One of nature’s largest predators, African lions are both frightening and amazing. The Bible has a lot to say about lions, probably because they were common at that time in Israel.
Actual lions appear in several Old Testament stories. Samson, David, an unnamed “man of God” and Daniel are a few who encountered flesh-and-blood lions, for good or ill.
And the lion is symbolic in the Bible, too, especially in the New Testament.
In our devotional book Heaven and Nature Sing, the devo for March 2nd is about two different lions:
Devo: A Tale of Two Lions
“Be sober and self-controlled. Be watchful. Your adversary, the devil, walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Withstand him steadfast in your faith…”1 Peter 5:8-9
The roar of a lion is a frightening sound! According to SmithsonianMag.com, its roar can be as loud as 114 decibels, louder than a rock concert. It can be heard from five miles away.
Lions roar for many reasons, but mostly to stake territory and display strength.
Satan, the Accuser, is a Roaring Lion
So when Peter, here, compares the devil to a roaring lion, think about what his strategy is: the devil is trying to instill fear and stake territory in your life.
He can roar through circumstances—your own thoughts, the words of others, adversity. He wants your attention, and will get it through intimidation if he can.
So Peter warns us: “Be sober and self-controlled. Be watchful.”
Just as you would be if you were out in the African bush, in lion country. Know he’s out there somewhere and pay attention to his strategies.
But you don’t have to live in fear of him. Why?
There’s Another Lion
Because there’s another Lion the Bible talks about! The Lion of the Tribe of Judah who has overcome (Revelation 5:5).
One of the main jobs of male lions is to protect the pride from other male lions.
Jesus, the Lion of Judah, is well able to protect His people from the devil, a prowling enemy lion.
“Withstand him steadfast in your faith, knowing that your brothers who are in the world are undergoing the same sufferings.” (all of verse 9, 1 Peter 5)
We can withstand the roaring, devouring devil when we’re steadfast in our faith. It doesn’t mean we’ll escape all suffering. But Jesus, the Overcomer, is in us to make us overcomers through any suffering we go through.
James 4:7 says, “Be subject (submit to) therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
First surrender to the Lord, then resist that roaring lion, the devil, steadfast in your faith, and he has to flee.
It’s a promise.
* * *
Submit to One Lion, Resist the Other
A big part of our journey as followers of Jesus is learning how to respond to these two lions. Which to submit to? Which to resist? It’s so important we get this right if we want to grow in spiritual maturity and godliness.
What happens if we submit to the devil, the Accuser when he “walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour”?
Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy…” (John 10:10). So the devil roars to steal your peace…kill your joy…destroy your relationships.
Will you submit to that or resist it? We always have the choice.
God’s desire is for us to submit to Him and resist the devil’s roar. To stand firm in our faith. To choose Life and Light. To walk with the Lion of Judah.
Which lion will you give your attention to?