Be on the Alert!
|The Author and Finisher of Our Faith|
Be sure to continue making lists as you read.
Matt. Chap. 4
I Pet. 5:6-10
I Pet. 2:25
II Tim. 4:17
II Cor. 11:3
II Cor. 10:14
I Sam. 13:12
I Sam. 16:15
I Sam. 17:34-37
I Kings 22:22-23
King James Version
New International Ver.
Lesson 17 - Defeating the One Who Stalks like a ROARING LION...
"I am greatly indebted to my son Jonathan, who shared with me knowledge from his research into the habits of lions. Without his invaluable insight into what he had learned, I could not have achieved the level of accuracy in describing the lion that I am presenting in this study. My Heartfelt Thanks to you, Jonathan."
WHO IS THIS ADVERSARY AND WHAT DOES HE WANT FROM US?
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. ... I Peter 5:8 - KJV
...be sober-minded; vigilant and cautious at all times, for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a roaring lion (in fierce hunger), seeking someone to seize upon and devour. ... Amplified
This lesson is being written after much prayer, thought, and research. I believe it's much needed. I've asked the Lord to show me and teach me what I need for my life and what I need to share with others so we can all be better equipped to withstand the onslaught of our enemy. There are just too many of us being victimized by the evil forces in this world. We need to know how to stand and defeat the purposes of the devil, and how to endure with patience and faith, the trials that we must bear as Christians, and to know the difference! Believe me when I say, this is a lesson for me to learn as well ... as I delve into the Word to glean the truth.
First, I want to say that this lesson has been on my heart for some time. We Christians can be a peculiar lot, majoring on the minors and minoring on the majors. Now, admit it, we all know that's true. With so many various denominations and teachings in the church we sometimes ignore altogether, or dwell over much on the subject I'm about to cover. So, I'll attempt to give a balanced view of the issue, staying true to what I can see in the Word of God, so we can all benefit from it, and not get carried away with doctrinal 'hobby horses.'
I ask now, in the Name of Jesus, for the Lord, our God to open our spiritual eyes and teach us, delivering us from the wiles of the devil as he would try to hinder us from understanding our weapons of warfare against him. AMEN
Jesus is the True Lion of Judah ... The KING! In the scripture above, the devil roams around AS (or like) a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. We can and should be aware of his tactics in his attempts to 'devour' us. We need to understand his power in the world. We need to know where our protection lies as well.
There is a 'rogue lion' and Satan is much like that. A rogue is one which has been cast out of his pride after being beaten by a challenger for leadership of his pride, or one that cannot establish a pride of his own. He then becomes a dangerous and desperate animal! It is the rogue which usually attacks a human or a village and kills with crazed ferocity out of intense hunger. In a way, Satan is a rogue. He was once a prominent and highly exalted leader in heaven until he fell from favor because of rebellion against God and was cast out. He now has a hatred for God and all who belong to Him, and seeks to kill and destroy! Some of his names are Belial, Lucifer, Beelzebub, Angel of Darkness, Angel of Destruction and the devil.
For an analogy, let's consider the hunting and feeding habits of the lion.
Lions live in prides, or groups. The hunting is done primarily by the females. There is one male lion in the pride who is the leader and rules supreme. He waits until the females have downed the prey and then he comes on the scene, roaring and acting the part of the king, taking his food first, allowing the rest of the pride to feast on what he's not interested in. In a normal hunting scenario then, he waits until the prey is down and helpless, then goes in to 'devour' his meal.
For the African lion, the Wildebeest (Gnu) is one of the main sources of prey. They travel in herds and are actually a very powerful animal, with huge horns, which provide a kind of 'helmet', and a strong muscular body. When one on one with a lion, the Wildebeest is capable of gouging the lion with its horns and tossing it with such force as to inflict serious injury or even kill the lion. How then, does the lion down the Wildebeest?
The lions lie in wait near a herd of Wildebeest and wait until they notice a stray from the main herd, usually one that is weak or very young. They pick that one out and begin the chase until the victim is tired out and can run no longer. Or they can 'stampede' a herd by beginning a chase, and then pick out the weak ones. Always, though, it's the weak and feeble or the ones that can't get away which are downed.
We might look at the hunting party as a good analogy for the 'demons' who lie in wait to shoot the arrows of spiritual temptation and harassment to defeat a weakened Christian or one who is not walking close to God and relying on the protection of the Good Shepherd. Or even one who does not realize that spiritual forces of the powers of darkness are always seeking to wound or destroy.
Satan is NOT going to be able to devour or defeat us if we are not weakened first and downed by the 'hunters' ... those evil spirits which are sent to torment and tempt. You see, as a rule, the male lion does not go after the strong and those who are protected within the safe confines of the herd. They would simply be too much of an opponent, and could even be that formidable foe that would destroy the lion in the process.
It is not my intention to make this a comprehensive study of demons, but there are certain things we need to know on the subject. I have heard a military saying and it makes good sense .. 'know your enemy.'
In Judaic writings, taken from the Old Testament, we see that they had a unique understanding of demonic forces. Most scholars agree that demons are among the 1/3 of the angels who fell with Lucifer and are in subjection to him and under his control, at his beckon call. They are associated with the occult, sorcery, and all such practices that were forbidden to the Children of Israel. Their leader, Satan sends them to torment mankind, and in particular, 'the elect of God.' They have certain assignments. Some are to:
... distract from true doctrine and lead
into false doctrine
This is only a partial list, but everything that they do has ONE purpose: to destroy God's people, to thwart God's plan for mankind and to lead astray those he can, causing sin and hindering the fulfilling of God's purpose and callings for our lives.
There is another type of demonic attack in the Scriptures and that is .. God sent evil spirits to torment those who had disobeyed or were His enemy, but that is another study altogether.
In the Judaic study,, demons are identified and named from the translations of the words in the Old Testament, and are seen as having specific assignments. The Hebrew word for "satyrs" or "he-goats" is the same word used for "demons" as a whole, and the Scriptures are filled with examples of descriptions and acts of the different evil spirits and their designated types of attack.
* Some spirits named in Hebrew in the Old Testament are:
Dever ... demon of pestilence
(*Thanks to Clarence Wagner, President of Bridges for Peace, for the above list)
It is Hez that I want to focus on later in this study, mainly because the work of this particular spirit is the focus of one of the more familiar and important teachings in our Christian doctrine ... the "putting on of the armor of God to quench the fiery darts of the enemy."
The well known Psalm .. 91 is a psalm of spiritual warfare. When studying it with a translation of the original Hebrew, we can see more clearly that it speaks of protection from demons/evil spirits.
1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. 3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. 4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. 5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; 6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. 7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. 8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. 9 Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; 10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. 11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. 12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. 13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. 14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. 15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. 16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation. 16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.
In Hebrew the verses highlighted above read like this:
You will not be afraid for the Pahad (terror by night), nor for Hez (the arrow that flies by day) nor for Dever, (pestilence that walks in darkness), nor for Ketev, (destruction that wastes at noonday)." Therefore, the 'thousands that fall at your side and shall not come nigh thee' are actually thousand of demons. So, we see that we must put our trust in God and dwell in Him to defeat demonic forces.
You can see that names of specific demons are all through the Scriptures, particularly in the Old Testament. For more detailed study, refer to a Hebrew translation.
IN THE NEW TESTAMENT:
Jesus taught us in the Lord's Prayer to ask God to deliver us from evil. The actual translation reads: "deliver us from the evil one." .. of course, meaning the devil and his cohorts.
A study of the Gospels and the Book of Acts shows much demonic activity in the world at the time of Jesus' earthly ministry in the form of possession, disease, insanity, depravity, perversions, and all kinds of evil. A serious look at the world today and the conditions that exist will confirm that their activity has not diminished, rather, has become more aggressive in these last days.
Many believers have become lax and ignored the powers that war against us, possibly because the evil spirits may operate in a more subtle manner now. Liberalism, humanism, so-called scientific reason, human logic, modernism, and false doctrines of devils have shaded the reality of the powers of evil. Many shun the idea of a supernatural realm and even we Christians much of the time go about our daily lives not aware of or choosing to ignore the dangers that lie in wait for us. When we do so, we become more vulnerable to the 'little foxes' or in this case, demons that quietly undermine our victory and cause us to be beaten down and defeated.
But, we can be protected and stand strong. And surely we must!
OUR PROTECTION and WEAPONS:
I've covered the dangers and threat of the enemy, so now I'll look at how we can stand against those things that would destroy us, and cause him to flee.
Paul was inspired to warn us to be alert and watch because our adversary roams about seeking whom he may devour. In fact, much of his writing contained warnings about the evil intent of the devil and the dangers lurking around us.
One of the last things that Jesus told his disciples is that His followers would cast out demons. Why would Jesus have made that statement if demons and their activity were to disappear when He ascended into heaven?
I've mentioned demons but we must not forget that we who are to inherit eternal life have ministering spirits (the angels of God) Heb. 1:14, who are sent in our behalf to bring messages, protect, and do God's will as He assigns. Angels ministered to Jesus after He was tempted in the wilderness by the devil. An angel brought a message to Mary about the coming birth of Jesus, also to Zechariah about John the Baptist's coming birth, angels were stationed at the tomb of Jesus, and many other instances of angels. There are even scriptures of personal angels (Guardian Angels) ... Jesus said of the little children, "See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of My Father Who is in heaven." The angels of God also war against the demonic host at God's command to execute His plan as the ages unfold.
We do need to test the spirits, to see if they're of God or the devil. James told us not to believe every spirit, only those who acknowledge that Jesus has come in the flesh and proclaim Him as Lord. Some of the demonic spirits come in the guise of good as if sent by God. Lions on the prowl also take advantage of a waterhole where the prey is taking in life giving water. This puts me in mind of the scriptures that warn us that these evil spirits come into our midst disguised as one of us. Take heed then, that in our congregations, we walk uprightly and guard the truth, being on the lookout for perversion of God's truth.
Never forget the fact that we have the GOOD SHEPHERD to protect us from the predator who seeks to devour us! The shepherd keeps a watchful eye out for the flock, and we must be alert to His leading. When we're guided in the right direction by heeding His Words and teachings and abiding in His love and He in us, we're safe and sound.
King David was an example of a shepherd protecting his flock. In Israel the lion was a predator of sheep, which was a common animal among the Israelites. In fact, he killed a lion to protect his flock. He took the lamb which had been taken right out of the mouth of the lion and later told King Saul that the Lord had delivered him (David) out of the paw of the lion. (I Sam. 17)
Daniel told the king after his night with the lions ... "My God hath sent his angel and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me ..." Dan. 6:16-22
Paul wrote ... the Lord stood with me and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. II Tim 4:17
Do you see a pattern here? The lion has been defeated by God in behalf of His faithful followers in many instances, both from physical and spiritual attacks. It is no wonder that Paul and some of the other writers of the Scriptures sometimes referred to the enemy who stalks us as 'the lion.'
JESUS compared us with sheep when he called us His little flock. He told us to fear not .. He showed us in many parables and teachings that we who know Him will follow Him and hear His voice .. for He is our shelter and defender, our SHEPHERD. We need to stay close to Him as He protects us from the stalking enemy.
Jesus Himself was tempted by Satan personally and defeated him with the Word of God. We need to look to the Word of God for our defense strategy as well.
To begin to pull this all together, here are a few scriptures that will speak to the subject at hand:
II Cor. 10:4 .. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds.
10. Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel ...
Verse 16 says that above all we must take the shield of faith, which will quench all the fiery darts of the wicked (HEZ ... the evil spirit who shoots all manner of spiritual darts at us). So the first order of our defense is the ARMOR OF GOD. The Christian life is a battleground! A spiritual battle is ongoing in this world and we as believers are right in the middle of it! DO NOT underestimate the power of the devil. There is a reason he is compared to a lion!
Hez is just one of the demonic beings who Paul called "principalities - powers - rulers - spiritual wickedness in high places - they are an organized army, but we are the soldiers of the Lord! At the same time, we are like sheep. We, in and of ourselves are not as powerful as the demonic forces who stalk us. But we are in the 'flock' of Jesus, our Shepherd, and in the Kingdom of God, and the Blood of Jesus covers us. We are not exempt from the battle because of this, instead we are at the forefront. But battle there is, and we must know the weapons of the enemy and our weapons at hand.
What are these fiery darts??? (the devices of demons)
... "wiles" (as in verse 10) means cunning crafty arts and
And many more .. too numerous to mention! We need to be on the lookout for these fiery darts and when we realize that they're overtaking us in defeat, we need to submit ourselves to God and aggressively resist the devil, and the Scripture says that he will flee.
But when we have on the armor of God (please study that thoroughly! I hope to do a study soon on the armor) we have our defenses in place. When we are alert as Paul instructed in I Peter, we are aware of the enemy and aware of the fact that he's seeking to destroy. When we're living and walking close to God our protection is assured. When we trust our Father, leaning on Him and following Jesus, doing the Lord's will and pursuing the peace of God we have our battle strategy in order.
One more thing ... the verses in I Peter that precede verse 8 tell us that we must clothe ourselves with humility, laying aside pride and arrogance toward one another, instead we're to be in subjection to each other, in love, and in total subjection and obedience to God. The weaker or newer believers we must protect and keep them safely in our midst so they don't become prey as with the lions hunting the Wildebeest, and we must hold each other up when we're going through the fire of trials. We humans want to be independent and 'do it ourselves' ... our way. But we're in God's Way now and we need each other and the strength that comes from the unity in the faith. It also states that in humbling ourselves, we acknowledge that we cannot stand without God; we must cast our cares on Him, put our full trust in Him, like the little sheep place total faith in their shepherd. In fact the verses are actually one thought with the warning about the devil who roams about looking for someone to devour. Putting them together, it reads:
"Therefore, humble yourselves (demote, lower yourselves in your own estimation) under the mighty hand of God, that in due time He may exalt you, casting all your care, all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all - on Him; for He cares for you affectionately, and cares about you watchfully. Be well balanced, temperate, sober-minded; be vigilant and cautious at all times, for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring in fierce hunger, seeking someone to seize upon and devour."
Then, verse 9 continues .... "Withstand him; be firm in faith against his onset, rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined, knowing that the same identical sufferings are appointed to your brotherhood, the whole body of Christians throughout the world." ... Amplified Version
In other words, sometimes the onslaught is necessary, for reasons that only God knows, and we may not prevent them, but we CAN stand strong and resist the devil, and he eventually must flee. He will NOT destroy us, though at times we may be put through some pretty fiery times and we may FEEL like we're being destroyed, but with our armor in place we can be victorious and fulfill our callings with patience and perseverance even when tribulations and trials try our faith. We must not give up and hide in fear and neglect to go on to what God has called us to ... we must be aware and be prepared! Remember the scripture that tells us not to think it strange that we're encountering trials and temptations, instead rejoice because they will eventually lead us nearer to perfection, fully equipped to do God's will. When God allows us to be tested, it's for our good and growth. (James, chapter 1)
Remember, the KEY to defeating the attacks of the demonic forces is WALKING IN RIGHTEOUSNESS, CLOSE TO GOD, with HUMILITY, OBEDIENCE, FAITH, SUBMISSION, and KNOWLEDGE.
We must pursue those things with a fervor, especially as we see the last days, when we'll need to stand strong as never before. The battle and the attack accelerates. But our weapons are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds!
Here is a Hebrew nighttime prayer that might be good for Christians to pray as well:
"May it be pleasing before You O Lord, my God, to make me lie down in peace, and give me my portion of Your law. Train me to do Your commandments, and do not train me to do transgression. Do not bring me into the grasp of sin, nor into the grasp of iniquity, nor into the grasp of temptation, nor into the grasp of disgrace. May the good inclination rule over me. May the evil inclination not rule over me, and deliver me from contact with evil."
I realize that this lesson has been lengthy (twice as long as usual) and I considered writing it in two installments, but I decided that it needs to be studied as a whole so as not to lose momentum and train of thought. As I said, I believe this is a VERY important subject for us believers ... especially now at this time.
I've created a graphic theme page as a companion to this study. Please visit that page and send it to your friends and loved ones ... Go to the Page : As A Roaring Lion
A special thanks to Clarence Wagner,
whose article was so helpful in my research for this lesson. He is the
President of 'Bridges for Peace' ... a ministry of bringing the Jewish
people and Christians together in love and understanding, with helps
such as assisting Jews to flee from countries where they're being persecuted,
and providing for the needs of the newly immigrated as they come back
to their homeland, showing love and concern in the Name of Jesus, thereby
being a witness of true Christianity. We endorse and support this ministry.
Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow! I pray in the Name of Jesus, that you're prospering in His Word and growing in His Grace! And may 2004 be a blessed and victorious year in the Lord!
Just a note ... Due to some of our schedule changes and other factors, my Bible Studies will be approximately once a month or every 6 weeks or so from now on. I've decided that to say it will be done exactly at the first of every month has been setting a deadline for myself which has been increasingly difficult to maintain, so I hope you'll understand and stay with us. I'll try to keep them coming as regularly as possible. I ask that you pray for our family for health, strength, endurance, wisdom, and direction, both physical and spiritual. Your prayers have always meant so very much to us and we love you and appreciate your support in prayers. I know as we pray for each other in Jesus' Name, that the will of God will be done in our lives.
Remember, we don't do any studies during the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holidays. (November and December)
I thank God and praise Him for the many answers to prayer that have been reported recently. So many victories in the Lord and much to rejoice over! There are always needs too, and they remain on our prayer list. God is able, His love is unending, and He will never forsake us!
if you'd like these lessons e-mailed to you regularly, every month,
Love In Christ,