“Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way” (Matt. 2:12, NKJV).
Spiritual warfare runs throughout Matthew’s account of Jesus’ birth. In fact, the circumstances surrounding His coming are a rich source of insight for us, as we learn how to apply His victory to the battles in our lives.
I, for one, would much rather focus on the beauty of the Lord than bother with paying attention to our defeated foe. However, the Word admonishes us that remaining aware of the devil’s “wiles and intentions” is key to making sure that he does not gain any “advantage over us” (2 Cor. 2:11, AMP).
With that in mind, here are the spiritual combat principles we find tucked into the Christmas story:
1 No matter how badly the devil rages, he is always losing. We see this truth demonstrated in Herod’s behavior. When the Wise Men did not play into his wicked plans, he went into a violent, demonic fit of ire. Holy Spirit pointed out something to me about his fury. This was not merely human anger. Herod was actually manifesting satan’s panic.
God had put the devil on notice by allowing Herod to find out about the birth of a new King. Jesus had made an astounding entrance into the earthly realm – the realm that the enemy had usurped for four thousand years. His horror, at knowing that God had invaded, was immeasurable. It spilled out immediately in Herod’s vitriolic, murderous actions. The enemy lives in a constant state of fear, knowing that he is absolutely no match for the One who reigns over the universe.
2 The devil is always on the outside looking in. God keeps him in the dark about His plans and strategies. At the time of Jesus’ birth, satan could sense that something was happening. However, he was entirely ignorant of any of the particulars. That vile serpent was slithering, terrified, on the outside, closed out from God’s movements, trying desperately to peer in. He tried to use the Wise Men as a means of gathering intelligence. He failed. The not knowing even further exacerbated his sense of utter fear.
3 The devil is always in defensive mode. His activities are purely reactionary. God is always on the move, and all he can do is painfully react. Once God set him on notice about Jesus’ birth, his response was petrified frenzy. His knee-jerk reaction was to mobilize Herod for Plan A (manipulating the Wise Men). Plan A came to nothing. Then, through Herod again, he tried Plan B (eradicate the threat by killing all the baby boys in the area). Plan B failed miserably too. He could do nothing at all to touch God’s newborn King. This is how it always goes for the devil. He constantly exists under the sting of defeat.
Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow!