The Devil a Roaring Lion
1 Peter 5:8-9
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about, seeking whom he may devour:…

There is a lion at your doors — such an one as hath none to equal him in power and in fierceness. Are they active in pursuit of prey? He is infinitely more so. They go but a little distance from their dens, but his circuit is the world itself. Other lions roam abroad at certain seasons only — night is their busy time; but "when the sun ariseth they gather themselves together and lay them down in their dens" (Psalm 104:22). But this spiritual lion is perpetually in motion. The day and night are both alike to him. Other lions are bloodthirsty and savage; but he hath no measure in his fury. He cannot possibly be satisfied unless all men are his prey. But mark some other points of contrast which show how far more terrible this lion is than the lions of the forest. They are visible, can be more easily avoided; but he is an invisible being. He springs upon his prey unseen and unsuspected. The natural lion attacks his prey by open violence; but this spiritual lion deals rather by secret craft. The natural lion seeks only to devour the body; the spiritual lion aims at the destruction both of soul and body in hell. The natural lion's strength is far greater than the strength of man, yet man has found out ways of overcoming him; but no power, no skill, no contrivances of man can enable him to overcome the spiritual lion our text speaks of. How then may this roaring lion be resisted and overpowered? Our text returns an answer to it. St. Peter is evidently speaking to believers, who, having been snatched already out of Satan's jaws, have now only to resist him to the end. How is a poor sinner, who "has been carried captive by Satan at his will," to "escape out of the snare"? Now to this the whole gospel is an answer. Why, you must look to the Cross. "For this cause the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil." It is a most important question for the true believer, "How am I to resist this fearful adversary of my soul? Though I must not hope, on earth, to be free from his temptations, yet how am I to tread him under my feet?"

1. He exhorts us to sobriety — "Be sober." "Be moderate — be self-denying — make not provision for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof." Let the Christian but entangle himself in things of this life, and Satan has him at a great advantage.

2. "Be vigilant." They then who have such a watchful and unwearied enemy have need to be upon the watch themselves. Let your eye but rove a little towards some forbidden object, and he will take occasion from it to inflame your heart with evil passions. Once say of any sin, "Is it not a little one?" and suffer yourself, on that ground, to indulge in it — immediately the lion is upon you! He will make this breach much wider, and it will "increase unto more ungodliness." We must not go to sleep ourselves under the notion that the Lord will guard us. It is the wakeful, not the slothful servant who has a warrant for God's protection.

3. But the apostle's third direction is one of such immense importance that we can neither be "sober" nor "vigilant" without it. He bids us be "steadfast in the faith." Let us keep but faith within our bosoms, and we keep Satan at a distance off. We are proof against the lion. Yet a little while and we shall remove out of the lion's reach. In the meanwhile, if there is a lion seeking to devour, there is another Lion standing on our part; for it is under such an emblem that our mighty Saviour hath vouchsafed to represent Himself. He is "the lion of the tribe of Judah" (Revelation 5:5).

(A. Roberts, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

WEB: Be sober and self-controlled. Be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

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