“Therefore we wanted to come to you—even I, Paul, time and again—but Satan hindered us“
but Satan hindered us
The word “hindered” comes from two words: to cut and in. Satan cut into the plans of Paul. He tried to impede him by breaking up his plans and placing obstacles in his path. It is always the strategy of Satan to thwart any program to win people to Christ or to build them up in the faith.
Satan confronts godly strategy with his own strategy. This is the source of our problems spiritually. Not many Christians consider the impact of Satan on their lives. God considers it important enough to give believers a suit of armor to defend themselves.
“Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:10-11).
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Ephesians 6:10-13).
The book of Acts says that men drove Paul’s team from their ministry in Thessalonica. This passage points to Satan as the source of this problem. It is clear that Satan uses men as his emissaries to accomplish his ends. We do not see Satan physically, but we can see people doing his work.
“Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you, and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith. But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one” (2 Thessalonians 3:1-3).
Although Satan hindered Paul’s ministry, he did not daunt his ministry. Paul, in writing to the Thessalonians, blessed the church with his two epistles for 2000 years. Satan cannot bind the Word of God.
“Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (2 Timothy 2:8-10).
Satan will do all he can to obstruct the work of the Lord.
You had faced times in your life when you tried to do God’s will but found many obstacles along the way. You may have met opposition from even good people. That is Satan thwarting your ministry.
Satan may frustrate our ministries, but God always providentially allows him to do so. Satan is not sovereign. He can do nothing without God’s permission. He is a finite creature, albeit a mighty finite creature. God is omnipotent; Satan is potent. Satan is mighty; God is almighty.
God originally created Lucifer, a brilliant, sinless angel. Later, he rebelled against God and became the leader of a vast worldwide organization of demons. Satan is not omnipresent, so he put together a worldwide organization of fallen angels that are his henchmen. He can send these emissaries to do extensive injury to the people of God and the plan of world-evangelism.
At times, God allows Satan to deal with believers. Nothing could happen to Job without God’s permission. God concurs with each event that comes into our lives.
“And the LORD said to Satan, ‘From where do you come?’ So Satan answered the LORD and said, ‘From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.’ Then the LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?’ So Satan answered the LORD and said, ‘Does Job fear God for nothing? ‘Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. ‘But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!’ And the LORD said to Satan, ‘Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.’ So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD” (Job 1:7-12).
God always allows satanic obstruction for a reason. He uses these frustrations to mature us in Christ. As Paul did not concede defeat, so we must not allow one obstruction to become an absolute barricade against everything we might do for God.