Does the Holy Spirit Just Stand There and Let the Devil Do His thing?

How does Satan kill? What is the process that allows the devil to destroy men with disasters, death, and destruction? What general dynamics does God want us to glean from Scripture? Does the Holy Spirit just “stand there” and let the devil do his thing unopposed?

Let me share two different translations of a key passage which will ignite your understanding as to just HOW Satanic evil operates. The second translation is actually a highly respected interlinear translation, and so is a little choppy in English because it is a word-for-word translation.

“Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.” 1 Cor. 10:9-10.

“But not we might ‘PRESSURE OUT’ THE CHRIST, just as some of them PRESSURED and by the snakes were destroyed. But not grumble, just as indeed some of them grumbled and were destroyed by the destroyer.” 1 Corinthians 10:9-10. THE WORD STUDY GREEK-ENGLISH NEW TESTAMENT by Paul R. McReynolds (Tyndale).

These passages refer to the Old Testament episode described in Numbers 21:4-6. For years, I have heard these verses cited for the proposition that we better not “tempt” God or He will send snakes of affliction to kill us. And, in fact, the Old Testament passage does say “the Lord SENT fiery serpents among the people.”

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! We live under New Testament truth, not Old Testament wrath.

The Lord didn’t send the snakes. Satan did. The protective presence of the Lord is what kept the snakes AWAY in the first place. The New Testament version of this event modifies and corrects our understanding here. God didn’t the snakes IN to afflict and kill the people. No, the people PRESSURED God OUT of the situation, which then allowed “the destroyer,” Satan, to penetrate and assassinate the people.

According to the interlinear translation above, these verses literally warn us, “NOT” to “PRESSURE OUT” the Christ, just as some of them (the Israelites) pressured and by the snakes were destroyed.

Do you see? Neglect and unbelief cause the Lord’s protective presence to wane, whereas faith and hope cause the Lord’s protective presence to wax. Waxing and waning. Waning and waxing. Learning these governing dynamics is what our faith walk is all about.

“We” are the ones who “PRESSURE OUT THE CHRIST” with our neglect, unbelief, and hardness of heart. Satan THEN is able to penetrate the circumstance with his destructions. The picture becomes clearer and clearer. Man pushes God’s protective presence away by his sin, grumbling and unbelief. Demonic forces (snakes) move in the vacuum created and afflict man with all forms of satanic oppression.


I want to weave a seamless cloak. This cloak represents a “righteous mindset” that dresses our every perception with the Lord’s covering. It will provide us continuing understanding of how God’s Spirit operates in and over our lives. This cloak of wisdom will allow us “put on” and “keep on” the protective presence of Jesus at all times. As we learn to recognize His presence with the “ready pens” of our confessing mouths and believing hearts, Heaven will openly “manifest” here and now upon the earth. Psalm 45:1.

The Lord’s presence is everything. Is He fully present here and now or isn’t He? Does He leave the room when evil events come? If not, why doesn’t He stop them? Psalm 91 promises absolute and total protection for the righteous. Is this true all the time, or just some of the time? What good are His promises of protection if they are only occasionally true? Where is His presence when tsunamis strike, rapists attack, cancer ravages and terrorists slaughter?

Can we just shrug our shoulders and write it off to God’s mysterious will? Does God love us with His right hand of Jesus one day, and then the next day hate us with His wrathful left hand of Satan? Can we truly love or trust a bi-polar God who might or might not show up for battle? Or, could it be, that His apparent “failure to appear” is caused by other factors on OUR side of the equation?

I think all would agree that the Holy Spirit IS God’s actual presence in the world today. See John 16:7-15. If we rightly understand the Holy Spirit’s pulsating nearness, then the seamless cloak starts to take shape. Let’s get started on some basics. At the outset, I want to say that we are discussing the dynamics of God’s presence in GENERAL terms only. Why God appears in one situation and not another is something we can understand in general terms, but there are always specific factors we may never know which either impede or enable the manifestation of God’s presence. Only God knows ALL the factors in any given situation. I am not addressing any of those specific dynamics, only GENERAL dynamics.


First, God is omnipresent. The prefix “omni” means “all.” God then is ALL-PRESENT, which means His presence exists in all times and places. Paul told the philosophical Greeks, “That they should seek the Lord… for IN HIM we live, and move, and have our being.” Acts 17:28. David also knew this dynamic when he wrote Psalm 139, a great tribute to the omnipresence of God. “Whither shall I go from thy SPIRIT? Or whither shall I flee from thy PRESENCE? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.” Praise God, what a passage to remember in times of apparent darkness!

But, to say the Lord is always PRESENT is NOT to say that the Lord’s presence is always openly MANIFESTING. The word “manifest” means “to make evident by showing or displaying, an outward indication which is readily perceived.” Jesus said we can know the KINGDOM OF GOD IS NOW HERE WHEN GOD’S PRESENCE MANIFESTS by casting out devils, healing the sick, raising the dead, preaching deliverance to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, thereby setting at liberty all those bruised by Satan’s oppressions. See Luke 11:20; Matthew 10:7-8; Mark 16:15-18; Luke 4:18-19; Acts 10:38; Romans 15:18-19.

Another way to say this is as follows: THE MANIFEST PRESENCE OF GOD IS THE KINGDOM OF GOD IN OPEN OPERATION. Wherever God’s Kingdom, which means the Holy Spirit’s rule and reign, is received by faith, the presence of God is currently manifesting. The manifest presence of God means there is a demonstration of Spirit power. This can range all the way from displaying the supernatural fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), to the supernatural gifts from the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:7-11) or to a supernatural visitation by the Spirit (Acts 8:39). When God is given free reign by our faith, He WILL leave “fingerprints” able to be seen by all. “Signs” always “follow” in the wake of His manifest presence. See Mark 16:17, 20.

Convicted hearts, healed bodies, delivered souls, changed lives, displays of unfettered joy and love for one another —- THESE ALL are the manifesting presence of God. But note that the New Testament teaches that these manifestations are to flow THROUGH US. We, as the body of Christ, are the current conduits of the manifest presence of God. “The sons of God are those led by the Spirit of God.” Romans 8:14.

Any leading of the Spirit IS a manifestation of God’s presence and an open operation of the Kingdom of God. In fact, ALL CREATION is groaning in expectation, “for the MANIFESTATION OF THE SONS OF GOD.” Romans 8:19. Even though all the enemies of God are NOW ALREADY OMNIPRESENTLY DEFEATED through Jesus’ work on the Cross (Colossians 2:13-15), the Father is now waiting for US to put those enemies MANIFESTLY under OUR feet. The victory of Jesus over ALL evil is NOW omnipresent, but we are the channels to make that victory NOW manifestly present. It was for this reason that John Wesley said, “It seems as if God is limited by our prayer (faith) life. He can do nothing upon the earth unless a man prays.” We are the spigots that release the omnipresence of God unto manifest presence. Our faith doesn’t create the victory, it only recognizes and releases it FROM Heaven TO earth.

Do you see? It is not that God hasn’t already done all the He can to defeat every form of evil, for He has. Jesus omnipresently won the victory over every battle with sin, sickness and Satan at the Cross. By His stripes we were all HEALED (past tense) according to 1 Peter 2:24. This victory is already established and completed in Heaven. This omnipresent victory hovers and hums all around us, in us, through us, in us, between us —- waiting to be recognized and received unto full manifestation in this earthly realm as it is already fully manifested in Heaven. God now eagerly awaits for us to BELIEVE IT UNTO MANIFESTATION, “From henceforth expecting till His enemies be (manifestly) made His footstool.” Hebrews 10:13.

“Thou hast put all things in subjection under his (man’s) feet. For in that He (God) put all in subjection under him (man) He (God) left nothing that is not put under him (man). But now we do not yet see (in open manifestation) all things put under him. But we see Jesus….” Hebrews 2:8-9. Hallelujah! The victory is already assured. Everything is under our feet NOW, regardless of how bad things may look, not because of our own works, but because of Jesus. All we need do is to focus on beholding Jesus, His work, His life, His Word, His Spirit —- He is always beckoning us to “only believe” that HE HAS ALREADY OVERCOME THE WORLD. As we diligently believe Jesus, His omnipresent victory will start to openly manifest before our very eyes in greater and greater power and intensity. Like the dawn of a new day, darkness will gradually be dispelled until we are fully in the light as He is in the light.

Remember that, as said above, God’s omnipresent victory hovers and hums all around you in all your circumstances. The Holy Spirit is continually whispering in your ear, “I’m here. I beat that enemy already. Been there done that. Been there won that. I love you child. Believe it and I can pour forth my glory into this matter for all to see. As it is in Heaven NOW, receive it on earth NOW!” It is as if this whole earthly plane of existence is a thin slice of “tracing paper” laid over the Kingdom of Heaven. God wants us to use our ready pens of faith to perfectly trace and replicate Heaven’s underlying reality into THIS reality. In the original Greek, both Matthew 6:10 and Luke 11:2 express the idea that we are to pray that God’s will on earth be done NOW as it has ALREADY been accomplished in Heaven. OUR role then, is merely to FAITH-TRACE Heaven’s will on the tablet of our lives. Tracing is not difficult, but it does require us to pay close attention.


Now let’s take at look at the reverse truth of this concept just discussed. The UN-MANIFESTED PRESENCE OF GOD IS THE UN-DEMONSTRATED KINGDOM OF GOD. Wherever the Spirit is not being recognized and received by the hearts and minds of men, God’s presence cannot fully manifest and demonstrate the Kingdom of God. Or, put another way, although the Kingdom of God is omnipresent, it cannot be manifestly present wherever men are disbelieving or disinterested in God. Failure to be alert toward God’s Spirit is what the Bible calls NEGLECTING OUR SO GREAT A SALVATION. Hebrews 2:3. This verse suggests that we will not be able to escape danger if we NEGLECT our Psalm 91 promised salvation from all evil. Neglecting God “pressures” His manifest presence away, leaving us vulnerable to all sorts of demonic attacks.

The New Testament calls the un-manifested presence of God the “grieving” or “quenching” of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19. All over the earth right now, this very moment, men are ignoring God’s Sprit, neglecting Him, rejecting Him, blaming Him for evil, slandering His character, resisting Him, and/or scoffing at His presence. Some want to manipulate the Holy Spirit, and control Him as they would any asset. Simon the sorcerer in the book of Acts is an example of this, along with many modern day charlatans who seek personal profit from Holy Spirit manifestations.

Others usurp the Holy Spirit by substituting their own personal opinions, theologies, and judgments for the Holy Spirit’s leading. In other words, they think their natural opinions and thoughts ARE the Holy Spirit. This is one dangerous assumption. This is why God’s nature appears moody at best and monstrous at worst to most people. Many modern-day religious teachers and leaders have deformed the image God because they operate in their own human opinion and tradition rather than Holy Spirit illumination. They control the masses with wrath and fear when the Holy Spirit wants to liberate them with power and love.

So, how does all this abuse toward the Holy Spirit affect the omnipresent victory of God over ALL evil? Not at all! But how does our disbelief, disinterest, and disobedience affect the MANIFEST presence? Greatly! Let’s look at a few examples in Scripture.

When Jesus returned to Nazareth in Mark 6:1-6, He came ready to perform the great works of God —- miracles, demonic deliverances, dead-raisings, teachings, preachings, impartations of forgiveness and restorations of wholeness, the entire package of power ministry. Yet, “He could there do no mighty work…because of their unbelief.” In fact, Jesus was so grieved at the Spirit’s power being quenched that, “He MARVELED at their unbelief.” Makes you wonder how much “marveling” the Holy Spirit does today at our individual and corporate “unbelief” which QUENCHES His power from MANIFESTING right now, this very moment.

Could this be? Do we have the power to handcuff God from fully manifesting right now? Well, yes and no. No power in existence can keep God from manifesting fully and completely in Heaven. “The heavens are the Lord’s but the earth has He given to the sons of men.” Psalm 115:16. This plane of earthly existence, when compared to the scope and expanse of Heaven, comprises less than the smallest sliver of seaweed floating in the vast ocean. But, God used this sliver to create beings who could experience love through freedom. To have the free response that allows true love to exist between two, God had to give men enough freedom to risk a level of rejection. Otherwise, we would all be robots, puppets on a string, who experience no real love, only control and manipulation. Love is worth the risk to God.

It comes down to this. Is God a puppet master, a control freak, a computer programmer who has already pre-downloaded and predetermined all of our life decisions? If so, we are mere robots, or automatons as C.S. Lewis famously said. Freedom would be a fiction, an illusion, just as love would be. Under this scenario, we are no more than puppets being controlled by pulls on the string by an unseen puppeteer. Yuck! But, what if God is not this kind of creator at all? Not a master puppeteer at all, but rather a loving Father? This type of Father would never coerce or rape the minds and hearts of His children. Instead, He continually encourages them, woos them, releases them, corrects them and patiently empowers them to grow IN grace THROUGH faith BY freedom TO love. Simply put, true love cannot exist without some measure of freedom to recognize it, receive it, relish it, return it or, sadly, even temporarily reject it.

I believe God gave us all enough freedom to discover and grow in love. The risk is that we can reject His saving love for this lifetime, and possibly even for unknown eons in a Hellish afterlife. But, personally, I don’t believe God would give us enough freedom to eternally destroy ourselves or anybody else, not FOREVER. This is why I believe Hell, while lasting thousands or millions of years for many, could still never eternally exist because that would mean some men could defeat the love of God forever. I don’t think anybody could do that. Jonah was in the belly of the whale for three days and thought it was forever. Hell from man’s perspective certainly seems eternal and hopeless. But with God, nothing is impossible. God is a rescuing hero who always leave the ninety-nine to save the one. Nels Ferre rightly said, “Heaven can’t be fully Heaven until it has emptied Hell.”

But, back to the topic at hand. When we misuse our freedom by neglecting or disbelieving the promptings of the Holy Spirit, it does quench and grieve the Holy Spirit away from fully manifesting in this earthly realm. Never in the Heavenly realm, but certainly here because this earth is the podium of our freedom. This is the anvil where our eternal yes to God’s love is to be forged. Anything less than a wholehearted yes to God is a half-hearted no. Half-heartedness IS our neglect of our so great a salvation.

So, when it comes to “ushering in” or “ushering out” God’s manifest presence, consider the following dynamics: drench or quench, believe or grieve, select or neglect. These terms describe the ebb and flow of God’s manifest presence. Remember, God’s omnipresence NEVER leaves or withdraws, but His manifest presence does wax and wane, according to faith of those influencing the situation. Like the tides of the ocean ebb and flow depending on the orbital posture of the moon, so does the MANIFEST presence of God rise or withdraw depending on the orbital posture of our hearts.

If the “posture” of our hearts are focused ON, centered IN and revolving AROUND the Holy Spirit’s immediate presence, then God will immediately MANIFEST to some or all of our senses. It is that simple. The manifestation, as said above, might be a supernatural fruit, a supernatural gift, a supernatural sign, a supernatural touch of comfort, a supernatural insight, or a supernatural encouragement. God will MANIFEST into our NOW. Unfortunately, the reverse is also true. If we posture our heart away from the Holy Spirit through neglect or unbelief, then the tide of His manifest presence recedes away from our senses.


So, let’s look again and reconsider our first example above. This Scripture is vital because it clearly highlights the ebb and flow of God’s manifest presence. 1 Corinthians 10:9 quoted earlier warns us to NOT treat Christ the same way that the Israelites did in Numbers 21:4-9. There, they both neglected and disbelieved the Lord’s goodness. They spoke against God and Moses, saying that they both had brought the Israelites out into the wilderness to die with no provision. Even though they had been amply provided supernatural manna from Heaven, the people now detested it and doubted God’s goodness to protect and keep them.

The result? Venomous snakes immediately invaded the camp and killed many. The people repented, Moses prayed for them and deliverance came. The Lord commanded that a bronze serpent be lifted up on a pole, that whoever then looked up at it would be healed. They obeyed and all who focused upon the serpent pole were healed. This bronze serpent prophetically symbolized the coming Christ, who would likewise be gloriously lifted up on the Cross for the healing of the world. “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:14-15.

Now, let’s look again at McReynolds’ interlinear translation of 1 Corinthians 10:9. “But not we might PRESSURE OUT the Christ, just as some of them PRESSURED and by the snakes were destroyed.” Interlinear translations can be a little awkward to our ear, but they often give us the gold of better understanding Scripture texts.

Do you see what this passage now describes? Their rampant neglect and disbelief toward God, combined with their fear toward their circumstances, all combined to do the following. THEY PRESSURED OUT THE PROTECTIVE PRESENCE OF CHRIST. This created a vacuum of vulnerability. Satan sent the snakes in to fill the vacuum with his wrathful destructions. God’s MANIFEST PRESENCE was grieved, quenched and pressured away UNTIL the people repented and Moses prayed. THEN, God’s MANIFEST PRESENCE was able to flow back at high tide and reestablish protection.

This so reveals how we wrongly blame God for not showing up when bad things happen. WE are the ones who misuse our freedom to quench God away, to grieve Him away, to pressure Him away. We then blame Him for not delivering us. We are responsible, “response able” in other words. All men, regardless of what they think or believe, have the ability to respond to the Holy Spirit on some level. When we fail to respond, through neglect or defiance, we diminish the MANIFEST presence of God. But, as we repent and believe, we un-dam the access which then allows the MANIFEST presence of God to rise as the tide. And as we know, a rising tide lifts all boats.

One final comment on this passage. The Numbers passage literally says God sent the snakes. We know better because of the topic discussed in the chapter THE FORGOTTEN KEY TO THE OLD TESTAMENT. Please read that chapter if you haven’t yet. It reminds us that the Old Testament believers thought that Satan was a faithful angel who always obeyed God’s instructions. SO, when they described Satan’s Old Testament destructions, they often used the term “Lord” because they thought God had expressly commanded Satan to do it. For them, “God’s wrath” was “Satan’s destruction.” God and Satan were on the same page, in other words. Not enemies, not opponents, not adversaries.

Rather, in the Old Testament mind, God and Satan were more like “good cop, bad cop,” which describes modern-day police partners who put on different facades in order to elicit confessions from crime suspects. One cop acts caring and protective to the suspect, while the other cop acts brutal and threatening. The suspect confesses so that the good cop will protect him from the wrath of the bad cop, but in truth both cops are working off each other totally, in full cooperation and unity of purpose.

Jesus came in the New Testament to reveal the truth that Satan is a rebel enemy of God and NOT a servant. Jesus came to destroy Satan’s works, not approve them. 1 John 3:8. Satan was the bringer of the snakes, not God. God is the bringer of salvation, protection and deliverance. Whenever we lift up our eyes up and away from our fearful circumstances to behold Jesus lifted up on the Cross, we open the floodgates of His MANIFEST presence to submerge our situation with His glory. But, when we keep our eyes, thoughts and affections on things below, we are hindering God’s MANIFEST PRESENCE from open showings and showerings of His goodness, power and love.

One last passage on this point. Jesus says in Luke 13:1-5 that all are equally vulnerable to Satanic attack if they neglect or disbelieve God. The people had wrongly thought that disasters killed certain Galileans and others because their sins were “worse” than other peoples. Jesus corrected them. None of the unrepentant are any less or more vulnerable than the others. There is no gradation of sin among those who are unrepentant. But, the key to this passage is often ignored. “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Luke 13:2-3. Do you see it? IF YOU REPENT OVER NEGLECT AND UNBELIEF, YOU WON’T “LIKEWISE PERISH” —– INSTEAD, YOU WILL BE PROTECTED. God’s presence will be ushered in to make Psalm 91 a daily reality.

Let’s go back to the “faith-tracing” concept discussed earlier. In the physical, all tracing takes is thin paper, a diligent eye and a ready pen applied with careful pressure. What is being traced is not at first clearly visible on the surface, but rather is submerged and must be discerned through penetrating focus. So too in the Spirit realm, we may not discern God’s omnipresent victory on the surface with our natural eyes, but faith focus can always discern His omnipresence, perhaps only dimly sometimes, but still always. When we apply pressure with our various “pens” —- our sharpened minds, our ready tongues, our devoted hearts and loving hands, THEN Heaven’s omnipresent victory starts to manifest on this earth —- today, here and now! This is “faith-tracing” Heaven’s omnipresence UNTO earthly manifest presence. But the tracing is in our hands, not God’s. He will even help us trace by steadying our hand and eye when we falter, but He won’t coerce us to “faith-trace.” The decision is always ours.

The point here is that OUR REPENTANCE, DILIGENCE AND FAITH YIELDS AND OPENS all our nearby floodgates to GOD’S MANIFEST PRESENCE. Repentance over past or current neglect. Diligence to keep the Lord always at our right hand as we enter into the Sabbath rest of His completed works. And faith to see Jesus lifted up and over every trial we face. We CAN hasten the day of the Lord, His glorious appearances and glorious works. Only believe, adding all diligence to our faith. No more blaming God or wondering why He didn’t show up. He is here —-always! He is available —- always! He is willing to manifest —–always! He hovers and hums His assurances over you 24/7. “I AM here to show myself mighty for you my child. Only believe and the Heavens will open NOW! I AM here for you, in you and beside you. I will never forsake you or abandon you. Don’t grieve my MANIFEST PRESENCE. Believe it! Don’t quench my MANIFEST PRESENCE. Drench in it! And don’t neglect my MANIFEST PRESENCE. Select it!”