"Though devils all the world should fill, all eager to devour us, We tremble not, we fear no ill; they shall not overpow'r us. 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."
Sometimes a little name-calling is in order, but not toward other people. This necessary name-calling is directed toward our enemy, "this world's prince," as Martin Luther, the author of this hymn, calls him. Scripture gives our foe many other names, from the serpent of Eden in Genesis to the ancient serpent and dragon of Revelation.
We are helpless against the evil foe. "With might of ours" nothing could be done, but our champion fought for us, Jesus Christ, the Lord of Sabaoth, that is, the Lord of the armies of heaven. On the battlefield formed by a cross and a tomb, Jesus was struck down, suffering the penalty of death for our sins. Perhaps the devil thought he had won at that point, but any hope of victory for the evil foe was crushed when Jesus rose from the dead. Through His death and resurrection, Jesus defeated Satan and removed the weapons of sin and death from the foe's grasp. The word "devil" means accuser or slanderer and, when Jesus rose in triumph, heaven rejoiced at the slanderer's defeat: "The accuser of our brothers has been thrown down" (Revelation 12:10b). Our sins are washed away in Jesus' blood. The devil's slanderous accusations against us fall flat.
The fallen foe has come down to earth "in great wrath, because he knows his time is short!" (Revelation 12:12b). We face a conquered, although still dangerous, enemy. Jesus once called the devil "a liar and the father of lies" (John 8:44b), and with that description our conquering Lord puts a weapon into our hands. In this hymn, Luther says of the devil, "He's judged; the deed is done; one little word can fell him." Luther explained that "little word" in two ways. A little word that defeats Satan's schemes is, of course, the Name of Jesus. But there is another little word that defeats the deadly foe (and involves a bit of name-calling). That one little word is "Liar!" or as Luther explained, "Devil, you lie!"
Satan tries to lead us into sin or despair with tempting suggestions: "Everyone else is doing it." "No one will know." "God really never said anything about that." "God will never forgive you." All lies! When the evil foe tries to trap us, we stand firm through faith in Jesus and tell the enemy exactly what we think of him. One little word can bring him down: "Liar!" We know the Truth, and His Name is Jesus!
WE PRAY: Lord Jesus, help me to stand firm against temptation. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn "A Mighty Fortress is Our God," which is number 656 in the Lutheran Service Book.
1. Calling people names is an easy trap to fall in to. How do you stay on guard against doing that?
2. The devil, on the other hand, is a filthy liar, and we do well to remember that. How will he lie to us in regard to Jesus?
3. How does remembering that Jesus is the truth keep us strong against temptation?
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