“But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, ‘You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun.’ Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.” Acts 13:8–12 (NIV84)
Let’s not be duped into thinking that our battles with the Evil One are few and far between. Matter of fact, a more appropriate perspective would be that they come daily and continuously. Paul, a new convert to Christianity, was learning this full well. He was now facing the same opposition he once dished out. Satan was working through people in and around Paul’s ministry in an attempt to stifle its growth. In our verses for today, Paul was working hard to convert an important proconsul, but Elymas the sorcerer was being used by Satan to run interference. Look at how directly Paul confronted Satan working in Elymas, almost like he had prior knowledge of what Satan’s manipulation is like. And he did! Paul was once used by Satan in a very similar way. I find it interesting that the Lord, through Paul, struck Elymas with the same blindness that Paul once experienced. The point is that we must always be ready, because the battle goes on…
But listen to this very closely! We need to know, believe and act as though we have already won. Satan is defeated! We are already victorious in Jesus’ death and resurrection. Luther wrote in his famous hymn, “A mighty Fortress,” “This world’s prince may still, Scowl fierce as he will, He can harm us none, He’s judged; the deed is done; One little word can fell him.” And that one word is “Jesus.” We need to use the name of Jesus as a shield of protection. We need to use the truths of God’s word as our offensive weapon. We need to know that going in we have already won. I think we need to be more like the Israelites in Joshua’s time. They went into battle knowing that God was going before them to ensure victory. We need to be like the judge Gideon, who went into battle with 300 men knowing that if God was the one going before him, he could have won with 30 men.
So, although the battle goes on, the end result is already known. Our Lord goes before us to ensure our victory.