What made the devil do it? How did a being so wonderfully made come to despise his station and standing in the design of God? Why did he turn away from the work given to him?
The Bible provides detail about the being first known as Lucifer, now called Satan. Lucifer, his very name speaks of the way this creature was designed to bear light. He was set up near the glory of God to glorify God. From Ezekiel 28, we understand that the devil enjoyed a proximity to the throne of the Lord. In that place, he likely heard much about the course of history and sovereign purposes of God.
In short, Lucifer was wise and talented, beautiful to behold, and he had a great job. He was perfectly equipped and positioned for success. All of this apparently wasn’t enough for him. A root of dissatisfaction sprung from within him and set him on a collision course with God.
Out of Place, Out of Order
As Satan, the devil now dedicates himself to accusing the saints of God day and night. He is also restless and roaming, a predator seeking those to devour with his devices. The first chapters of Job show the devil at work, traversing the earth to scatter his deceptions.
Satan simply is a being out of place. Created for a specific role in the government and order of God, the devil is on the loose, to the extent that the Lord allows him to be. Let’s make one thing clear, God remains in control of the situations that Satan is permitted to influence.
For a span of time, Lucifer operated within the parameters of his design. He exercised his authority. Some commentators mention that Lucifer helped orchestrate the praises that were directed toward the throne of God. Luke 4 reveals some of what was given over to Lucifer’s control. The kingdoms of this world were shown and offered to Jesus in a rapid, dizzying display. Christ does not challenge the devil’s claim to these places and refuses the offer.
There came the point when iniquity was found in Lucifer. His great powers and the brightness of his being captivated him. The devil entered into a pattern of comparison. The position and privilege he possessed were no longer satisfying to him.
It seems that Satan began to entertain an attitude of contempt. He began to see himself and his way of thinking as better than those coming from the mind of God. Perhaps, he got information on how angelic beings would one day serve creatures fashioned from clay — human beings made in the image of God (see Revelation 19:10). Maybe this got to Satan somehow.
So what did the devil do? He sought to be as the Most High (Isaiah 14:14). In other words, he worked to establish an alternative organization with him sitting atop the organizational chart. He was smart enough to know where he came from and recognized who had made him. Still, Lucifer allowed himself to become alienated from God.
Alienation is a form of resentment related to one’s origins. It bothered the devil that his very existence came from the Lord. He worked to detach himself from God and also swayed other angels to attach themselves to him.Let's make sure that our hearts are really after God. Click To Tweet
What sparked this fall to alienation? The devil became disenchanted. He had moved in his role, saying the right things to himself and to others. But was he ever really one with God and His purposes? Perhaps, he was enchanted with who he was and what he had for a time, but this came to an end.
Look at the word “enchantment” and notice that the letters at the center of it form “chant.” A chant is the repetition of a word, a phrase, or a sound. It is mechanical communication that becomes spellbinding at times.
In the book of Acts, the residents of Ephesus were energized to shout “Great is Diana of the Ephesians” for two hours. How many of those people really understood the issue at hand? A group of silver trinket makers were angry that Paul and the message of the Gospel turned people from the worship of the goddess wedded to this city. Soon a mob began chanting and rushed to the fill the town’s amphitheater (see Acts 19:24-41).
Disenchantment produces hard, bitter feelings. When it happens to us, we feel fooled, deceived, disadvantaged, and victimized. We react in anger at others and often at ourselves. The spell that we were under has been broken and the results can be tragic.
Let’s make sure that our hearts are really after God. We can hear lots of things and do lots of things in the name of Jesus. However, we must let His Word and His Spirit do their deep and abiding work inside of us.
To this day, Satan continues to craft and contrive his machinations in bitterness toward God and toward the ones God loves. We should not underestimate the devil’s power and his level of distaste and hatred for the way and the work of the Lord. The devil seeks to devour us with his actions, his attitude, and his deceptions.
The good news is that the Finished Work of Christ produced a decisive and lasting triumph over the devil. Believers in Christ are seated with Him far above principalities and powers. Christ has won and we are in Him as more than conquerors, never to be separated from Him.
For more about the devil and his ways in this world, listen to “Above All Principalities and Powers” preached by Thomas Schaller, pastor of Greater Grace Church in Baltimore.