Listen for the Lion’s Roar (1 Peter 5:6-8)
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, ⁷casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. ⁸Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. —1 Peter 5:6-8
I’ve never been the type of person who wants to get anywhere near dangerous animals. Thanks to the internet, I’ve read and seen too many wildlife encounters with people that don’t end well. Eaten by an alligator, swallowed by a python, becoming lunch for a pack of carnivores—you name it—it terrifies me.
Peter used this kind of imagery to get our attention, reminding us that our enemy is like this. Satan is like a lion, a hungry lion on the prowl who is actively seeking someone to destroy. The word devour and the lion imagery communicate how high the stakes are. Recovery from an encounter is not likely; watch out for him!
Our passage gives us three ways to avoid deadly encounters with this beast, all of which begin in the heart and mind: 1) humble yourself, 2) cast your anxieties on the Lord, and 3) be sober-minded and watchful.
Throughout God’s Word we see a theme of proud people being humbled, both the ungodly like Pharaoh and Goliath, and the godly like David, Jonah, and the many kings of Israel whose humble responses led to God relenting from the coming disaster. Jesus preached the same message in Matthew 23:12, “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” God sees those who humble themselves. He has said He will exalt them at the right time.
Our second defense may seem less obvious. We are to cast all of our anxieties on God. When we worry about our circumstances, they consume us. They focus our attention on us—either in pity or self-reliance. Rather, we are to cast all of these anxieties on God, the One who can sustain us and give us endurance through difficulties, or remove them from us. When we cast our anxieties on Him, we rest in His care and acknowledge His authority over us and the situation. In doing so we communicate to others who are watching, God’s got me, and He’s got the situation.
Finally, we need to be reminded not to let our guard down. It seems obvious that we should be on guard against such a formidable foe. Yet we can get lulled by pride into trusting our own abilities and thinking we can handle it on our own. We know from Scripture that we can’t.
May the terrifying sound of the roaring lion remind us to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God and in Him, find refuge.
What good examples of humility have you seen in others?
What anxieties are you carrying that would be better carried by Jesus?
Read 1 Peter 5:5. What’s the significance of the imagery of clothing yourself with all humility?
Brian Eaton is director of operations for Truth78. He enjoys teaching children and youth in the classroom and he seeks to encourage Bible memorization through the Fighter Verses Program.