You have heard of the hound of heaven. This is the Spirit of God who tracks a man down and never quits on him. He never gives up until He finds him. What I want to talk about now is the hunter of hell, who hunts down the most precious children of God to seek and destroy them. That is the Devil himself.
At one time his name was Lucifer, and he was a chosen, powerful ruler with God. This Morning Star, as Isaiah called him, was a bright star in God's firmament, a mighty angel, highly arrayed and chosen. But he became lifted up with pride.
The Bible says, "Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." Before Lucifer was cast down from his high place, he went throughout God's kingdom and hunted down a third of God's angels. Those he captured through pride or deceit were cast out of heaven with him. Don't think for a minute he hunted down and deceived the least among them. I believe the majority of them were just as himself — chosen, like the Morning Stars. He hunted down to deceive the most talented, the most useful of these flaming, fiery ministers of the Lord.
"How hath thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning. Thy pomp is brought down to the grave…" (Isaiah 14:12).
Lucifer became known as Belial, or Satan. In the Old Testament Satan became a type of an adulteress. He was then and is now a seductress, seducing people into sin and slavery.
Recently, the Spirit of the Lord directed me to Proverbs 6:26:
The adulteress — Satan — will hunt for the precious life! In other words, he goes after those who are the most beloved, the most valuable to God. He hunts down the good children, the innocent ones, the most important to the kingdom of God.
That is why sexual perverts who have been given over to their sins go after innocent children. It is Satan working in them to hunt down and destroy the precious lives.
Why are so many innocent Christian girls being seduced by the most wicked, vile gangster types? It is because the devil himself is hunting the precious ones. Satan leads an army of demonic hunters, who go about seeking the most precious of lives, to seduce, trap, and enslave.
The word "precious" means "valuable, beloved, highly esteemed. The dearest to the heart. Those most highly regarded because of a spiritual or moral quality."
Satan comes as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. And he seeks most of all to devour the precious ones. I sat in a room in Spanish Harlem and wept as I watched five teenage deaf and dumb mutes stick dirty needles in their veins. They were drug addicts — mainliners. I was waiting for a chance to witness to them, and they forgot I was in the room. As I watched, I thought, "They don't have enough problems? They can't hear; they can't speak. They share this inner hurt, and look at them!" They were like animals! Yet God has a special love for this kind. These deaf and dumb mutes were God's special ones, and Satan had gone after them and deceived them! They had been trapped and made slaves by the adulteress.
I remember two small children, a boy and a girl perhaps four and five years old, sitting in a dilapidated third story tenement in Brooklyn. I had gone there to pick up a junkie who had been saved, to take him into the program. The mother was a prostitute, out hustling on the streets. The father was a drug addict, in jail. Jose and I were about to leave when I looked back at those two frightened children sitting alone on the couch. I said, "Jose, your mother is out on the streets; your dad's in jail. If we leave, who is going to take care of your brother and sister?" He nodded toward a stale carton of milk and some Oreo cookies on the table, and said, "Oh, there's food. They take care of themselves." I couldn't leave! Just about that time the mother returned. She wouldn't let us take those children because she needed them to continue receiving welfare checks, so she could get drugs! As we left, I looked back at those two precious lives and thought, "Oh, God, those are the precious ones that Satan is after!" I can't tell you how my heart was grieved!
An Assembly of God minister from Brooklyn brought his two teenage sons to my office — 15 and 16 years old. They sat across from my desk. This minister put his head on my desk and began to weep. "Brother Dave," he said, "I've read your book, The Cross and the Switchblade; I've preached from it. I've gone to prison to stand up for the children of parents in my congregation. And if you had told me I would discover what I found out yesterday, I'd never have believed it! The sergeant called me down to our precinct. He had my sons in custody. He rolled their sleeves up and showed me their arms. `Don't you know your boys are mainliners?', he asked. We had noticed their grades were failing, and their eyes were often glassy, but I never dreamed it could be drugs. I couldn't believe it could happen in my own home!"
I watched that father kneel down and put his hands on his sons. "Boys," he begged, "if you've got any love left at all for me or your mother, please let Brother Dave give you a bed. Please come into Teen Challenge and get your life changed! Please! I can't take it anymore!" They just looked at him with a stony glare, hard as nails. The father fell prostrate on the floor, overtaken by his remorse. I saw those sons get up, walk over their dad — laugh at him — and go out the door.
I could not console that pastor. He got up, shook his head and walked out the door. All these years I've thought of those two precious preacher's sons — how Satan came after them. Two precious live that the adulteress came to hunt down. What did Satan see in those two children that so frightened him — forcing him to throw all the powers of hell against them?
A reporter once asked, "Mr. Wilkerson, what's the worst thing that's ever happened to you? The worst experience you've ever had?" I always think of the following encounter. I had just dismissed a service in a big gymnasium and was about to walk off the stage when a teenage girl came forward, leading a young man who was evidently blind. He was about 6'2"; skin and bones. His hair was falling out; his eyes and cheeks were sunken. I thought he had terminal cancer. It looked as though he had gone through chemotherapy. They stood before me, hand in hand, and she said, "This is my boyfriend, Jimmy. He's seventeen." Then she told a pitiful story of how he had been a healthy, robust football player on his high school team. Not the rowdy kind. He was one of the good boys in the school and in the church. He just happened to go to a party where most were dropping acid and crank, and blowing pot. They urged him to try it, and out of curiosity and peer pressure, he sucked a tab of acid. Someone had added strychnine. He spun out into a horrible crash period and had to be rushed to the hospital. The young lady told me, in fact, that he had just been released from the hospital two days ago. His mind was still shattered, his sight gone.
She said, "He read your book, The Cross and the Switchblade, in English class months ago. I've brought him to you because I still love him. I want him back!" I looked at that bombed out creature, and I got mad at the devil. I went behind the curtain and had a cry, then I came back and prayed with that boy. "Oh, God, deliver him!" I prayed earnestly but when I opened my eyes, I realized he wasn't hearing a word I said. He was gone, absolutely gone!
I don't know what ever happened to this young man, but I believe with all my heart in the healing power of God. The best I could do was to introduce him to a pastor friend of mine and a group of young people who adopted him. I knew he would be bathed in prayer. I have a feeling that one day I'm going to meet him, and he's going to be in his right mind. I will never forget Jimmy — that good, choice young man whom Satan went after to deceive and destroy.
How true, the adulteress hunts down the precious life. Multitudes of innocent, clean young people are hunted down by Satanic forces, seduced into drugs and alcohol — with the sole purpose of bringing to shame and ruin, the most beloved, precious of God's children.
Recently the Holy Spirit has been guiding me into a healing truth. He has been leading me into a ministry of reconciliation and restoration, showing people that God is not to be dreaded like some kind of ruthless judge. Instead, He is longing for the love and friendship of all His children who have gone astray.
At one time they were innocent children, full of the gift of life. Jesus said of children, "…of such is the kingdom of God." Satan begins hunting and seeking the most precious among the children to deceive, wound, and turn them away from God into the slavery of sin. He goes after the precious life!
In a recent crusade, a young man about 25 years of age confessed he was a witch and wanted to receive Christ into his life. "Why," I asked him, "would a witch want Christ?" He then told the audience of a nightmare he had experienced the night before. Demons were coming toward him, dressed in grayish, ghoulish clothes. Frightened, he called out the name, "Jesus!" They shrank back. Again they rallied forces to possess his body. Louder than before, he cried out the name of "Jesus!" They all fled. What a glorious sight, to witness the conversion of this young witch. Jesus drove away the devil and all his imps.
Did Satan come against this boy and try to possess him because he was inherently bad, because he had an evil seed in him? Was it because of the sins of his parents? Was he predestined to be a child of Satan? What was there that attracted the devil to this particular young man, that made him come against him with all of his demonic forces and try to destroy his mind? This young man at an early age was such a precious soul with so much potential to do something for the kingdom of God, that Satan came after him! The adulteress, Satan, hunted him down and led him into deception, because as a child he would take his Bible out into the open fields — calling on God to let him preach the Gospel.
Nicky Cruz, former Mau Mau gang leader, was born into a house of witchcraft. His mother was involved in the occult. Nicky was one of 17 children and when he was just a child, he overheard his mother say that he was an unwanted child. Nicky wound up on the streets of New York, full of hate and deceived by Satan. The newspapers once described Nicky as a lost kid with the "heart of a killer". Before I met him, he had already stabbed a number of people.
Now let me ask you a question. Was it because he was an evil seed that he wound up on the streets with a killer's heart? The first time I met him, he spit in my eye and said, "Go to hell!" He was so full of bitterness, hate, and anger. I thought he was the last one in the world who would be saved in New York.
What was there about Nicky that the devil went after? There must have been something at an early age! Was it because Nicky, after hearing his mother say he was unwanted, went into a room and cried to God, and God heard his cry? God saw the potential of a flaming evangelist who could shake the kingdom of the devil. And the devil saw it too! So he went after that precious life!
Moms and Dads with wayward or ungodly children living in sin, what terrible kinds of trauma Satan would like to put you through! Trying to tell you that somewhere in your family tree there was an evil seed that finally came out in one or two of your children. Have you ever asked, "Why did it have to be my children?"
A couple came into my office, crying so hard they couldn't even talk to me. When they had calmed down, they told me a heartbreaking story. Two weeks earlier they had discovered that their son, who was studying to be a schoolteacher, was a homosexual. In their despair and brokenness, they decided to share the family's problem with their daughter. When she had heard them out, she replied, "Well, as long as he's told you the truth, I might as well, too. I'm a Lesbian." Now they sat before me, broken and weeping.
That's why I have such love for homosexuals and Lesbians, and all who are bound by Satan. Because somewhere behind all that, there are mothers and fathers weeping, condemning themselves. Asking, "Where did we go wrong?"
I want to share what the Holy Spirit gave to me in answer to this dilemma. Is it the parents' fault? Was there a latent seed of evil that just came out of them all of a sudden? Not always. Let me give you the glorious news of Jesus Christ — that child was precious! A precious one beloved in the sight of God. And whether you know it or not, dear parent, that child is still beloved by God because He doesn't give up once He says, "I see the potential!" He won't give up until that child totally turns Him away. He will keep corning and coming and coming. That's why it's so important to hold on, to keep praying. They're still precious in the sight of God, no matter where they are or what they've done. The adulteress, Satan, came to deceive your child who is so precious in the sight of God. If they had not been so precious, why would Satan go after them with such demonic fury?
Those of you caught in sin, have you ever wondered why of all people you're like you are? If you are into drugs, have you ever wondered, "Why me? What did I do that I had to end up a drug addict?" Are you drinking and can't lay it down? Are you a homosexual or a Lesbian? The devil will come at you with his lies. He'll say, "You had to be evil when you were a child!" He tells the homosexual, "You were born this way! You couldn't help yourself. You were destined to be like this. You are a freak! You are no good! Worthless!"
But these are all lies! The truth is, you were hunted down by Satan because your life was precious. You were a chosen vessel, dearly loved of the Lord. He saw your potential, and He sees it even now.
Here is a powerful word from the Lord:
If this is true, then you and I should be looking at the lost through the eyes of Jesus. When you see somebody staggering down the street, know that the main reason Satan went after them is because of their potential. It was a precious life, and the devil set out to deceive and try to destroy it. Satan knows if they ever come into God's kingdom, they have great potential for God! God sees you not for what you've become but for what He knows you can be, by His grace. God has made it clear to me that there are sinners who need to hear this message. They need to know they can stand up and say with confidence, "The only reason the devil has come down on me so hard is because he saw something in me that scared him. He wanted me only because I was a precious jewel in God's crown. And I'll not be deceived anymore!"
The Bible says, "Whom the Lord loveth, he chasteneth…" You can add to that, "Whom the Lord loveth, Satan hunts down!" We're not to think when we're tempted that some strange thing has happened to us. It's not strange at all. There's a reason for it.
Think of Joseph. What a godly, moral man. The Bible says of him, "The Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man, and the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand. And Joseph found grace in the eyes of the Lord…the blessing of the Lord was upon everything he did…" (Genesis 39:2–5).
And you no sooner read that, than your eyes fall on the following verse:
"And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph, and said, 'Lie with me'…" (verse 7).
Why Joseph? There were many men in this household. She could have had any man she wanted. When Joseph fled her grasp, she called for "the men of the house" (verse 14). But there was only one she was after, the most precious one of all — Joseph. The adulteress wanted only the precious life!
Christian, Satan will throw the most severe temptations at you at the very peak of your usefulness to God. One minute you will be calling on God in righteousness, holiness, and hunger, and then suddenly you are cast into dire temptation. Is it because you've grown cold of heart? Or developed an evil streak? Are you backslidden? Not always, though sometimes this is the cause. Often, it is because Satan, the adulteress, comes after the precious one! And the worst thing that can happen is for you to think when this occurs, that you are less holy, less anointed, less beloved or valuable to the kingdom of God. Can't you see that Satan is simply going after the choicest of God's servants?
It is true that we are drawn away by our own lusts, and enticed — but it is Satan who fans those flames with bewitching image. The godliest, most precious of God's people will testify to the crushing temptations and trials thrown at them during their most intense spiritual times. Oh, how the adulteress hunts down the godly, precious life!
Consider Job. Why was this man tempted as no other man in his generation? Because his holiness attracted the enemy! Not because he had sin in his life or because he was leaning toward the world. Job was put into a fiery furnace of trial simply because he was such an example of a precious, godly life — and Satan could not be satisfied until he had a chance to go after him.
Think of God's only beloved Son, the most precious One of all. He comes out of the baptismal waters, the Holy Spirit descends like a dove, and God says, "This is my beloved Son. This is the most precious One from the foundation of the earth." And what happens immediately? He is led into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil! Satan came after the most precious life!
Through Jeremiah, God said to the Israelites, "You've backslidden! You've turned your heart against me. But I've written you in the palm of my hand! You're still precious to me!" God was grieved by their sins, but as His children they were still deeply loved.
It's the advice I've given to my four children:
"For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth…" (Psalm 72:12).
I've told my children, "When you're in need, when you're hurting, just call me. I'll be there! I don't care where I am, I'll come!" I'm just an earthly father. How much more the heavenly Father cares!
The Word of God says, "…he shall deliver…the poor also, and him that is helpless. He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy. He shall redeem their soul from deceit of the devil and from violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight" (Psalm 72:12–14).
God says, "All you who are poor, all you who are needy, who seem helpless — the enemy has been attacking. You have fallen into his trap! Don't you know your very blood is precious to Me! All you have to do is cry out, and I will deliver you from the trap of Satan!"
David said, "This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and delivered him…" (Psalm 34:6).
You don't have to know a lot of religious terms, or know theology, or much about the Bible. That can come later. The one thing you must know is that no matter what you've done, how wicked you may have been, or the ugly things you have committed, you always have been and always will be precious in His eyes. Christ said, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If any man open the door, I will come in…" (Rev. 3:20).
Why is He standing? Why is He knocking? Because it's a precious life, and He won't let go. He doesn't come to push anyone around, but time and time again He'll come and speak to your heart. "Call on me now in your need;' He whispers. There are so many who are precious in His sight. If you are a sinner, you may have been in churches where people condemned you and put you down, made you feel dirty and unclean. But all they did was judge you by what you look like on the outside. God doesn't do that. He sees your potential. What He could do in your life, what a life of fragrance you could be. He'll give you joy and beauty in place of the dirt and filth and ashes. He'll set you free.
I am reminded of Israel, one of the characters in my book. He went back to his gang and was caught with another young man who shot a boy through the head. Israel was given eight–to–ten years as an accessory to murder. All those years he was in prison, I wept and prayed for him. When he got out of jail, Nicky found him and prayed with him. And Israel said, "Nicky, I remember the day I knelt with Brother Dave. I can't get away from the Holy Ghost. God called me back then, and I know He still loves me!" Right now Israel is preaching, just like Nicky. He is another precious soul delivered from the snare of the devil. I believe that before Jesus comes, those traps are going to open all over the world. God is going to show people that they are loved by Him — precious in His sight.
I read the testimony of a young man who was a drag queen. He had had a sex change from a man to a woman, but he got saved. And when he did, he went back to being a man. God gave him back his masculinity. A few years ago if you had seen him, you would have said, "There is a son of the devil for life and eternity!" But somewhere inside that heart God saw something. There was a precious life hidden there. Now that man is preaching the gospel.
There are so many precious souls God wants to save. All it takes is admitting, "I've become a wicked, evil person. I've been deceived by the devil. Yet deep in my Heart I know what you have been saying is true. I'm not really filthy, ugly, hateful. That's not the real me, because there are times when I know I could be a new person." That's the Lord trying to show you how precious you are in His sight.
You repent the moment you ask God to make you hate your sins. He will respond, the very moment you take a step of faith. The Spirit of God Himself will come upon you, releasing your will from the power of evil. It is faith alone that saves and keeps anyone from the power of sin and Satan.
Don't believe the devil's lie that you are too far gone, too sinful — to be a child of God. You must — right now — accept the fact that Satan wants to keep you in slavery and hardness because you are such a "big fish". In other words — really precious to God.
You can be free — right this moment! In your heart, cry out to God! Believe God's Word when it promises He will pour faith into you if you ask Him to. Then the real you — the godly you — the precious, regenerated you — will be set free!
You are precious to God — don't forget it!