I talked about sons of Belial (SOBs) in the workplace in previous articles. (See posts from 7.7.2013,4.24,26 and 29.2015). They are people who are committed to serving Satan in one or another of his forms. They will try to hurt us but Jesus will give us VICTORY. Peter got in a mess with them and his story shows us how to get FREE.
Look at John 18. Peter was trying to see what was happening with Jesus after the officials bound him and took him out of the garden of Gethsemane. He followed them to the gates of the inner circle of those servants of the high priest. The high priest Caiaphas was a dedicated follower of the wishes of Satan. He was the Son of Belial in this situation, determined to get rid of Jesus in whatever devilish way Satan showed him.
One of Jesus’ disciples already knew the high priest and was not effected by him or his evil ways, so he was able to go into the palace where they took Jesus. Only people with a special anointing from the Lord can be in this position and survive. The majority of Christians, including the great apostle Peter are not called to do this.
“But Peter was standing outside at the door” (John 18:16). Right at that point, Peter should have turned around and left. But he didn’t and he was in big trouble after that.
There was a woman that kept guard at the door. Peter’s friend talked to her and she opened the door for Peter to come into the palace courtyard where the evil priest’s servants were congregated. Peter knew he was going into enemy territory and he hadn’t prepared himself. But there he was inside the gates. “Then the servant girl who kept the door said to Peter, “You are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He panicked and answered wrong, something I think we’ve all done under stress. “I am not” is what he said (vs 17). The influence of the SOB was already getting to him and he denied being a follower of Jesus.
Then Peter sidled up to the fire and sat down among the followers of Caiaphas, probably trying to mix in and be anonymous. But we are never anonymous when it comes to demons. They know who we are and Peter was now in a spiritual trap.
Peter had no business being there. The influence of that SOB started to wear him down quickly. Someone else asked Peter if he’d been with Jesus and he denied him for the second time. The third denial—the final blow and most important for our understanding is when “one of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the one whose ear Peter cut off, said, “Did I not see you with Him in the garden?” (vs 26). By this time, it’s almost like Peter was under a horrible spell. His head just wasn’t right and he denied his Lord again. But there’s something more to this third accusation.
The accuser used the phrase “I see you in the garden.” “Garden” refers to the earth and here it’s connected with the physical, cultural and spiritual influence of where Peter grew up. It’s where the Girgashites lived in Old Testament times and the Gadarenes in the New Testament. It wasn’t a well-thought-of area.
The guy was telling Peter to get back to the slum he came from. He was telling Peter he was a failure, he wasn’t worthy to be an evangelist for Jesus; he was just a fraud and he ought to admit it and get back to the only thing he was good at, fishing. And Peter believed it. His strength and confidence as a believer was annihilated. After all, he knew he hadn’t stood up for Jesus even after he was given three chances to speak the truth.
A little background on Girgashites and Gadarenes will help us to see the bigger picture here. The word “Girgashite” means “clay dweller.” They focus on things that are visible, natural things they can see. The Gadarenes who came from the Girgashites were pig herders. It’s said that it’s physically impossible for pigs to look up at the sky. (Somebody who knows more about pigs than I do will have to confirm that). But the spiritual aspect of Girgashites is that they only believe what they can physically see and they lead people away from focusing on heavenly things, eternal things, things bigger than what’s in front of their noses.
When Jesus delivered the Gadarene man in Matthew 8, the demons went into the pigs and they ran off the cliffs and drowned in the waters below. Drowned animals in the Bible were called an abomination because they died without shedding their blood. “The life is in the blood” (Lev 17:11). This Girgashite/Gadarene spirit is still in the world today causing good wonderful people to be drowned before they’re able to live the greater life the Lord’s called them to. They can start off great, but in calculated methods, over time they are hit with things they can’t control.
The many SOBs who’ve risen to the top of businesses, universities, government agencies and other areas of life are crushing the life blood out of good Christians and sending them back to the spiritual slums of living like the Gadarenes, in the tombs, in empty places where they hide and have little influence. They settle for a “small” life.
When Jesus found Peter, he was a practical fisherman carrying out the traditional Girgashite way. But Jesus broke him out. He called him out to be a bold evangelist, a “fisher of men” (Lk 5:1-11).
But when Peter got into the presence of those who served a demonic ruler, he crashed hard. The influence of the evil Son of Belial priest was too much for him. The demons worked on him with words and accusations to the point Peter could no longer see himself as the Lord saw him. Peter was deflated and became little. He lost all his confidence in a very short time.
Then when the rooster crowed, Peter realized how low he had sunk—he’d denied his Lord Jesus and that ruined him.
Matthew 26: 75 says, “And Peter remembered the [prophetic] words of Jesus, when He had said, ‘Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.’ And he went outside and wept bitterly [in repentance].”
Most of the Christians I’ve seen who’ve been too close to an SOB have gone the same way as Peter. They’ve been demoralized, cut down, abused, falsely accused, their confidence totally ripped from them. Some have been threatened with going to jail. Instead of being the gregarious social leader, they shrink to a very small group of close trusted family or friends. Instead of reaching outward, they go inward and lack the energy they once had.
It’s totally understandable. They are not alone. Look at Peter again. He was a weakened man. After Jesus was crucified, Peter still hung out with the disciples but it wasn’t the same. One of the saddest scriptures I know comes during this time. Jesus was raised from the dead and reappeared on earth to check on his disciples. Were they preaching the gospel to all nations? Healing? Casting out demons? Nope. They were back up in the area of the Girgashites doing small work.
A dejected man, “Simon Peter said to them, ‘I am going fishing.’ They said, “And we are coming with you.” So they went out and got into the boat; and they caught nothing” (John 21:3).
THANK GOD THE STORY DOESN’T STOP THERE!
Even though the disciples had forty days with Jesus, that didn’t instantly save or restore the gregarious and bold peter we once knew. There was only one event after the debacle with the SOB, that saved Peter and got him back to his right mind: He did what Jesus told him to do.
When Jesus said to get up out of the land of the Gadarenes and go to Jerusalem, he did it. Jesus told them to wait there and in just a few days they’d receive the promise.
They obeyed. They went. The big change came. Jesus told them, “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you” (Acts 1:8). “Power” here is the Greek word “dunamis.” It’s a root word of dynamite. It means miracle-working power, excellence of soul, the ability to think the right things, have the right emotions, and make the right choices.
From watching Peter up to this point, we can see that he really needed some dynamite. Anyone attacked by SOBs needs to be restored to a place of being filled with the miracle power of Jesus. It’s the only thing that gets people out of drowning with the Gadarene pigs and back to a free and happy and empowered life.
Acts 2 tells us the disciples were together and they were expecting the freeing power to come into them. It did. “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues” (vs 4). When we read a little further to verse 14 we see that the real Peter is back!! Peter stood up and lifted his voice and belted out with boldness about the true power of the Holy Spirit. He was experiencing it and he never went back to lack the confidence he regained on that day.
I know a couple believers who have regained their vitality and vigor after being attacked like Peter. They did it the same way Peter did. They obeyed the Lord even though they were downtrodden. Then they believed and received the “dunamis” miracle freedom that Jesus gave them and they are now strong as dynamite in doing the will of the Lord. (Their individual stories are for another time – this material is hefty enough to take in as is.)
If you or someone you love has been effected by SOBs and they have not recovered yet, please be understanding and pray for them. Help them to receive dunamis power from Jesus. It’s so important.
More stories of DELIVERANCE, HEALING, COMFORT: WINGS: A JOURNEY IN FAITH http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&index=aps&keywords=WINGS%20Carolyn%20molica&linkCode=ur2&tag=jmbcsds-20&linkId=XQMVLVZYNBLYAGEM