If you have ever visited Africa, you will know that its beauty is quite captivating. I was born in South Africa and our children were raised there. I can still recall the beautiful sunrises as early morning light broke through the skies filling it with rusty hues. It would seep through the Acacia trees and make the leaves appear to change color. I would sit in the dappled shade of the indigenous trees watching the wild grass shiver in the breeze, and if I waited long enough, I might see a fish eagle soaring through those amber skies filling the air with their haunting cry.
When our son was still young, Paul decided to take him on a walking trail through the Kruger National Park. They went with a very experienced Game Ranger and I was assured that he had a gun with him on the trail. The three of them set out on one of those beautiful African mornings. They walked for hours and reveled in seeing giraffe, zebra, elephant, hippos and scores of buck. At one point, the Game Ranger stopped and said, “Ah! Here are lion tracks, let’s follow them!” If it were me, I would be running in the opposite direction. Paul and Jay had little choice. Jay was only eight years old at the time, and after walking for nine hours he was tired. He was lagging further and further behind while his Dad was trying to encourage him on. Paul was anxious because the Game Ranger was walking quickly and the gun under his arm was getting further away! Paul trying to spur Jay on said, “Come on son! What will you do if a lion appears?” Jay looked at him and said, ‘I will faint, and let him eat me!” Fortunately, that did not happen. They never caught up with the lion and made it safely home after an incredibly exciting adventure.
The Bible says in 1 Peter 5:8 “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” If you have heard a lion roar, you will know that it is a ferocious sound and let me add that i think the devil can be just as fearsome!
There are two types of people that concern me. The first is the person who does not believe that the devil is real. Or, they simply think he is a little creature with horns and a pitchfork. The other type of person that worries me is the one who is obsessed with the devil. They see the devil under every chair and spend too much time rebuking him and talking to him. Why talk to the devil when you can speak to God? The devil is real and he is evil, but we do need a proper perspective on him. So what does this verse teach?
1. Be alert and sober-minded: Do not be obsessed with the devil. He is not omnipresent like God and neither is he all-powerful. So be alert, but not obsessed.
2. Be aware of his schemes: Yes, he does go about like a roaring lion. It is foolish to think the devil is just a cartoon type character with horns and a pick fork. He would probably like you to think that about him. However, he is evil and his plans are destructive, so we need to be aware of that. I do think that there are some people who attribute far too many happenings to the devil. Some people are prone to blame everything that goes wrong on the devil. Many times our problems are the result of our own action or lack thereof, and sometimes our problems can also be the decisions of people we have no control over. Don't attribute everything to the devil!
3. Be confident that God is significantly more powerful: Sometimes the devil roars so loud you think he is in the next room. However, God has a hedge around his children that the devil cannot get through. Make sure that you keep yourself in that safe space and allow God to shelter you as Psalm 91 says He will do.
A friend of ours went to the Kruger National Park some years back. He wanted to see and experience the wildlife of the area. He and his wife booked into one of the lodges and spent the night there. During the night, they heard the fearsome roar of a lion. Our friend said to his wife, “Honey, are you sure the door is locked because it sounds as if the lion are standing right outside?” She assured him they had locked it. The next morning, he looked outside and saw that there was a wire fence all around the camp that no lion, or any other animal for that matter, could ever penetrate. Sometimes the devil roars so loudly he wants you to think he is all-powerful and all present. If you are God’s child, He has a hedge around you that the devil cannot get through. Remember, God is all-powerful, all-knowing and all-present. The devil is not! Be sober and alert, but don’t be afraid! And above all, don't be obsessed with the devil!
I trust your day will be blessed as you ponder a loving, kind and gracious God!
I am and always will be,
Recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,