SATAN AS A ROARING LION
The text says: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”
The words “Be sober” (nepho) mean “to be sober, to be calm and collected in spirit.” It is an aorist active imperative verb. The aorist tense speaks of a point of time. It may speak of the whole event of a persons life. The imperative mood and is a command. It also speaks of urgency. The active voice means to respond to this command we must decide. Now to be “calm and collected in spirit when a lion is near is like you speaking to my head and forgetting to speak to my feet! Why would God tell us to be calm with Satan on the prowl? Because he is a defeated foe. There is no question of our success in the battle. Many Christians are casualties in the battle because of their ignorance of Satan’s defeat and the weapons God has provided to be used against him.
The words “be vigilant” (gregoreuo) mean “to take heed lest through remission and indolence some destructive calamity suddenly overtakes one.” It is also an aorist active imperative verb. We must be watchful the whole of our life time. (If the aorist tense here is a snapshot of the whole life). How do you explain a man of God who is faithful to the Lord for years and useful to build a great work and fall into immoral conduct late in life? This verse is the answer. I cannot become careless and cease to be vigilant. Satan loves to tear down a work that has been years in building. He loves to leave us by the wayside bleeding and ruined. We must be vigilant.
“Because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion” speaks of the constant attitude of Satan. He is vigilant. He never rests. He plans for our demise. The word “adversary” (antidikos) means “opponent,” and Strong adds, “an opponent in a suit of law.” He is like the person who through his lawyers goes after another and will do anything possible to make his case. This also suggests that the devil is limited to rules. In other words he has rules he has to go by. And he will use them if I get outside the protective mode of operation as a believer. For instance there seems to be protection for the believer in the Local Church. First Corinthians 5:5 says, “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” Paul is speaking to the church at Corinth here. Now look at verses 12-13: “For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?
But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.” It seems to me that God waited to turn Satan loose on this man until he was “without” the church. Satan has to operate by rules.
The words “as a roaring lion” set before us a hungry and angry lion. He stalks his prey. He petrifies with his roar. Have you ever heard the roar of a lion? I have. And I was very thankful the lion that I heard was behind bars in a zoo! When we fail to “be sober and vigilant” and let down our guard, we do things that unlock the cage in which God has Satan. The man in the church at Corinth unlocked the door. Now Satan is looking for an unlocked door. And don’t think for a minute that he will not use that door.
The words “walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” means that Satan is walking up and down on the other side of that cage. He is looking for the sucker who will unlock the door and let him out. The words “walketh about” (peripateo) mean “to walk, to make one's way, progress; to make due use of opportunities.” It also means “to regulate one’s life.” It is a present active indicative verb. The present tense means that Satan does this continuously in the present tense of the believers life. The active voice means that he has volition and he makes it his choice to be our enemy and watches for the opportunity to put us away. The word “seeking” (zeteo) means “to seek in order to find.” It also means “to think out by meditation and reason.” He is constantly thinking (present tense) of ways to get to us. The word “devour” (katapino) means “to drink down, to swallow down.” In my forty-two years of ministry I have seen Satan do this many times. Have you ever seen a lion who had half his prey hanging out his mouth? Is is possible to recover someone who is half devoured by the devil” 2 Tim 2:26 “And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” Why does it say that they may recover themselves? Because they unlocked the door. They must go back and re lock the door (repentance and the grace of forgiveness). A pastor cannot do that for them. The sad thing is that most people try to straighten out their own mess. It won’t work. When we mess up, we must be willing to let Jesus straighten out the mess. That hurts pride so badly that most people will not do what is necessary to recover.
Verse 9 says, “Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” The word “resist” (anthistemi) “to set oneself against, to withstand, to resist, to oppose.” It is an aorist tense and looks either at the point of time Satan makes the attack or at the whole life. Either way we can successfully oppose Satan in his attempt to destroy us. The word “faith” means “the conviction of the truth of anything.” Our belief in the Scriptures and the truths of the Bible is the way Satan is successfully opposed. The rest of the verse lets us know that we are not alone in the battle against Satan. The word “afflictions” is used to describe the condition Satan is able to create as an environment for attack. When I am down I am vulnerable. Then I must flee to the Scriptures and get the strength I need from Him. “Be strong in the Lord and the power of His might.”
May God bless these words to our hearts.