Lying in bed, you hear the sound, that high pitched whine, announcing the presence of a mosquito in the room. A tiny little insect, but it’s buzz can keep you awake wondering, if and when it will land and attack! Frequently, that high pitched whine means that the lights go on and there is no peace until the little pest is found and disposed of. How can something so small cause so much trouble?
The image of a mosquito is helpful for us when we think about our adversary, the devil. It is easy to think of the devil al all powerful leading us to be scared and fearful. There is a danger that we can think of God and the devil as equally opposing powers. In fact, this is what the enemy would like us to believe. The reality is that God, the creator of all things, is far more powerful. As the kid’s song reminds us. “Our God is so great, so strong and so mighty, there is nothing our God cannot do!” In contrast, Satan is like a little mosquito, buzzing around, they are a pain for sure but not all powerful. Nevertheless, we do need to be aware of mosquitos. They can carry malaria or West Nile virus and can make us very sick.
We have an enemy who is out to cause us harm. But in comparison to God he is like a tiny mosquito. Satan is a created being, he has limitations. His is not all powerful and is forced to work within the limits and confines of a created being. He lacks originality, his plans and schemes utilize the same tactics again and again. Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians that “we are not unaware of his schemes” (2 Corinthians 2:11) but he also warns us not to be outwitted. We cannot underestimate this adversary, we need to be on guard because he will use the same tactic again and again against us. But if we know his schemes, then it becomes far easier to recognize and avoid the traps which he sets for us. We can hear the high pitched whine and be on alert ready to squish Satan’s schemes.
Satan has to use the principles which God Almighty has established. For example, God has chosen to limit himself and work through the prayers of his people. Why would God limit himself to being reliant upon our prayers in order to move his will forward? This is a mystery of God, which we shall only fully understand in glory. But I wonder if part of the answer is that by limiting himself he has also limited the devil, who has to operate along the same spiritual principles. So Satan needs to work with and through humans (who he hates) in order to accomplish his evil plans. He cannot just do what he wants, he must manipulate humans into moving his plans forward. The brokenness and depravity of humanity’s fallen condition makes this a fertile field to work within. But it is still limiting and God is able to work powerfully.
We have an enemy who is out to get us. But when compared to God, our Heavenly Father, he is merely a whining mosquito. He is still dangerous, but we are not unaware of what his plans are. As we draw near to God, in prayer, and resist the devil he will flee from us (James 4:7).