Summary: These are the 6 roars of the lion as implied in Peter’s warning about the devil and how to deal with them.
MUZZLING THE LION’S ROAR
“Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion…” (1 Peter 5:8).
Our cat epitomizes evil. Twice in the last week or so he has appeared at the patio doors with a bird in his mouth. He’s trying to impress us but I find it revolting to see this poor bird in the jaws of death. It truly makes me wonder if cats are not the spawn of Satan, the invention of Hell. One cannot ignore, however, the amazing ability of a cat like ours to be able to sneak up on a bird and snatch it.
Cats are not evil, just as lions are not evil, but it is easy to see why the Bible at times will portray evil as a lion. David speaks of his enemies as roaring lions opening their mouths wide against him (Ps 22:13). Paul might have been speaking metaphorically about being saved from the lion’s mouth in his letter to Timothy (2 Tim 4:17). In the book of Job the LORD asks Satan where he’s been and he answered, “From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it” (Job 1:7). There is an illusion here to prowling like a lion.
Lions are very large cats, second in size only to the tiger. They weigh up to 500 pounds and can take down prey up to three times their size. For such a large animal they are incredibly stealthy. And did you know that a lion’s roar can be heard up to five miles away? Lions are a picture of strength and ferocity, a great adversary of the animal kingdom. So it makes sense to picture Satan as a prowling lion.
One thing about our passage today stands out as quite peculiar. Our enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion…he’s not sneaking up on us. He’s roaring and trying to scare us with his tongue, not his teeth. He’s trying to destroy the church by speaking his lies from beyond the hedge. He’s trying to make you tremble with deceptive words that sound like truth and fear the veracity of your faith. And you know he’s lyin’, that’s why the lion analogy fits.
Let’s identify 6 roars of the devil and what you can do about it. Share with me the truth of 1 Peter 5:6-11.
1. “You don’t need anyone”
The first roar of the devil we can identify is that “you don’t need anyone.” The church has disappointed many individuals who were looking for care and compassion. These folks are hurting or have been hurting and no one knew or cared to ask. So in a reaction of pride or self-sufficiency they proclaim that they don’t need anyone, especially the church.
Satan would like nothing better than to cut you off from the flock and get you alone. When we are alone he can fill our heads with more of his poison. He can feed that feeling of alienation you get from people in the church.
What does Peter say to this roar? “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (v. 6). Humble yourself? Yes because while we are waiting for others to serve us, others are waiting for us to serve them. You are not the only one hurting. In your hurt God may be training you to comfort others where others have failed you. Peter used a meaningful metaphor in v. 5 when he tells everyone in the church to clothe themselves with humility. The picture is of putting on an apron to serve. An apron set apart a slave from a free person. Put on Christ and serve as he served.
Yes you do need others, if not to be served, then to serve.
2. “Prayer doesn’t help”
The second roar is that “prayer doesn’t help.” Oh how Satan would love for you to believe this one. When you pray he convinces us that our words are vain, that they just bounce off the ceiling. You never get what you ask for anyways. You ask and ask, pray and pray, and nothing changes. Or that’s what the devil would like you think. He wins if you believe his lie that prayer is about asking and getting, or not getting.
Peter wants us to focus on God, not on the words of our prayers. He wrote, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (v. 7). The focus is clearly God. When we pray we certainly want to tell the Lord all our troubles. But the focus is not our troubles so much as it is the Lord who knows our troubles and who is able to care for us in those hard times. Anxiety is a paralyzing experience. It is fear out of control. When you hear the lion’s roar it is intended to stop you in your tracks. Paul too said, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God” (Phil 4:6).