When I was in Seminary they never taught us anything about demons or how to get rid of them. I was unprepared for ministry without such training. So when I got to Cambodia I only had one instruction manual. The Bible. It is full of stories from beginning to end involving demons. Yet, experience turns out to be a pretty good teacher as well.
Just a few days before Christmas we had a demonic encounter through one of the children at the center. And no, he didn’t have a temper-tantrum! It happened one day when one of the boys (I’ll call him Kosal) was playing soccer. It was an ordinary soccer game, but he did slip and have a little fall. After the game he went to clean up and get a drink of water at the kitchen.
All of a sudden, he collapsed on the ground and had convulsions similar to a seizure. So, naturally the staff there assumed he was having a seizure. However, it kept going and going and going. There is no medical care in North Western Cambodia, so when we have a medical need we only have one thing to do. . . pray.
As they prayed, they realized something was different. Another voice, not Kosal’s voice, was speaking to them. Instantly they knew what he had: a demonic attack. You see epilepsy or convulsions don’t come with a coherent separate voice! Everyone went right to work praying more intensely and calling on the name and blood of Jesus to cast out those demons. One by one they left. Three in all.
As the last one was leaving, he was very angry. He said they could not cast him out.
Intermission: I know what you are thinking; so how did a boy get demon possessed? First of all, lets call it “demonized” (influenced by demons). I find it helpful to think of demons in terms of strongholds in a person’s life. Yes, they are beings, but it is hard for us to imagine how other beings can live inside of a person. We know that Satan’s main goal is to keep control of the earth and fight against God. In Cambodia, most children are dedicated to various “spirits” (i.e. demons) at birth to “protect them”. The door is open at infancy. Regular sacrifices to demons, idol worship and general ungodliness open plenty of doors for the devil to have significant strongholds.
In Ephesians 4, Paul is talking about holiness and avoiding sin. In the context of that he says, “do not give the devil a foothold” (Ephesians 4:27). Paul is talking to believers, not non-believers. He is talking to the church at Ephesus. The devil is always looking to find ways to gain a foothold in people’s lives. That is how a demon can affect a young boy and a Christian young boy at that.
Back to the story. When the final demon was leaving he threatened everyone and said, “If you cast me out I am going to come back and get revenge!” I know everyone is supposed to be tough, but those words from a demon will make you think. We know it is possible.
Jesus said, “43 “When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first” (Matthew 12:43-45).
So, when we heard that the demon wanted revenge we knew we had to get the defense in place to protect Kosal.
Our defense to stop the demon from getting revenge was pretty simple, just more prayer and seeking God.
A few days later on Christmas day, the demon tried to get revenge. During the middle of our Christmas program the demon came back. . . in the form of a snake. Specifically, a bamboo viper.
After our fireworks and all the kids were dancing around praising the Lord when a shout went out, “snake, snake, snake”. Kosal had been bit. . . right in the kitchen! Almost at the same place the demons first manifested. The Bamboo Viper is known for its powerful venom. The strength of its hemotoxic venom gives it a common nickname of a “two-stepper” meaning the person has two steps to live.
Instantly, we knew want to do. We all prayed. We had more than 130 believers on fire for Christ at that scene and we all broke into groups for prayer. I had instant faith in my heart that Kosal would be fine. We took him to a “hospital” (which had no medicine) and his leg did swell up, but a few days later he was playing soccer again with no problems.
And that demon?