. There’s no effort made in that instance to make Adam and Eve into atheists. He didn’t need to make them into atheists.

He doesn’t need to make us into atheists in order to win a round. All he needed to do was to persuade them to obey him in a point of contest where God had already given a direction. That’s all he had to do, to get them in effect to worship him by obeying him, by bowing down before him.

And so he lied to Eve. He deceived her. He caused her to doubt the goodness of God. In heeding his words, as Eve took the first bite of that forbidden fruit, having made her choice against God and in favor of Satan, I can just picture Satan looking up and saying, “Checkmate. I’ve got you.” But I can also hear the voice from heaven saying, “Not so fast. The game is not over Satan. The King still has one more move.”

For you see, the fall in the Garden of Eden did not catch God off-guard. God didn’t sit up in heaven and call some emergency council meeting. The strategy was already in place from before the foundation of the earth.

In fact, in Genesis 3:15 we have the first telling of the gospel. Satan had said, “I will,” [Isaiah 14:12–14] and now God says, “I will.” God said to the serpent, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

In this telling of the gospel there was promise of war, of a long-term war, of a deep-seated enmity between Satan and the woman, between his seed and her seed. Yet though there is war promised, there is also in this verse the promise of ultimate victory for God and His side. For the woman’s seed—someone born of the woman—was to crush and to destroy the serpent.

You see, God was saying that the fall of man, which Satan thought was his victory, would ultimately result in greater glory and worship for God. The grace and the justice of God would be put on display through God’s salvation. Satan was just an instrument that God was going to use to get greater glory to Himself.

Now Satan heard the gospel. He heard God’s promise that he would ultimately be crushed and defeated, but he refused to concede defeat. God had said that Satan would be crushed by the seed of the woman, someone born through the birth process. And so Satan set out to destroy the promised seed. His highest goal, his highest priority, was to destroy God to get worship for himself.

He’s jealous. He’s insanely jealous. The worship that goes to God he wants for himself. It is a war for worship.

Now let me just keep reminding you that the victory is already assured. The outcome has already been determined. Every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (see Philippians 2:10-11). But in the meantime God lets Satan win some battles.

Now Satan cannot win one battle that God doesn’t let him win. So he’s really a loser all around. God lets Satan win some battles, but ultimately God knows that this will be the means of God getting even greater glory. Satan cannot thwart God’s plan. For every time Satan strikes, God strikes back.

Now one of Satan’s means of attacking God and His creatures and seeking to destroy the promised seed has always been to get behind people. Satan is the power, the force, the one who inspires and motivates and compels men and uses them on this earth to achieve his purposes.

When you see wicked men on this earth doing wicked things (by men I mean men or women, of course), remember who’s behind it. They are just pawns in the hand of Satan who is using them to play his game, to attack God. He is the power behind all those who oppose God. When you and I oppose God, we are putting ourselves as pawns in his hand. We’re giving him ammunition against God.

Adam and Eve first wrote their declaration of independence and said, “We’ll be willing to be your instruments.” But God had mercy on them; He had grace on them. And He gave to them a seed. Satan set out to destroy anyone that he thought might look like the promised Redeemer.

So when Adam and Eve had children, Satan thought that perhaps Abel was the promised seed of the woman. Satan got into Cain’s thinking and into his mind and impelled him to kill his brother Abel. How do I know Satan was behind this? Because the Scripture tells us in 1 John chapter 3 that Cain belonged to the evil one (1 John 3:12). And Cain rose up and killed his brother.

I imagine at that point Satan looked up to heaven and said, “Checkmate. I got the seed of the woman.” But I can also hear God saying from heaven, “Not so fast there. The game is not over. The King still has one more move.”

God gave to Adam and Eve, out of His mercy and grace, another son whose name was Seth, which means “substitute.” It was through Seth that God had intended all along that this godly seed of the woman leading to the Redeemer, the Messiah, the Savior should be born—not through the line of Abel. Satan was off in his calculations, as he always is. It was through the line of Seth that the godly seed would come.

Then we move to the days of Noah. We see that Satan, having failed in his attempt to destroy the godly seed, decided to see what he could do to corrupt the godly seed. "So the sons of God intermarried with the daughters of men" (Genesis 6:2, paraphrased). Now theologians will argue until Jesus comes back what that means, and I’m not going to solve it this morning. But what we know is that there was a corruption of the godly seed of God.

We read in the book of Genesis in chapter 6, verse 5: “The Lord saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.” When you think that things are as bad as they’ve ever been, remember this.

“The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain. So the Lord said, ‘I will wipe mankind, whom I have created, from the face of the earth—men and animals, and creatures that move along the ground, and birds of the air—for I am grieved that I have made them’ ” (Genesis 6:6–7).

Don’t you think at that moment that Satan listening in on God’s conversation may have just said, “Checkmate.” But God said, “Not so fast there. The game is not over yet, Satan. The King still has one more move.”

For what does the very next verse say? “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” (Genesis 6:8 KJV). You see, God did send that flood to destroy in great judgment all the earth, but God saved out a remnant. For where there is judgment, there is always salvation. God always saves out a remnant—not because of anything good that we have done, but by His grace and to fulfill His eternal glorious purposes, to get worship for Himself. That’s what it’s all about.

We move to the book of Exodus, and we find Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, issuing an edict that all the baby boys born to Jewish families should be killed—a great slaughter of children. As Satan thought about the seed of the woman, don’t you imagine he looked up into the throne of God and said, “Checkmate. I’ve got you this time”? Who was behind Pharaoh? Who was behind this edict? It’s Satan himself.

And yet I can just hear God saying, “Oh, not so fast. The game isn’t over, Satan. The King still has one more move.” God moved a little mother, Jochebed, to save alive her baby boy Moses—saved out of the bulrushes (see Exodus 2:1-10). And through Moses God brought deliverance to the nation of Israel, saved alive the nation so that ultimately the Redeemer, the Savior, the Messiah, could come through that line. The King still had one more move.

Now we move into the days of kings in the Old Testament. That’s a fascinating history. We come to one of the really bad girls of the Bible, Athaliah. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Athaliah. She had quite a family record. She was the daughter of wicked King Ahab and his wicked wife, Jezebel. She was the wife of wicked King Jehoram, and she was the mother of wicked King Ahaziah.

She had wicked men all around her, and none was any more wicked than she herself. Hers was the line through which the Messiah was to be born. And Satan saw an opportunity here, and he got into the heart and the mind of this woman Athaliah.

When her son, wicked King Ahaziah, was killed by the Philistines, she saw an opportunity to seize the throne for herself. How like Satan. She proceeded to have all her grandsons killed. She was going to destroy or exterminate the royal seed.

And don’t you imagine Satan looked up into heaven and said, “Got you now. Checkmate”? But God said, “The game’s not over, Satan. The King still has one more move.”

For you see, there was a godly woman, one of the relatives (that gets real complicated there) who saved alive one of those grandsons. His name was Joash. She hid him in the temple for seven years. You see God always has a remnant. God always has a plan. And Joash, at the age of seven, was made king by the priest and the people of Judah. The evil grandmother was killed, and the godly seed was preserved (see 2 Chronicles 22).

Now we come later in the Old Testament to the period of time when the Jewish nation was sent into exile into Assyria and Babylon. And while we find the Jews in Babylon, we find that there came up a wicked man named Haman. He was inspired by Satan to attack God and His chosen seed.

We see the warfare in the book of Esther. For there was a Jewish man who feared God. His name was Mordecai. Mordecai realized that this battle is a battle for worship. Haman was a proud, arrogant man. And as Haman, who was high up in the king’s line of command, would walk through the town, he decreed that everyone must bow down and worship him.

Mordecai, who feared and worshiped God, said, “I will not worship another man.” So we see here the tension, the warfare. Do you ever find that in your workplace, you’re asked in different ways to bow down to this world’s system? Do you have the courage and the faith to realize that it’s Satan who’s asking for allegiance and to say, “I will not bow; I will worship God and God alone”?

Satan wants worship for himself. He inspired Haman to set out to destroy all the Jews. With the stamp of authority of wicked King Ahaseurus, the edict was sent out that all the Jews should be exterminated on a certain day eleven months away.

And don’t you imagine Satan looked up into heaven and said, “I’ve got you now; checkmate”? And I can just hear God say, “Satan, the game is not over. The King still has one more move.” For you see, God raised up a woman for such a time as this to the position of queen, God’s instrument of counter-attack.

And how I’m believing God in our day for such a time as this to raise up some Esthers, some women of faith and prayer and courage, who are willing to say, “If I perish, I perish. It’s not about me. It’s all about Him and His plan.”

Again, we come to the time when wicked King Nebuchadnezzar built a huge image in his own likeness and then decreed that everyone should bow down and worship. Do you see that it’s a battle for worship?

But there were three Hebrew young men who weren’t willing to be a part of this game plan, not on Satan’s side anyway. Even as Satan was saying, “Checkmate, God; I’ve got you now. All these Jews are going to bow down and worship Nebuchadnezzar’s image,” that God said, “Not so fast. The game is not over. I’ve still got one more move.”

Those three Hebrew young men said, “We will not bow.” By their willingness to lay down their lives, they overcame the enemy.

Well, we move into the New Testament, and we see how the Seed is born, the male Child, the One who is to overcome Satan, the One who ultimately crushed his head, though His heel will be bruised in the process. The Seed is born. Satan has failed in all those pages of the Old Testament.

As you read, wade through all those tough parts of the Old Testament, and remember the story. Look at the big picture. Realize what it is that’s happening. The Old Testament is not useless. It’s crucial to understand the story.

Now we come to the New Testament and the Son of God, the male Child, the Son of the woman, the Son of righteousness risen with healing in His wings is born of the woman. Satan has failed in his attempt to keep the Son from being born.

So he moves into wicked King Herod, and he says, “Destroy this child.” Herod issued an edict that all the baby boys under the age of two should be destroyed so that the King of the Jews could not survive.

Don’t you imagine as those Roman soldiers went through town after town destroying those infant children how Satan must have just said, “Checkmate God; I’ve got you now. The seed’s been born, but He’s going to die.” But God had one more move.

For you see God appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt ” (Matthew 2:13). God delivered the life of His Son. He spared the life of His Son. And can I remind you that when you’re in the fiery furnace, when the king is after you, and your life is being threatened (whether figuratively or even perhaps literally), remember that if God chooses to do so, He can always spare the life of His servant.

And if He doesn’t, then God will get greater glory through the laying down of your life than He would through the sparing of your life. So you can’t lose can you? God always wins.

Well Satan had not succeeded in destroying the royal seed, the Son of God, the Messiah. So he takes Jesus, drives Jesus—though we know Jesus was also led by the Holy Spirit—into the wilderness to be tempted for 40 days by Satan himself. As Satan tempted Jesus and said, “Just worship me for just a moment,” that’s all he wants. It’s a battle for worship. It’s a battle for surrender. It’s a battle for bowing the knee.

Satan knew in his heart that if for a second Jesus would have given in and worshiped, that it would have been checkmate. But Jesus wasn’t going to worship Satan. He said, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve ” (Matthew 4:10, KJV).

Leslie Basham: When Jesus was being tempted in the wilderness, it was one episode in the colossal battle between two kingdoms. Nancy Leigh DeMoss has been putting the stories of the Bible in perspective, showing us the difference between war and worship.

It’s part of a series called The King Still Has One More Move. Nancy delivered it at a women’s conference, and I think it’s one of her classic messages. It will change the way you think about temptation and worship.

We’re bringing it to you in three parts, but you’ll get a richer experience by listening to it in its unedited and complete form. You’ll get the original message as Nancy delivered it when you order the CD. Look for The King Still Has One More Move. It’s one of the many practical, biblical resources available at ReviveOurHearts.com.

This message is an example of the purpose of Revive Our Hearts. We are connecting women with God’s Word, helping them understand it at a deeper level and applying it to their real-life situations.

We’ve been able to do that in 2006 through the prayers and the financial gifts of our listeners, and Nancy’s here to reflect back on another year of ministry.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Leslie, let me just say first how thankful I am to the Lord for so many rich blessings throughout 2006. As this year comes to a close, I want to express how very grateful I am for the encouragement and the responsiveness of those of you who have listened to Revive Our Hearts.

Many of you have joined our matching gift challenge and have supported us financially as well. Again, let me just say thank you for your partnership in this ministry. It means more than I can express.

I want to let you know that your contribution here at yearend really is important to us. It will make a difference, whether large or small from your perspective. In fact, did you know that more than 30% of our annual income comes in during the month of December alone?

So if you haven’t already, would you join us? We want to be able to finish up this year in the black and be able to move into 2007 not only with our bills paid, but knowing that we’re able to continue airing Revive Our Hearts in your community each weekday through the year ahead.

Thanks so much for standing with us.

Leslie Basham: When you do stand with us and encourage us with your gift, we want to encourage you too. When you make a donation, we’ll send you a thank you gift. It’s called A Heart at Rest. It’s a one-of-a-kind flip calendar beautifully designed to give you daily quotes from Nancy and encouraging Scripture. You’ll have fun turning to a new page every day and reading Nancy’s thoughts.

Get this daily dose of encouragement when you contact us with a gift of any size. Ask for A Heart at Rest when you call 1-800-569-5959 or check the box to indicate you’d like the calendar when you donate online at ReviveOurHearts.com.

During Nancy’s series called The King Still Has One More Move, we’ve been hearing about the battle between war and worship. Tomorrow we’ll come to the turning point in that battle. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.

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