Thursday, 26 December 2019
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8
Peter now begins two verses of warning. He had just noted that the believer was to have cast all of his cares upon the Lord. But now he shows that despite being carefree of anxieties, we are not to be carefree in our walk. This is because there is an enemy who lurks about us. And so, he says, “Be sober.”
It is a word now used for the last of six times, three by Paul and three by Peter. It speaks of literal soberness, but that then extends to being clear-minded, free from the intoxicating influences of sin, and etc. A good positive thought to describe it is to have one’s wits about them and to think clearly and rationally.
Next, he says, “be vigilant.” The word used signifies to be awake and watchful. It is what Jesus said the disciples failed to do in the Garden of Gethsemane. Like Peter, Paul used both of these Greek words in 1 Thessalonians 5:6, where he says, “Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.”
Peter then gives the reason for this beginning with, “because your adversary.” The Greek word, antidikos, comes from two words meaning “against justice.” It is one who brings charges against another, as if in a lawsuit. He is seeking formal charges against another. In this, the word “adversary” speaks in legal terms then. This is the only time it is used in the New Testament when speaking of “the devil.”
The term, “the devil,” signifies an accuser, but more especially a false accuser who purposefully maligns others in order to sever relationships. Peter says that this wicked one “walks about.” The thought comes directly from Job 1:7 –
“And the Lord said to Satan, ‘From where do you come?’
So Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.’”
The devil doesn’t just sit idly by and wait for someone to fall into his snare. Rather, he actively goes about seeking targets. Vincent’s Word Studies notes that the Arabs call him “the Busy One.” He is active and he is malicious, as is evidenced by the words, “like a roaring lion.”
Peter uses a word found only here in Scripture, óruomai. It is an onomatopoetic expression; the sound of the word represents what it speaks of. In this case, it is to roar or howl. Albert Barnes says of this –
“The lion here is not the crouching lion – the lion stealthfully creeping toward his foe – but it is the raging monarch of the woods, who by his terrible roar would intimidate all so that they might become an easy prey. The particular thing referred to here, doubtless, is persecution, resembling in its terrors a roaring lion.”
It is a good analogy. The believer has cast his cares upon the Lord. In this, there is a feeling of safety and security. But without being vigilant and sober, such a carefree person can suddenly get overcome by a great and terrible foe. Such a vociferous and strong foe has one thought in mind, which is to seek “whom he may devour.”
A hungry, roaring lion has one thing on its mind, to feed himself. Whoever or whatever gets in his way will face his anger until he satisfies that hunger. But Peter’s words indicate that the devil is always walking about and roaring. He is like the fire which consumes until all is gone. There is never a point where he is satisfied and retreats to his lair. Thus, there is to always be a state of constant vigilance by the believer. Peter will give further admonition concerning this fierce foe in the verse ahead.
Life application: Earlier in the chapter, the role of the shepherd was discussed. He is the one who tends to the sheep. However, when the sheep are in the fold and a lion roars, they may be scared into flight – away from the rest of the sheep. This leaves them as easy prey.
The devil is looking to devour anyone he can, and it is far easier to go after someone who isn’t fellowshipping with other believers, attending church and Bible studies, and actively engaged in other Christian activities. The devil is looking for just this sort of person to tempt – whether through pride or lust – into his trap. Once they are there, they have nothing of substance to fall back on.
This doesn’t mean such a person can lose his salvation, but depending on the sin, he could lose his marriage, his freedom in society, or even his life. This is exactly what Satan wants. By accomplishing this, he can bring discredit on the name of Jesus. Determine now to be ever-vigilant, awake, and watchful, lest you become a victim of the devil’s wiles.
Lord Jesus, in You we have the victory. By staying in Your word and in fellowship with other believers, we know that there is safety. Help us to prioritize our lives so that we don’t let the necessary things be put off for that which is far less important. Keep us on the path of righteousness so that the devil has no ability to come after us with his temptations. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.