“Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us” (1 Thes. 2:18).
God has a plan for each of our lives, a plan that is for our good and His glory. We should not forget, however, that Satan has a plan for the believer’s life as well. His designs are for destroying our lives and testimony for Christ through sin, false beliefs, and poor decisions. Paul’s mention of “the wiles of the devil” in Ephesians 6:11 teaches us that Satan has strategies, methods, and schemes to make us fall or run away in the spiritual battle. Satan can’t take away your salvation (Col. 3:3), but he can destroy your testimony. Like a thief, he can also rob you of your joy in Christ and your assurance of salvation.
After establishing the church at Thessalonica, Paul had tried “once and again” to reconnect and visit them, but it had not worked out. The reason, Paul wrote, was that “Satan hindered us.” The Greek word for “hindered” is used of making a road impassable. In the context of athletics, it meant cutting someone off during a race. In a military context, it referred to cutting a trench in front of an advancing army to prevent the enemy’s progress. Satan does the same thing in our Christian lives: he blocks the path, cuts us off in mid-stride to trip us up, or impedes our spiritual progress.
We do not know specifically what Satan did to keep Paul from going back to Thessalonica, but we do know that Paul attributed the obstruction to Satan himself. However, we see now how even Satan’s hindrance was part of God’s providence for Paul’s life. God allowed and used Satan’s opposition and brought good out of this roadblock which Paul perceived as bad. As He did with the Cross, God accomplished His own purposes, using the devil to do so.
The consequence of Paul’s inability to go to Thessalonica was the writing of a letter, a letter that became part of our Bible. This letter, in turn, has resulted in glory to God and, for the past 2000 years, untold multitudes have benefited from Paul’s First Epistle to the Thessalonians and have been blessed by its divine truths — our blessed hope of the Rapture (4:13-18), to name just one. It was because Paul faced a satanic roadblock in his life that we have 1 Thessalonians. We do well to remember this anytime we face a blocked road or barrier in life that we perceive as bad, because God can work to bring something good out of it for His glory and our blessing.
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.