Random and not so random musings from a 5th generation NE Missourian who became a 1st generation Episcopalian. Let the good times roll!

Hey, I found this free e-blurb that comes in my mailbox once a week that is “Hebrew word-a-week.” I am enjoying it a lot since I like to pick words apart.

This week’s word is ha-satan (ha-sah-TAN)...aka “Satan.”

It is interesting that ha-satan means, “the accuser”, “the adversary” or “the opposer.” I did a little work on some of the torah study sites, and discovered it is generally referring to the yetzer ha-ra, the evil inclination in mankind. Humans struggle between the desires of the yetzer hatov (our good inclination) and the yetzer ha-ra (our evil inclination) So this oppositional force, historically, is a force within us.

Ha-Satan is the title (like “chief accuser”), not the given name, ascribed to the angel in the book of Job that gets permission to “test” Job.

In the Greek, it gets turned into “diabolos”, aka “devil.”

But time and time again, in the OT, whether it is in the book of Job, or Isaiah, it plays out where ultimately, God has dominion over “the ha-satan.”

I think this is interesting both in light of our Gospel for this week because in Matthew 10:24-39 it asserts that our value to God is far greater than our value to the world. (“Sparrows are cheaper than dirt at the Farmer’s Market, but look how well I care for them and look how well I know you.”) Also when you look at the OT reading this week (Jer. 20:7-13) b/c it is like, “God, why are you dogging my ass all the time but simultaneously pulling it from the fire?”

Getting this as the “Hebrew word-a-week” this week certainly has a twilight zone characteristic to it. We struggle with our own value, yet God always sees us as highly prized. We look to external forces to define our value—money, looks, smarts, talent, our friends/relatives—and it is never enough, it never quite satisfies us, we beg and plead for more external validation. Ha-Satan is not a devil with horns, hiding behind the lamppost, waiting to jump out in front of us, he lives between our own ears and is composed of our own thoughts, talking trash to us and feeling every external slight and dig—and it is our own thoughts that separate us from that feeling of value that God gives us constantly.

I think about when I am trying to hide something that is bothering me from my closest friends. Eventually, they look at me and say, “Something’s bothering you, I can tell it, I KNOW you, so don’t try to hide it from me. Spill it.” Yeah, it feels like they are on your ass and won’t leave you alone. But when you do finally spill it, you feel better.

Well, it seems to me that ha-satan is the oppositional force that, even though we ascribe it to “evil inclinations,” it is also, oddly enough, the force that allows us to “feel the gap” between us and God and that, if we are aware to its oppositional qualities, is actually the thing that can cause us to “spill it” to God. Its ability to “oppose” allows us to recognize our yetzer hatov, our “good inclinations”, and in that, God does have dominion over evil. WHOA!

Then the phrase in this week’s text in Matthew pops in my head that shows up time and time again in the Bible--”Do not be afraid.” We should not fear ha-satan because God has dominion over our accusers, our mental adversaries, our opposing thoughts. (Now why does the Blue Oyster Cult song, “Don’t fear the reaper” pop into my head?)


My such a provocative post - in a totally good way!

I must sit with this for awhile.

My way of dealing with Satan is to not deal with him really, other than as an angel of God who has closed his heart to God.

As a result, I don't see him having much power. That is not to say that he should not be noted.

Off to think and pray.



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Kirksville, Missouri, United States
I'm a longtime area resident of that quirky and wonderful place called Kirksville, MO and am wondering what God has hiding round the next corner in my life.

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