“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
While I was visiting back East, my friend, Tina, shared a recent experience of hers that I will admit sent chills up my spine when I heard it. Not because there was any danger involved, but because it was…well, creepy. It happened while she was with others visiting the San Diego Zoo. She enjoyed it all, she said, until they reached the area where the lions were confined. She noticed one lion, which seemed to be looking at her particularly. Indeed, he finally, came over where she was and looked menacingly at her. Just to test his intentions, she moved from one end of the display to the other; and — you guessed it — he followed her wherever she went. I should tell you, my friend has been in a wheelchair for many years, and as she herself surmised, it was as if he somehow knew she was more vulnerable, someone he could more easily pounce upon. She was not a little unnerved by the whole experience.
My mind went immediately to this verse, and it occurred to me that Peter warned us that you and I are in danger of being vulnerable to our Adversary, the devil, who, he says is “as a roaring lion,” just waiting to pounce and devour us. You and I can become Spiritually “crippled,” making us easy prey to Satan’s attacks. The Bible gives us much instruction concerning our war with this beastly adversary, but I want to just point out a few things we can learn from the verse itself.
First, the devil is constantly on the prowl (“...walketh about seeking whom he may devour.”) His intentions are all destructive and, when possible, damning. There is nothing, or no one, in our lives that he considers off limits. It may seem he is only nibbling at first, but in the end, he will devour.
Peter gives two words of admonition for the confrontation: sobriety and vigilance. Attribute to this life or death battle the seriousness it deserves. To give this word (sober) its sometime meaning, we must never allow ourselves to become intoxicated with the ethics and standards of this world system. This calls for clarity and solemnity. It also calls for vigilance, keeping careful watch. Think of how you would conduct yourself in a town where an escaped circus lion was spotted. In how many directions would you look when you walked down the street?
As sure as there is a God in heaven, there is a devil walking up and down this earth (Job 1:7). And like a roaring lion, he’s ever and always seeking someone to devour. Listen, and you can almost hear his roar. And oh, dear friend, he’s got his eye on you…and me!