Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.
— 1 Thessalonians 2:18

Have you ever pursued something that you believed was God’s will, yet obstacles seemed to keep you from doing what you thought you were supposed to do? If you have, don’t feel alone, because many people have been in that same position! Even the apostle Paul felt this way from time to time! But what should you do in times like these?

Today I want you to particularly notice the word “hindered” in the verse above. It comes from the Greek word egkopto, an old word that was originally used to describe a road so deteriorated and broken up that it was impassable.

Have you ever driven down a road on your way to your destination, only to discover that the road you’re driving on is too full of ruts and holes to continue your journey? As a result, you have to turn around, go back, and find another route to get where you are going. Well, that is exactly the image the word egkopto portrays to us!

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bookmark2Paul uses this word to describe hindering forces that kept him from going to see the Thessalonians. There is no doubt that this means Paul was on his way to see them — not once, he says, but twice. But the journey became so filled with danger and unexpected bumps that Paul had to turn around, go back, and rethink his strategy on how he was going to get to the church at Thessalonica. Can you think of a time when you encountered something like this in your own journey?

But the word egkopto means even more than this! It was also used in Greek times in an athletic sense. It was used to portray the moment when a runner comes alongside another runner and literally elbows him out of the race. Although the second runner was running a good race, he is shoved out of the way by the aggression of his fellow runner. As a result of this action, the runner who was elbowed loses the leading edge he previously held.

This categorically means that Paul understood Satan’s tactics. The enemy had tried to make use of dangerous and unexpected bumps along the way to throw Paul off track and to elbow him out of his spiritual race. In fact, Paul was convinced that Satan had specifically engineered these unforeseen and unanticipated hassles to keep him from getting to the Thessalonian church.

When these two ideas are combined together, the primary idea of the word “hindered” becomes that of an impasse so severe that it prohibits you from going where you need to go or an aggressor who unkindly elbows you off course in your spiritual race.

Paul is actually saying:

“…Satan created an impasse that kept me from coming to see you.”
“…Satan put obstructions in my path to prevent me from getting to you.”
“…Satan cut in on me and prohibited me from visiting you as I wanted to do.”
“…Satan tried to elbow his way in on me to keep me from coming to see you.”

When something happens that seems to prohibit you from doing the will of God, remember that you are not the first to encounter such difficulties. Others have been in the same quandary. In time, however, the devil’s attack ceased, and the way for them to move ahead became clear. In the same way, you can be sure that God is going to empower you and give you the wisdom you need to get where you need to go!

Don’t despair — the story isn’t over yet! Don’t throw in the towel and give in just because you’ve hit some kind of impasse. The devil has never had the last word on anything, and he isn’t going to have the last word on this situation either. Regardless of what the devil has tried to do, it’s time for you to remember that what God promised SHALL come to pass as you hold fast to your faith in Him!

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My Prayer for Today

Lord, I’ve run into an impasse, and I don’t know how to get past it by myself. I have done everything I know to do, but the problem continues to persist in my life. Today I am asking You for the strength I need to keep pushing forward and to overcome the obstacles that Satan has set in my path. I know that greater is He who is in me than he that is in the world, so today I fervently ask that the power of God residing within me be released to overcome each attack the devil has tried to bring against me.

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

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My Confession for Today

I know I am not the first to encounter difficulties. Therefore, I confess that with God’s help, the devil’s attack will cease and the way for me to move ahead will become clear. God is going to give me the exact wisdom I need to get where I need to go! I am not going to give in just because I’ve hit some kind of impasse. The devil has never had the last word on anything, and he isn’t going to have the last word on this situation either! 

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

sparking gems from the greek

Questions to Answer

1.  Can you think of times in your life when you’ve experienced impasses that eventually moved out of the way?

2.  What actions did you take that caused those devilish assaults and roadblocks to dissipate?

3.  Have you asked the Holy Spirit to show you the real root cause of any current impasse you’re facing, as well as the steps you can take to close the door to the devil and reverse your situation?