Today's thought: A prowling lion...
"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8
More than 1,000 people in southern Tanzania, Africa were attacked by lionsbetween 1988 and 2009. Over two-thirds of the attacks were fatal, with the lions eating the victims. When Peter uses this imagery of a lion he does so because being attacked and devoured by a lion would produce in his readers the type of terror that is appropriate in considering our enemy.
Many people are flippant when it comes to talking about our enemy. We picture him as a little red cartoon character with horns and a tale. The reality couldn't be further from the truth. In Jude 1:9 it says,"But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, "The Lord rebuke you!" This is telling of the power of this devil, our enemy. Michael is the highest angel in all the heavens and yet he dares not confront this devil. Not only is the devil incredibly powerful but as a lion he is stealthy. Satan won't come at you as himself, as the evil he is, but will camouflage himself as good, as light, as truth. As Paul says, "And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light" (2 Corinthians 11:12).
Peter wants us to not underestimate our enemy so he compares him to the most lethal predator on the planet. There are facts about this predator that Peter's readers would know, from experience, that we may not know. First is the fact that lions attack mainly in the dark. During daylight the prey will see the lion coming and they will evade him. Therefore, lions prefer the darkest dark to hunt. Those darkest hours are before dawn. Often right around 3am. A recent study found that lion attacks during the full moon were markedly less than the attacks when the moon was in wane or the wet season when the clouds covered the moon. In the darkest dark the lion would approach its prey quietly and stealthily. The prey would never know it was coming. When the lion had slunk close enough to his pray to catch it he would roar. His roar attack is meant to freeze the prey in fear and terror. Then the lion walks up to its paralyzed prey and sinks its teeth into the jugular vein. The lion then devours its prey.
This is telling. It is light that is the greatest safety factor for avoiding a lion attack. The idea of light and dark is very rich in Scriptures. Light is related to understanding, purity, righteousness, the scriptures and Jesus. Psalm 119:105 says, "Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path." To avoid the devil start by bringing the light of God's word to your daily life. Next, Peter's advice against the devil is, "Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believerss throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings" (1 Peter 5:9). To resist him is to not go along with him. His philosophies and tactics are attractive but resist. He will devour you. Standing firm in the faith is, in essence, holding to the truth about, and from, Jesus Christ despite external pressure. Paul has the same concern for us when he says in 2 Corinthians 11:2-3, "I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ." Standing firm in the faith is maintaining a "pure devotion to Christ" in the midst of trials, tribulations and persecutions.
When we feel weak, when attack is immanent, we remember two things. First, we are not alone. Peter says, "that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings." If they resisted the devil so can you. Secondly, that the Lion at our back is stronger, greater and more powerful than the lion at our front. John, in his revelation, was told, "Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals" (Revelation 5:5). The Lion at our back, Jesus, has already won the victory over the lion at our front, Satan, on the cross. It is not by our strength we defeat him but by our faith. "...for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith" (1 John 5:4). So, with faith in hand, resist this prowling lion, the devil, and he will flee from you, for the One who is with us is greater than he who is in the world.
PRAYER: Jesus, You are the source of victory over the devil who seeks to destroy us. It is our faith that resists that devil and by our faith we have victory through Your blood. We claim that victory today by Your grace and in Your name, Jesus, Amen!
Today's thought: A prowling lion...