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Opinions of Monday, 19 October 2015

Columnist: Twum, Thomas

RE: Lifes challenges not from satan but God - Rev. Tannor

Opinion Opinion

According to a Daily Guide report captured at the ghanaweb.com on the 15th October 2015, a very Reverend Minister of the Sunyani Circuit of the Methodist church, Kwesi Tannor, is alleged to have delivered a sermon on the underlined subject at a thanksgiving service to honor the elevation of Rev. David Boakye to the priesthood, querying why Christians blame their problems on the devil.

The Rev. is alleged to have said that life’s challenges that befall believers are sanctioned by God. I am sure this portion of the sermon may have caused a stir in the minds of some congregants. Could the most Reverend right or wrong on his claim?

Is there any biblical support on this claim? And by the way, who is the devil?
The Most Reverend indeed ruffled calm waters with such sermon. Scriptural matters of this sort causes headache and are better not fed to the church. Reason is, they are difficult to understand, and no rational explanation gives them good meaning, and therefore, doesn’t serve its intended purpose. Holy things, Jesus said, are not meant for unholy people; otherwise they may misconstrue it and then turn against you, Matthew 7:5.

Some truths we will never know because God has kept them for Himself only, as said by Moses in Deuteronomy 29:29. Christendom has long held the notion that there is the good spirit, God so sympathetic to our course and desiring to give us anything we ask for, and there is a bad spirit, the devil who doesn’t only bring calamities but also looks out to intercepts the flow of God’s goodness to mankind.

Some portions of scripture don’t allude to this idea. Whilst James 1:13 says that, “let no man say that, I am tempted of God, for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempts he any man,” 1corinthians 10:13 says that, “God will not allow you to be tempted above your strength, but even so, will also make a way for you to escape.” This is the case of Paul version versus James’.

The Prophet Moses also in Exodus 20:20, said, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, so that the fear of him may be with you, so that you may not sin.” Sounds contradictory, doesn’t it? From the very first day mankind was sheltered in the Garden of Eden; they were put to test on obedience, which brought about the original sin. The lure or the appeal of the apple was weightier than our strength could resist.

Can it be said, that sin originated from the devil? The choice of good and evil had already been succulently packaged to catch the eye and set before mankind the first day in the garden. The serpents work would have come to nothing had the fruit not been embellished with evil. God’s ways are mysterious, defying rational understanding.

There may be demons and bad spirits that are capable of effecting people’s lives but I wonder if they are able to operate without God permission because God claims sovereignty over the universe. My belief is that God knows and sanctions everything.

In Matthew 4:1, bible says that, Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil. Why would the spirit send Jesus to the devil’s school for a test? Perhaps, Adam, after having proven to God that humanity is gullible, God couldn’t allow any more chances on the second Adam, Jesus, in spite of all his perfections and quality as the son of God, and therefore, has to be proven, and thanks to God, Jesus prevailed, otherwise humanity was going to be doomed.

Job 1:6 and Job 2:1 gives a picture of how the devil attends uninvited conferences between God and his angels and children as well, and even taking on a healthy chart and concluding business deals with the Almighty God, when he has been outlawed the heavenly kingdom. This same devil also took a contract from God to entice King Ahab to death, as narrated in 2chronicles18:21.

As said by Jesus in Matthew 6:24, there are only two masters of this world; the devil is not one of them but their subject, imprinting his mark in both masters realms.

The God of the spiritual world who beckons us to seek spiritual enlightenment by detaching from the goals of material wealth and pleasure, and the Mammon, the god of this material world, who is alluring in beauty, power and adorns his worshippers with material riches and selfishness. The devil fronted for the Mammon during the trial of Jesus in the wilderness when he told Jesus that all powers has been entrusted to him and therefore if Jesus will bow to him, he in turn, will bestow on Jesus the riches, glory and power of this world as said in Luke 4:7.

Can God’s sovereignty be undermined? Considering some of His proclamations; “I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the Lord who does all these things,” Isaiah45:7. Lamentations 3:37-39; “Who has spoken and it came to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come? Why should a living man complain about the punishment for his sins?”

Finally, Isaiah 49:9-10 says that, “remember the former things of old; for I am God and there is no other; I am God and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not done, saying, ‘My council shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.’

The Very Reverend Kwesi Tannor is right about his sermon. If God doesn’t tempt us, how shall we grow and be strong in His service. Unto God alone be Glory and Power, forever.

Thomas Twum.