The Old Serpent and the Slacker

His hard times came about to settle a dispute between God and Satan over Job’s sincerity. To prove his sincerity God allowed the devil to put him through the ringer.  First, he lost his family, then all of his earthly possessions, on top of that he was afflicted with a serious, disgusting, disease. 

It struck Brady that when Satan stood before God, it was not Satan who brought up Job – it was God!  Satan accused the Lord of putting a hedge of protection around Job.   The Lord gave him certain restrictions and then He put Job’s household and everything he owned into Satan’s hands.  Brady now realized that the Lord had allowed the devil to afflict Job.  In the end the Old Serpent was not the victor.  Job regained all that he had lost…and then some.  

Something Pastor Tom had said in his sermons series on 1 Peter came to mind.  His pastor had suggested that everyone memorize 1 Peter 5:8.  Brady had taken his suggesting and now recited it in his mind.  “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  

Pastor Tom stressed that when Christ went to the cross to pay the price for the sins of mankind He had defeated the evil forces as well.  Indeed, the lion could still roar up a storm, but he had been defanged.  His pastor also stressed that the devil and his followers remain on Earth, so believers must keep their guard up.  

Then it came to Brady, “The Church body receives its power from the Holy Spirit to stand against the forces of evil. So Satan has no power to lead people to sin, only what they give him themselves.”

A reminder from the Holy Spirit burst into Brady’s thoughts:  “Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will shew to you to day…The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace.” 

Brady chewed on the end of his pen, mulling over the verse in Exodus 14. “Stand still…The Lord said stand… stand your ground!”  It all made sense now.  “Why would I want to go into enemy territory and take on demons if I have the Lord God to fight for me?  Nope.  Not doin’ it.  Not takin’ on demons.  No way, no how”  He heaved a sigh of relief. “I’ll do as Paul said.  I’ll put on the full armor of God–everyday!  And when it comes to Satan and his demons, gonna do as Moses did. Let the Lord fight for me!” 

Anabo felt tingly all over.  As the Holy Spirit enlightened Brady’s mind he was allowed a glimpse into the human psyche.  To an angel it was a thrilling thing to behold.  

Brady looked at his watch.  He was running out of time and he very much wanted to pray.  He closed his Bible, took a deep breath, and bowed his head.

* * *

Two loathsome spirits hovered over Cherry Lane, a few yards out of Anabo’s range.  When Brady began to pray, one of them cried out, “ANABO!” 

The angel didn’t bother to look up.  He knew who had called his name.

“We came to keep you company,” snickered Poneros. 

Anabo ignored the demon.

“ANABONANA!” shouted Fonias.

To Anabo’s chagrin he had brought Fonias, a commander in the Mercenary Army, with him.  He had tangled many times with Commander Fonias since the Great Rebellion.  His eagle eyes scanned the area for other hostile forces, fully aware that the Adversary might very well have sent more than these two to distract him.  

The revolting duo descended slowly, cautiously without taking their eyes off the angel even for a split second.  Like all demons, they both reeked of burning flesh.  Anabo narrowed his eyes on them and saw sparks shooting from Poneros’ eyes.  He pointed at Brady and croaked, “Ours!” 

Anabo was undaunted.

Fonias was growing impatient.  “We’re taking him back!” 

Fat chance.  

The angel’s lips parted.

Fonias gave Poneros a shove.  “Of course I can see, you twit!  He lowered his cloak and growled, “I see a pathetic angel who thinks his scintillating smile can frighten us away.”

Now Anabo was smiling from ear to ear.

The usually fearless Fonias’ resolve was fading fast.  Still, he managed to bring forth this threat: “Be forewarned!  Even ten thousand grinning goons cannot stop us from controlling the mind of one squishy saint!”

“Yeah!” echoed Poneros, still quaking beneath his robe.  “I’ll–we’ll have control of that dirt bag again!”

Fonias’ rage was at the boiling point.  His eyes burned badly.  He had to make his move.  “You’re wasting your time here, miserable messenger!  He’ll be back with us in no time!”  He was as blind as a bat.  “Go to heaven!” he said with a wave of his cloak. 

Fonias ribbed Poneros and hollered, “Get him!” The evil duo flew blindly toward Brady screeching like banshees. 

Up went Anabo’s shield.  The demons bounced off like a tennis ball colliding with a racket.  

Anabo looked up to Heaven and roared, “THE BATTLE BELONGS TO THE LORD!”

Dazed and out of ideas, the duo headed for the hills.  From a rooftop several blocks away Fonias shoved a bony finger into Poneros’ chest. “You simpleton,” he snarled as if his inferior was entirely to blame for the hammering they had taken.  Poneros took the rebuke in stride.  What else could he do?  “Get out of my sight!” thundered Fonias.  “NOW!”

Poneros took to the sky.  The underling was too busy hatching a plan to take revenge on Commander Fonias to worry about a miserable human dirt bag.  

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