If a house is divided against itself ...

And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. But no one can enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.

I remember a book that was very popular back in the 1970s that was a detective book of sorts for spotting demons. Many of the folks I associated with back then embraced the idea that demons were all over the place and it was our job to get rid of things (like statues of frogs) that attracted them. It was a weird time. In contrast I recall a time this spring when I prayed for a stranger in a market close to home and sensed demonic activity in his life.

In this passage the Lord Jesus does not refute the existence of demons but instead gives us a peek into the world of Beelzebul. He tells us that this is a spiritual realm that is not divided or stupid. Yet the Lord also speaks of entering the strong man's house and plundering his goods. It reminds me that the gates of hell cannot stand against the prayerful assault of believers and of how we can cast demons out when we discern their presence.

Awaken my heart Lord to discern the times. Help me to not be spiritually ignorant.

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