Mike Focht 6/28/2024

Intimidation has long been one of Satan’s most prolific strategies in subduing the salt and light of God’s people. How often do we cringe and surrender before his threats? Too often, our noble ambitions to love God, serve God, and proclaim God’s good news surrender to the mere threat of awkwardness, ridicule, persecution, or discomfort! Since Adam and Eve turned their back on Eden, imagine the innumerable flames of love and kindness that fears have extinguished—most of which was likely never to happen in the first place.

  The effectiveness of intimidation is a sad reality. How easily the fear of man ensnares us! It is not feeling fear that is our sin, but the surrender of our obedience in the face of that fear. Satan rejoices in the Christian’s unforced surrender of what is right, virtuous, and good. He rejoices because he knows a secret—if we had resisted, he would flee. 

  He who comes to steal, kill, and destroy will present himself as a ravenous lion even when he knows he only has the power to act as a deceitful serpent. Satan will attempt to deceive us into surrendering our power and place in Christ when he knows he has no authority to overcome. Like Elisha’s servant before us, he will seek to keep our attention on his arm of flesh, so we don't open eyes of faith to see the flaming chariots of God. If he succeeds, we fail.

  Nevertheless, there is a healthy and spiritual form of intimidation that God would have us know. That is the wise, healthy, and cleansing fear of the creation before its Creator. Jesus is clear about what humanity ought to fear. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

  Jesus also warned, But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!

  These words should bring a type of divine intimidation to the heart—a godly humility and surrender of an accountable created thing before its Maker. This truth is the other side of the coin. Like others scattered throughout the Word of God, these Scriptures balance our fears properly. Words such as these help us to remember and to feel that Satan is not the ultimate power.

  Believer, when fears assail you, let this simple question guide you: Do I fear God as I should? If you find yourself questioning any God-honoring action, not because of the action itself, but because of consequences, reactions from others, or a perceived negative outcome, set your mind upon God and allow Him to be magnified in your thoughts. Cast yourself before His eternal throne as a weak and helpless thing and pray, My God, Your creation answers You. I am afraid but desire the strength and courage to do Your will.

  God will be well pleased with such a request, and you will find, as you press into the guttural growls and shuddering roars of the enemy, that his fiercest protests often accompany his most significant defeats. Remember, Satan is a liar, even when he roars. Pharaoh’s final frustrated show of strength ended in the lifeless bodies of his army being washed up on the shore of the Red Sea. The men of Jericho laughed until the walls they trusted in came crumbling down. The Midianites covered the earth like a plague, sleeping confidently before Gideon discomfited them. Rabshakeh made his blasphemous boasts and threats before a single angel harvested the souls of his entire army in a single night.

  And what clearer and more familiar picture of Satan’s intimidation do we have than that of Goliath? Don’t we, like the Israelites before us, often shiver in our spiritual armor until someone like that remarkable shepherd boy, with a vision full of God, comes upon the scene and asks, Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?

  May God give us righteous men and women as bold as a lion! We still desperately need unknown and unheralded men and women who fear God more than man. When these brave men and women take their stand, others will stand with them. And when they resist the devil, he will flee from them. After all, there is something that Satan well knows—God will never forsake His people, and It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God!