The Shame Lord
The bad guy in the Bible is given a number of names. Sometimes he is called the devil, other times he is called Beelzebul. But the name that has struck me recently is Satan. Satan is the greek version of the hebrew word, wait for it, Satan.
The name Satan means accuser. The idea of the word is that the devil is a persistent prosecuting attorney who stands before God pointing out each of our flaws and sins. We see this portrait vividly in Zechariah 3:
Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him.
He is our great accuser. I have heard this before, and you probably have too. What I have been thinking about more is who is listening to him. Immediately after Joshua is accused by Satan, the Lord rebukes him:
And the LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, O Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?”
The Lord rebukes the accuser for bringing a charge against one of God’s chosen ones. He will not allow it. David points out this same idea in Psalm 32:2 (which Paul quotes in Romans 4):
Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
For those of us who are in Christ, God simply will not listen to the accusations against us. He turns a deaf ear. Satan accuses us of crimes for which the sentence has already been served; he charges us with sins that have already been atoned for.
So who is listening to this wild accuser?
Unfortunately, us. While God will not listen to Satan we do. We listen to his whispers of our inadequacy. We listen to the song of our shame. When you here a voice telling you that you are worthless because of your sin, it is not the voice of your Father, it is the voice of the Shame Lord. G.H. Twelftree points out that the role of the satan is to drive a wedge between God and the accused. God won’t hear it, so he whispers to us.
He is the bringer of shame. But take hope Christian; if you are in Christ, the Lord will not count your sins against you.
When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt [and shame] within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Made an end of all my sin.
– Before the Throne of God