The Old Accuser Frustrated


Jim van Heiningen

“Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen the brethren”

(Luke 22:31-32 – NKJV).

Had the Lord, just previously, mentioned Job to the disciples? Had He given them a glimpse into the heavenly “court intrigues” (if we may call them that), with Satan “asking” for God’s beloved servants in order to give them a thorough “sifting”, one at a time, as he had done with Job? We are not told, but even the above words must have sent Simon Peter’s thoughts flying to Job chapters 1 & 2, where Satan did his unabashed asking.

Satan is the “opposer” and “plotter” – those are the meanings of his name. He is also the “accuser” or “slanderer”, which is what the word “devil” means. When the “great dragon…, the serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan,” is finally cast out of heaven, “a loud voice” from heaven calls him “the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night…” (Rev. 12:9-10).

Job was God’s servant and so was Simon Peter. Whenever someone, whoever he or she is, starts to serve God, it means that Satan has lost a servant. And so, with satanic logic, he seeks to undo whatever service such a “traitor” will now render to his great enemy. He will stop at nothing to activate his terrible program of “stealing, killing, destroying” (John 10:10).

Did you get what he is really asking for? Accusing God of favoritism, and God’s servants of faithlessness, he virtually says: “Just let me get my hands on so-and-so, and that ‘servant’ of yours will be exposed for what he really is – his faith is a sham!” By extension, God’s favor, God’s grace, is then meant to be exposed as a sham also.

Did I say “he will stop at nothing?” Of course, there is one thing he will stop at – it is the limit God imposes on him. God allows him to go so far and no further, which is why Paul writes: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor. 10:13).

Even if we get some blessed insight into these spiritual realities, i.e. into what is behind the trials, the temptations, the afflictions, the threats, the persecutions, etc., it won’t mean that all mysteries are now solved, nor that the suffering becomes necessarily less. Satan’s messenger was allowed to buffet Paul, and though the apostle prayed, there was no relief. However, the Lord told him directly: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:7-10). Paul’s terribly frustrating experience became the accuser’s frustration! The accusations got nowhere.

In Job’s case, Satan first of all arranged that four messengers miraculously escape from their respective disasters in order to deliver their messages of calamity at Job’s place. It didn’t get Job down; he still worshiped God! Then God allowed Satan to go further and to strike him “with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.” It didn’t blow his faith away! Finally Satan sent Job four “comforters”, i.e. the three ‘synoptic’ friends and then Elihu, friend number four. They managed to get the accusatory part across, and Job did get terribly flustered and frustrated. And we find that God certainly needed to have a word with his servant afterwards. The servant’s faith, though, was vindicated and God’s grace wonderfully triumphed!

Simon’s story is very different again, and so is yours and mine. But the outcome will be the same. The Savior stands by his true servants. HE knows their hearts and… He prays for them. Then let Satan do his worst, I am my Lord’s and He is mine!

“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall He not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: ‘For your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord”(Rom. 8:31-39).

“I will greatly praise the Lord with my mouth; yes, I will

praise him among the multitude. For He shall stand at

the right hand of the poor, to save him from those who

condemn him”


Psalm 109:30-31.