“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” I Peter 5:8 (ESV)
A roaring lion. What is it about a roaring lion that God would liken our enemy the devil to one? The roaring lion is the old guy of the pride – you know, the one whose teeth are mostly fallen out and whose claws are dull and broken. The roaring lion is the set-up guy. His purpose and tactics are to cause you fear and worry and doubt. He wants you to run; he stands between you and the shelter God provides when you choose to run to Him. The roaring lion wants you to run away, run toward the real hazard – the young lions with their razor-sharp teeth and dagger-like claws, the ones who truly can take you down and maim and devour you. But they wait with anticipation and remain silent, taking care not to alert you to the real danger.
Have you ever considered what this scenario might look like in real life? Are you, perchance, like me? Do you like to learn life lessons by observing life around you? This is one of my favorite ways to learn – it is much less painful than making the same mistakes myself.
We had one such “life lesson” a while back. I was working in the kitchen and had just fed Granger his dinner. I walked into the dining room to get something out of the pie safe, and all of a sudden I heard his frightened yelping, crashing and clanging – this was major distress from our littlest “baby.” So of course I went running back into the kitchen to see what had happened – with Mandy (our 80 pound Poo-tweiler) right on my heels. Granger was running across the kitchen at top speed with his wrought-iron food tray dragging and bouncing on the floor beside him; he was wide-eyed and yelping all the way. When he saw Mandy right behind me running at him and barking at the top of her lungs (she definitely has a fearsome bark even when she’s playing) he became even more terrified. Being chased by the loud, attacking food tray or being eaten by the enormous black Mandy – which one should he choose?
I was trying to get Granger to calm down and stop running and ordering Mandy out of the kitchen at the same time because, even though she only wanted to help protect her new little friend, her size and loud bark were not helping the situation. My son David, hearing all the commotion, came running into the kitchen, and not understanding what was happening and hearing me yell at Mandy to get out, he thought Mandy had somehow hurt the puppy and grabbed her by the collar and started scolding her. I was torn, but knew that Granger needed rescuing and calming from the “evil” food tray before we could sort anything else out. I’m sure he was certain the world was out to get him, and probably wondered why he had been taken from the security of his siblings and home and brought to this unbelievably scary place.
“With words of hatred they surround me; they attack me without cause. In return for my friendship they accuse me, but I am a man of prayer.” Psalm 109:3-4 (ESV)
Often in the midst of the unfamiliar and harsh world, we find ourselves doubting good – even doubting the goodness of God. We hear the roaring lion and our instinct is to run and succumb to the fear that is rising inside us. And yet, the Lord is very clear in His instruction to us. We are not to fear this world. Yahweh is THE Mighty One. He is our Champion and our Salvation! He sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to demonstrate the depth of love and provision He has for us!
Jesus declared that even though He was God Incarnate (in the flesh, a real, living human being), He is our friend, too. He desires for each of us to know and live out His best for us.
“A friend loves at all times.” Proverbs 17:17 (ESV)
When Jesus says to not be afraid of the hardness of this world or the prince of this world – our enemy the devil – He knows what He is talking about. Don’t let the loud roar of the defeated enemy chase you away from the very Presence of God Himself. The enemy will always try to position himself between you and God. He worms his way wherever this is the tiniest of holes (disobedience, selfishness, distraction, etc.) in our relationship with our Heavenly Father. And then He begins his assault. He twists the truth of God, just like he has done down through the ages beginning with Eve continuing on to the Lord Jesus Himself and will do until the end of time.
“Did God say that you can’t eat of any of the fruit? Surely you will not die.”
“I will give You all the kingdoms of this world, if You will just bow down to me for a moment.”
“Surely that one little indulgence to satisfy yourself will be okay.”
DON’T FALL FOR IT!!!
Run to your Father. Run right through the illusion that the defeated lion can somehow harm you. Don’t fall for his bluff. For if you run away, you are running right into the jaws that will eat and devour you; right into the clutches of sin and disillusionment and captivity.
Run to the protection and safety of the loving arms of Yahweh! He is waiting for you!
“But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. I will sing to the Lord because he is good to me.” Psalm 13:5-6
So, just in case you were wondering, Granger was fine. We all huddled around Mandy and hugged her and told her it was okay and apologized for yelling at her and making her feel like she was the culprit. And the best of all, Granger and Mandy are the best of friends and entertain us endlessly with their lopsided play. And Granger still eats from the fearsome food dish – preferably with his collar off!
Truly life is good when you realize just how much you are loved!!!