“And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” —Job 1:8
It needs not much wisdom to discern that the great object of Satan in considering God’s people is to do them injury. I scarcely think he hopes to destroy the really chosen and blood-bought heirs of life. My notion is that he is too good a divine for that. He has been foiled so often when he has attacked God’s people, that he can hardly think he shall be able to destroy the elect, for you remember the soothsayers who are very nearly related to him, spoke to Haman on this wise; “If Mordicai be of the seed of the Jews, before whom thou hast begun to fall, thou shalt not prevail against him, but shalt surely fall before him.” He knows right well that there is a seed royal in the land against whom he fights in vain; and it strikes me if he could be absolutely certain that any one soul was chosen of God, he would scarcely waste his time in attempting to destroy it, although he might seek to worry and to dishonour it. It is however most likely that Satan no more knows who God’s elect are than we do, for he can only judge as we do by outward actions, though he can form a more accurate judgment than we through longer experience, and being able to see persons in private where we cannot intrude; yet into God’s book of secret decrees his black eye can never peer. By their fruits he knows them, and we know them in the same manner. Since, however, we are often mistaken in our judgment, he too may be; and it seems to me that he therefore makes it his policy to endeavour to destroy them all— not knowing in which case he may succeed. He goeth about seeking whom he may devour, and, as he knows not whom he may be permitted to swallow up, he attacks all the people of God with vehemence. Someone may say, “How can one devil do this?” He does not do it by himself alone. I do not know that many of us have ever been tempted directly by Satan: we may not be notable enough among men to be worth his trouble; but he has a whole host of inferior spirits under his supremacy and control, and as the centurion said of himself, so he might have said of Satan— “he saith to this spirit, ‘Do this,’ and he doeth it, and to his servant, ‘Go,’ and he goeth.” Thus all the servants of God will more or less come under the direct or indirect assaults of the great enemy of souls, and that with a view of destroying them; for he would, if it were possible, deceive the very elect.
Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)
Delivered Sunday Morning, April 9, 1865
at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 11, Sermon No. 623
“Satan Considering the Saints”