God uses suffering to help people grow. Incredibly, as we suffer, He does good––and the fact that we suffer is a testament to His love for us. He longs so deeply for His people to grow that He is willing to suffer with us. Suffering comes from God. Suffering is God’s tool. Suffering draws us closer to Him. But where does Satan fit into all this? Didn’t God give Satan the power to torment Job? Wasn’t it Satan who was bringing adverse circumstances into the lives of the Israelites when they attempted to follow Him (Zechariah 3:1-2)? Didn’t Satan take the Lord Jesus into the wilderness to tempt him? Indeed––Satan was involved in all of those things. Because Satan simply means “adversary” (the word is actually translated as “adversary” 7 times in the King James Version). It’s a Hebrew word that came into Greek (and thus found its way into the New Testament), and subsequently into English––but its actual meaning is adversary. Thus, if we hold the traditional view of Satan, some of the uses of the word may surprise us:
- Numbers 22:22 - Balaam, a prophet who attempted to prophesy against the Israelites found himself confronted by “the angel of the LORD.” For Balaam, this angel was an adversary to his goal––prophesying against Israel. Thus, the angel is called Balaam’s adversary, or Satan (the word is שָׂטָן, Satan, in the Hebrew).
- 2 Samuel 19:22 - David, when speaking about his nephews, the sons of Zeruiah, stated that they were “adversaries” to him––or Satans in the Hebrew.
- 1 Kings 11:14 - Hadad the Edomite, one of the descendents of the king of Edom, was a Satan, or adversary, to Solomon.
- 1 Kings 11:23 - the same was said of Rezon the son of Eliadah––another adversary, or Satan, to Solomon.