I am fascinated by the fact that Satan is called the “lord of the flies” (“Baal-zebub”). We first come across this dubious title in 2 Kings 1, where Israel’s King Ahaziah sends messengers to Philistia to inquire of Baal-zebub as to whether he will recover from a serious injury. The ridiculousness of an Israelite king seeking help and guidance from his enemy nation’s inferior god is expressed in the prophet Elijah’s sardonic question as he encounters the messengers along the road: “Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are going to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron?”
I believe the ridicule is purposefully emphasized by the author in his mention of the nature of Ahaziah’s injury: This is no wound of war but the ignominious result of falling through the lattice of his upstairs window. Everything about the scene lacks in glory.
In the New Testament, Jesus calls the ruler of the demon world “Beelzebub”: “… if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out?”
We know from Scripture that there is an invisible spiritual realm around us teeming with angels and demons. We even mention the fact in one of our favorite hymns, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” by Martin Luther: “And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us, we will not fear, for God has willed his truth to triumph through us.”
Here are just a few demon citings I jotted in the fly pages (no pun intended) of my Bible: Deuteronomy 32:17; 2 Chronicles 11:15; Zechariah 13:2; Mark 4:15; 2 Corinthians 6:15. We are told that Satan prowls around like a lion looking for someone vulnerable (1 Peter 5:8), that he bides his time for opportune moments (Luke 4:13), that he puts thoughts into our heads (John 13:2), that he gains full entry into those who have offered him a foothold (John 13:27), that he may enter a person to cause disease and can be evicted by prayer (Mark 9:29), that he lays traps to trick us into doing his will (2 Timothy 2:26), that his suggestions to us must be firmly resisted (James 4:7) and how we are to resist them (Ephesians 6:10-20).
Birds and planes (and angels?) are airborne on wings shaped in such a way as to create lower pressure above the wings, to create graceful lift. Not so with flies: Their wings are constantly flapping, 200 times a second, attached to their bodies in such a way as to create a ceaseless buzzing. Most disturbing is the way they fly: jerky and frenetic darting, almost insane in their random trajectories.
Behold your “prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). Behold the one who boasted of his authority over all the kingdoms of the world (Luke 4:5-7). Why, he is nothing but a swarming agitation on a dung pile. And one day he and his proxies “the Lord Jesus will kill by the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming” (2 Thessalonians 2:8).