I am preaching on Luke 10:17-24. In this passage, the seventy-two disciples return from proclaiming the coming kingdom. As they rejoice that the demonic realm retreated before them, Jesus confirms that their ministry has been effective in fighting the enemy:
And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you.” (Lk 10:18-19)But despite the success of their ministry over the demonic realm, Jesus offers these words of caution:
“Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” (Lk 10:20)Jesus’ point is that there is something of far greater importance than a successful endeavor—even a spiritually successful endeavor. The source of the disciples’ joy should not be in their accomplishment but rather in the fact that a sovereign God had been mindful of them and saved them.
I think there is a sense in which it is appropriate to rejoice that the wickedness pursued by bin Laden has been thwarted by our government. God bestowed the authority to wield the sword and our government wielded it effectively this past Sunday.
At the same time, we must be careful that our joy is not in the demise of the wicked but rather the triumph of righteousness. Our prayer is that our government—and we ourselves—would prove to be an instrument of good and not wickedness. May God grant us hearts that are aflame with a desire for Him to be glorified in us and in the world.