Ace of Spades – March 11, 2022

The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.
1 John 3:8


Military Devotion -March 11, 2022

Devotion based on1 John 3:8

See series: Military Devotions

When Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, America went to war. The result was a devastating defeat for the invaders.

A few years later, American leaders responded to the reports of Iraq having weapons of mass destruction and evidence that its leader authorized the slaughter of countless men, women, and children who were Kurds.

America returned to war in Iraq—this time determined to eliminate the regime’s leadership that caused so much death and destruction.

To enable our troops to identify the leaders, their pictures were put onto what looked like playing cards. Troops didn’t need to learn the Arabic names. They could just refer to “The 10 of Diamonds” and everyone knew who that person was and what he looked like. The top target was the president of the country.

He was pictured on the Ace of Spades.

When the Son of God was sent to earth to destroy the powers of darkness, he knew their leader carried the name Satan.

Thus, we can say, during the mission of Jesus on this earth, his chief target was the prince of darkness. His card, if there were one, would be the Ace of Spades.

The one known in Nazareth as the carpenter’s son spent some 30 years preparing for the showdown. When the time was right, it was the Holy Spirit who led him onto that battlefield in the desert for the opening round. Satan came carrying the primary weapons of satanic forces: deceit and intimidation.

He began the attack with the words, “If you are the Son of God…” followed by commands to “tell these stones to become bread” and “throw yourself down” from the high point of the temple.

It was a trap. If Jesus had done these things, as he easily could have, he would have appeared to have accepted Satan as his commander.

He did not.

The last attack in the desert by Satan revealed his true objective. After showing Jesus all the kingdoms of the world in their splendor, he said, “All this I will give you if you bow down and worship me” (Matthew 4:9).

Much earlier, while yet in heaven, Satan and his followers had challenged the authority of the Lord God to rule over them. Now on earth, Satan renewed the challenge. Jesus didn’t flinch. Instead, he issued his own command, “Away from me, Satan!”

Satan yielded. He had to. Satan left. Angels rushed to the side of the victor.

During his ministry here, Jesus won battle after battle against his adversaries. Repeatedly, they retreated to fight another day.

Until.

Until there was no chance of retreat. Until the day that the Lord of life crushed the powers of darkness by sacrificing himself for mankind. He defeated sin, death, and the devil by dying. He proved his victory by rising from the dead.

The hymnist called Jesus, “Death of death and hell’s destruction.”

The leader of the satanic state was taken down. He is now detained with limited freedom. The holy, almighty God controls the length of the chain he is tied to.

He still boasts as if he is unstoppable. But he is faking it. He knows the gates of hell will slam shut on him at the time of God’s choosing. Those who follow him will share his misery.

He is running for his life, but his path leads only to a pit—the pit of hell.

Rightly we sing, “Though devils all the world should fill, all eager to devour us,
We tremble not, we fear no ill; they shall not overpower 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.” (Christian Worship 863:3)

That word is “Jesus.”

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, if you had not come to rescue us, if you had not been willing to take on our deadly enemy, if you had just watched from afar, the powers of darkness would have robbed us of life and salvation. We hail you as our conquering King. Amen.

Written by Rev. Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Belle Plaine, Minnesota.

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.

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