For we wanted to come to you—certainly I, Paul, did, again and again–but Satan blocked our way. 1 Thessalonians 2:18 NIV
Satan is not omnipresent. The devil and his demons received a lethal defeat at the cross of Jesus. Death with its fear and power were shattered on the morning of the Son of Righteousness’ resurrection. God will always triumph, but the Devil still fights everyone of His followers along the way. When you receive the name, child of God, it becomes very clear to the Devil to lay his snares to attack and distract you from accomplishing God’s purposes in your life.
Paul desired to visit his persecuted friends. Perhaps his absence caused some to think that he didn’t care because he had sent others to visit but he, himself, still had not returned. Paul wants to make it clear that he wants to come and visit. The phrase again and again could be translated not once but twice.
We have no scriptural basis to determine what specific occasions stopped Paul from visiting his friends. We do know on other occasions he knew that God’s timing was not in order. Why did he attribute this delay to the work of Satan?
In other versions, “hindered us” is chosen as the translation instead of “blocked our way”. The greek word is enekopsen which means obstructed, interrupted, or hindered. The literal imagery is “cut into” like digging a trench to separate enemies as in WW1. Paul understood that Satan would use certain events to block or separate him from completing the work of God.
How does Satan (representing all of his evil works and not necessarily him personally) hinder you?
- Satan snatches away impressions from God. In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus reveals that the enemy is like a bird that quickly comes and snatches away the Word before it has time to take root.
- When praying for others, remember to pray for sensitivity when the word is being proclaimed.
- Pray each week during the sermon and bible lessons for the devil to not steal away the word given.
- Pray for hearts to be tender for those sharing the gospel to block the work of the enemy
- Write down impressions to capture what God has spoken to you to help you remember what God has said.
- Sleight of hand. Again in the Parable Jesus states lack of the word’s effectiveness (hindered) can be because…
- The worries of this life
- The deceitfulness of wealth
- And our desires to pursue “other” things
- These can easily become trenches which keep us from accomplishing our desires to complete God’s tasks
- The devil is a master of providing a buffet of good entertainment opportunities to keep us from “being about our Father’s business”
- Illness and pain have the potential to thwart God’s work. The sickness stops the ability to be physically present to do the work
- Sickness at its core separates and isolates. Jesus knew that His presence was necessary for those who were sick. “It’s not the healthy that need a doctor but the sick”. He validated His ministry by His association with the blind and the lame.
- We learn much from God’s compassion by remembering to visit the sick. Jesus used this idea of connecting with the sick as an identifying marker for His sheep in His teaching about the difference between the sheep and the goats.
- Even in sickness, God has a plan. The prayers of the sick, offered in faith and sacrifice, for others are a powerful tool to advance the work of God in our world.
- All sin is bad, but sins of leaders can be very damaging. King David’s sin with Bathsheba resulted in the death of her husband, the death of their child and judgment for the nation of Israel.
- Pray for those in authority to walk in holiness. Adultery, financial misconduct, or pornography have far reaching destructive impact that our enemy uses to cause little ones to stumble.
- The devil has a long term strategy to neutralize you.
- Supply of funds
- From God’s perspective, He can always make a way to support His work. From our view, lack of funds sometimes seems to stop or at least hinder the work of God
- Please remember to follow the impressions to give to missionaries and others who are the front line of God’s work
- The lack of funds comes sometimes by things breaking. After submitting all that you own to God, make sure you pray for His hedge of protection over your things. He kept the sandals working for the nation of Israel for 40 years while they followed Him in the desert.
Having done everything to stand, STAND against the schemes of the adversary. Take the time to learn what sacrifices and changes need to be made for you to complete the “having done everything to stand”. Then remember to daily put on God’s armor.
Satan felt that his hindering stopped the work of God in Paul’s life. YET, today we are reading and benefiting from this letter written by Paul to his friends in Thessalonica. God has a way of using what the enemy thinks will hinder, for God’s ultimate purpose.
Are you being harassed by the Enemy? Has illness made you feel isolated and ineffective? Have the cares of the world thwarted your desires to complete the mission of God for your life?
Receive HOPE today. God loves you. His plan is always for good and not to harm you, but to give you hope and a future. May you step over the trench of Satan and keep on pursuing God’s higher calling in your life.
Blessings Love y’all