Satan Attacks Leaders

Satan also aims at those in office in the church. What better way to infect the whole town than to poison the cistern where they draw their water?

Satan singles out persons of prominence and power. They may be either in the state or in the church. If he can, he will secure both the throne and the pulpit, as the two generals that command the whole army. A head of state may influence thousands; therefore, Paul said to Elymas, when he tried to dissuade the deputy from the faith, "O full of all subtlety and mischief, thou child of the devil" (Acts 13:10). As if he had said, "You have learned this from your father the devil--to haunt the courts of princes and wield your influence over rulers."

Satan doubles his leverage in gaining such leaders to his side. First of all, they have the power to draw others to their way. Corrupt the captain, and he will bring his troops with him. Let Jeroboam set up idolatry, and all Israel is soon in a snare. Second, should the sin stay at court and the infection go no further, yet a whole kingdom may pay dearly for the sin of its leader. David succumbed to Satan's temptation to number the people, but the entire nation suffered the plague of punishment with him (1 Chronicles 21).

Besides trying to infiltrate the ranks of government, Satan also aims at those in office in the church. What better way to infect the whole town than to poison the cistern where they draw their water? He takes special delight in corrupting the heart of a minister. If he can wiggle into a pastor's heart, then he is free to roam among God's flock undetected--a devil in shepherd's clothing. Who will persuade Ahab to go to Ramoth-Gilead and fall? Satan can tell: "I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all [God's] prophets" (1 Kings 22:22). How shall sinners be hardened in their sins? Let the preacher place cushions under their consciences and sing a lullaby of "Peace, peace," and it is done. How may the worship of God be discredited? Let the world observe the scandalous conduct of a minister, and many, both good and bad, will reject the truth of the Gospel on the strength of the lie his life tells.

-William Gurnall