The Devil Made Me Do It?

James 1: 12-13

 

12 Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord[a] has promised to those who love him.

13 No one, when tempted, should say, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil and he himself tempts no one.

 

HOMILY  INTRODUCTION

 

Whenever I hear the word temptation – I have several images come to mind…

Adam and Eve – Garden of Eden

Job

Jesus in Wilderness

The old gospel hymn I grew up with..

Yield not to temptation for yielding is sin—

Each victory will help you – some others to win..

Fight manfully onward – dark passions subdue – look ever to Jesus – he’ll carry you through…

The devil… satan – is rarely a topic on Sunday mornings…

I do not know why it is the topic today, but I have learned NOT to ignore what God puts on my heart… even when it scares me – or makes me wonder why…

Today, I continue to trust God’s decisions, and just get out of the way….

_________________________

What does the Devil look like?

Pitchfork and tail –  Greek mythology,                           Neptune/pitchfork

RED            blood – violence – passion

Horns/ Beard –   Satyrs, the lust-filled tempters    (goat legs, horns, beard)

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SATAN – Originally

Angel – most perfect of all

In Ezekiel 28:12-18  you will find God describing     him:

“Thus says the Lord GOD,   You had the seal of perfection,    Full of wisdom and perfect  in beauty. You were  blameless in your ways from the day you were created. Until un-righteousness was found in you.”

So Satan was created a cherub and he            originally was

“the anointed cherub that       covered” the very throne of God.   He was perfect and “blameless”.

  • -But his pride got in the way
  • -he became “unrighteousness” before God.
  • -Satan’s pride was his downfall.
  • ________________________

NAME    –      SATAN

PROUNUNCIATION

The Hebrew word “satan” means   adversary or accuser.

“Satan” is pronounced as “sah-tahn.”

There has arisen a misunderstanding of the Hebrew in which some are

choosing the pronunciation of the name of the accuser of the brethren as “Shatan” rather than as “Satan.” 

However,

“Shatan” is a different Hebrew word                                                                                            which means “urine”.

We should not confuse these two words,

rebuking “urine” (Shatan)  does nothing to get the enemy to depart from us.

The confusion comes because the same Hebrew letter in both words has two PROUNUNCIATIONS

s- sound   or   sh- sound…

Satan (Hebrew: meaning                                                        “ENEMY” or “ADVERSARY“;

-derived from Hebrew verb ‘satan’                         which means TO OPPOSE

Arabic: shaitan, meaning;  “ASTRAY”, “DISTANT”,

When Hebrew scriptures were translated into Greek….

  • They translated “satan” as “diaboloc” from which we derive our English term “devil” and “diabolic.”

 Devil- DIABLOS in Greek

is a figure appearing in the texts of the Abrahamic religions who brings  evil and temptation,                  and is known as the deceiver  who leads humanity astray.

OTHER Descriptions

 SATAN = Any person acting as an

  • accuser
  • enemy
  • Opponent
  • Adivine messenger sent by God as an adversary:
  • member of God’s inner council;
  • a type of chief prosecutor of Heaven:

HEBREW PHRASE

“Ha satan” –      THE Adversary

  • such as advocate on other side of argument

HEBREW HA – just means THE

SO WHAT?

This makes ‘ha satan’ a common noun rather than a proper noun      or      NAME like   “Satan Jones”

Judaism does not believe in the devil,                                       but they do believe in   ‘the Satan”

 

`Not SATAN, but ‘the satan’

which also means  ‘CHALLENGER’ –                                 ‘DIFFICULTY’

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IN JUDAISM

HaSatan works for God.

His job is to make choosing good   over evil enough of a challenge so that it can be a meaningful               choice.

HaSatan is an angel whose mission it is to add difficulty, challenges, and growth experiences to     life.

Contrast this to Christianity —-           which sees Satan as God’s opponent. _______________

In Jewish thought, the idea that there exists anything –capable of setting itself up  as God’s opponent  would be considered  overly polytheistic

Viewing Satan as God’s opponent would be setting up the devil  to be a god or demigod.

_____________________

SO —-

We learned all of the meanings behind the name HaSATAN – one I have been taught over the years is TEMPTER –

Since we have the Eden story, Jesus in the Wilderness – and of course Job’s mess.

We even have other faith’s understanding of the Purpose – of the HaSatan

We began this lesson by describing what HaSatan looks like….

Red – Horns – Beard – Goat legs – Tail – Pitchfork – scary red eyes – sharp teeth

Interesting that human imaginations picture         ha-satan as scary,  red, black, violent,                                   ugly, viscious…

Yet,

If that is how we envision ha-satan-     how could he be a temptation to us?

Something that is ugly, scary and violent would send us running in the opposite direction – yet

Our teachings are that the devil is  trying to lure us in –  tempt us into sin – lead us into trouble and pain.    Take advantage of our weaknesses…

Hang with me for a little longer…

If THE Satan is not a proper NOUN –                                 then we can also deduce                                                            THE Satan may NOT a  proper BEING –

but a metaphor –

A representation of what tempts us from our walk with God –From our loving one another              From our joy —

SORT OF- The Devil Made Me Do It

a catchphrase made famous in the 70s by Flip Wilson –

on his tv show – he had a character Geraldine  who used this excuse whenever her husband accused her of doing  something wrong….

Not my fault… the Devil Made Me Do it.

ALSO —

Remember the cartoons when a character was caught between doing something wrong and right… and on one shoulder appeared a miniature angel telling them to do right…

and on the other should appeared a miniature devil, telling them how great it      will feel to do wrong…

Halloween is our time to express our fears or lack of fears – and the devil is almost always one of the costume choices…                                                                          either the ugly, vicious scary version…or the cute little cherub devil…or the sexy temptress —

Whether we view this tempter as Satan – HaSatan – Devil – Opponent – Adversary – enemy or challenger –OR   whether we understand this part of creation as a thing or spirit or just an   expression of behavior…

It is one way of gauging our spiritual walk –   again using bad things for a positive       purpose…

— we can measure ourselves against this one we call the Satan –And use this information to help us            Recognize temptations –                                                           and work hard to avoid them…

Lead us not into temptation, but when they happen – let us turn away…

I realize this dressing as HaSatan/ Devil is a very different approach to a Sunday message… but,I couldn’t help myself…                                                               maybe the angel made me do it…