A blessing or a curse?


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There is an Irish blessing, “May you be in Heaven half an hour before the Devil knows you’re dead.”

The apostle Paul was someone whom God blessed very much. Do you suppose he was in Heaven half an hour before the Devil realized he was dead?

Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.”

Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?”

And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.
Acts 19:13-16

This evil spirit had never encountered Paul personally but he knew who he was. And Satan certainly knew who Paul was. Paul said,

A thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.
2 Corinthians 12:7

Because of his preaching Paul was a constant thorn in Satan’s side. Giving Paul a thorn in his flesh was his way of paying him back. He didn’t realize that God would use that thorn for Paul’s good.

When Paul was executed I am certain that the news was immediately spread throughout the demonic realm. Satan knew at once that Paul was no longer on earth to oppose him.

From a Christian point of view the blessing is actually a curse. We are engaged in a war against the Devil’s forces and if we are fighting effectively the Devil will be aware of us. When we die he will realize it at once.

On the other hand it is likely that he doesn’t pay much attention to Christians who aren’t serving God faithfully. What this “blessing” is really saying is, “May you live such an ineffective life that when you die it will be half an hour before the Devil even notices that you are gone.”