Magpies And Demons
Magpies And Demons
As I write this, we have just entered magpie season, the two month part of the year when some male magpies get very protective of their newly hatched offspring and attack anything that they deem a threat.
The Australian magpie is a very intelligent, and usually friendly bird. In exchange for food, they will usually come quite close to people. They have a melodious warbling sound that seems to a sophisticated form of communication amongst the local birds.
In late winter and spring, however, about 10% of males become very aggressive. They swoop from behind, often coming very close indeed to the victim’s head. Usually they make a warning warble and clack their beak. Sometimes they dispense with the warning and attack silently from the rear. They rarely make actual contact. With small children they sometimes stand in front of the child and then leap from the ground at the child’s face.
For some reason, cyclists can be at particular risk of attack. At the back of my home there are some football fields. The magpie that patrolled that particular area, whom we nicknamed “Nut job” because he was particularly nasty, was fine with hundreds of people on the oval, but if anyone dared to ride a bike through the crowd they were targeted. On the other hand, when you are wearing a helmet, they can’t cause too much of an injury.
In our area, the season usually starts around August 1st. Some years it can be as early as July 25th, but this year we had a late start, with the first swoop that I experienced happening on August 9th. While the so-called experts claim that magpies only swoop for 6 weeks,the real period is more like 10 weeks. If you have different birds starting and finishing the season later then it is really the end of October before we start to feel safe again.
Magpies are a little disconcerting, but mostly harmless. You get ready for the attacks and stoically endure them.
On the other hand, there is another swooping creature that we often don’t even see, even though they surround us all the time. Demons are the literal army of the devil. They inflict people with temptation, sickness, mental illness, curses and much more. They are generally considered to be so-called “fallen angels”, that is angels who chose to join in Lucifer’s rebellion against the Lord.
They have afflicted humanity since the beginning of time, and will until the end of this age.
There are hierarchies of demons, in the same way that any army has its different ranks and officers. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:11-12
Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Christians need to be aware that we are fighting in this spiritual battle. The atmosphere is full of creatures who have assignments to torment individuals and those which are assigned to geographical, political and cultural regions.
God has given us the appropriate PPE, Personal Protective Equipment, to keep us safe from all demonic attacks. Again Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:13-17
Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,
The key to standing firm is to recognise the battle that we are waging and to resist satan’s carmies with these weapons.
In the end, we are assured of total victory. Satan, for all his bluster is not equal to God. He is a created being just as you and I are, and in Christ we already have the victory. Hallelujah!
When you are tempted to feel overwhelmed by the battle remember this:
Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4
The Holy Spirit is in you and is greater than the spirit in the world which is satan. Take courage, and stand firm. Demons are like magpies, a little scary until you realise that the power of God in you is far greater than theirs.