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The Roaring Lion

The lion is one of the most fearsome beasts on the earth.  Even its roar, which can be heard up to five miles away, is terrifying.  The male lion can exceed 550 pounds in weight and is capable of killing animals much larger than itself, such as buffalo or even elephants.  The lion is a stealthy predator that stalks its prey under cover and often during the night.  Typically, several lions will work together, sneaking up on a herd of prey and encircling them.  As they close in on the herd, they target the closest or easiest individual to catch.  A lion attacks its prey in a sudden and powerful burst, and in a flash the prey is captured.  Smaller prey is killed with a swat of the mighty lion’s paw, while larger prey is usually killed by strangulation.  The prey is then devoured by the hungry lion, which is capable of eating up to sixty-five pounds of meat at one time.  Truly, the lion is an intimidating predator that demands the fear of all who encounter it.  "The lion…is mighty among beasts and does not retreat before any” (Prov. 30:30).

The fearsome figure of the lion was used by the apostle Peter to describe our most formidable predator, which is Satan.  Notice 1Peter 5:8 – "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert.  Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”  The figure of a lion is used in this passage to provoke our awareness and fear.  If we were aware that there was a massive, vicious, hungry lion lurking about the neighborhood, then we would be on constant alert because of the great danger it would pose.  Likewise, we should be just as vigilant to stand guard against Satan, who poses an even greater danger to us because he seeks to capture our souls.  Of course, there are no lions roaming among us, but Satan is ever-present in the world.

Let us consider this figure and compare the devil to a lion so that we can be alerted to Satan and his tactics.  First of all, we must view Satan as the powerful predator that he is in this world, for Jesus even described him as the "ruler of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11), and Paul called him "the prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2).  Satan is not to be trifled with, and his power is not to be underestimated.  We must also recognize that Satan operates in stealthy ways.  The dominion of Satan is darkness (Acts 26:18; Col. 1:13) and the sins he inspires are most often committed in the cover of night (Eph. 5:12; 1Thess. 5:7).  He also employs his own servants, and together they stalk their prey under cover.  Notice 2Corinthians 11:13-15:

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.  No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.  Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.

Satan and his minions, "the world forces of this darkness…the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12), deceive us into believing there is safety rather than danger.  They disguise their temptations as good, pleasurable, and satisfying, but in the end they deliver only death (Jas. 1:14-15).  They surround us and prey on the weakest among us, pouncing with a sudden and deadly attack.  Satan then devours his victim, taking the victim’s soul captive to do his will (2Tim. 2:26) and strangling out the spirit’s life.  "He lurks in a hiding place as a lion in his lair; He lurks to catch the afflicted; He catches the afflicted when he draws him into his net” (Ps. 10:9).

It is important to realize that we stand face to face with this terrifying predator every day, but let us also realize that we do not stand alone.  There is another Lion who stands by our side to defend us against Satan.  "Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome...” (Rev. 5:5).  This Lion is Christ Jesus, and He sacrificed Himself so that "through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives” (Heb. 2:14-15).  It is for this reason that Christ came to earth, for the "Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil” (1John 3:8).  Satan and his princes cannot prevail against "the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah” and those who have faith in Him (1John 5:4-5).

Therefore, let us stand firm against our adversary the devil.  Peter wrote, "But resist him, firm in your faith…” (1Pet. 5:9).  Similarly, James wrote, "Submit therefore to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (Jas. 4:7).  With Christ, the Lion of Judah, by our side, Satan becomes an utter coward.  Whereas we are weak and vulnerable without Jesus, we are overwhelming conquerors with Him (Rom. 8:37).  When we put on the armor of God, we are "able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil” (Eph. 6:11).  As long as we stand with Christ, Satan and his soldiers cannot defeat us, for 1John 4:4 declares, "You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.”  In the battle of these two lions, Christ has the overwhelming victory, and Satan is utterly defeated.

Stacey E. Durham



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