The Lion's Roar
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
For some reason today I became curious about this text and decided to look up some of the original words from which it was translated. I wondered if this word roaring really meant what it seems to mean. At this point I cannot find any reason to see that it means anything differently. However, as I looked over some of the other words I came across something quite interesting.
The word for prowls, or walks as it is rendered in the KJV, actually has much more behind it than can been seen in the English translation. It actually includes the idea of almost strutting around in a way to impress others of his strength or prowess, to try to convince others of his ability. This would go along with the roaring part of the verse because lions who are seriously hunting don't actually roar while they stalk their prey, they hunt very stealthily and quietly. So if the lion is roaring it is doing something other than trying to stalk and surprise some victim.
As I pondered the significance of this find I thought of another text in relation to Satan. And it seems to fit quiet well when I examined the surrounding context for this verse in 1 Peter which talks about both our relationship with God and our need to resist the devil. It is something that Jesus talked about in reference to the devil.
You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. (John 8:44)
Satan's greatest power is not in his ability to hurt us or force us to sin because he cannot force us to do that. His greatest weapon is deception itself. If he can convince us to believe lies about reality and especially about God, then the results in us will always come out in sinful choices, attitudes and actions. Lies and deceptions are what underly most all sin in this world, not our inherent sinful nature compelling us toward evil. This is exactly how he enticed our first parents in sin at the beginning.
As long as Satan can keep us bound in the lies that we think are true about God and about ourselves he has little to worry about. And what I am now seeing in this text in 1 Peter is that his roaring and his strutting about are all ways to try to convince us that he is a terrible threat and has power far beyond what he actually possesses. And when we believe these exhibitions of asserted power we will act as if they are true and act out of fear-based emotions instead of trusting in the God who has given Jesus all power in heaven and on earth. It is no wonder that God repeatedly reminds us not to be afraid.
Jesus laid it out quite succinctly when He said these words:
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. (John 10:10)
Father, I keep hearing the lion roar in my head and it often frightens me and I forget the real truth about You. Please keep my attention turned toward you instead of the fears that the lion tries to keep alive in my heart. Help me to see that the strutting and threatenings of Satan are without true power because all authority is in the hands of the One who has died for me and lives to protect and keep me from Satan's power of deception. Please open my mind and heart to the many deceptions that still contaminate my mind and confuse my heart. Fill me with Your real truth, Your presence and Your love right now, for Your name's sake, Amen.