Lion. He’s the king of the jungle. He’s known as the hunter, the killer, the destroyer. It’s no wonder Peter used the lion when warning the early church about the devil.
“Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.”
It’s pretty common knowledge that big cats will take down the weakest prey first. I did some exhaustive search on Wickipedia and found out some fascinating little tidbits about how lions hunt. Since my source is the internet, I encourage you to remember this piece is supposed to be an analogy, not a research paper.
• While a lion will take down the small and the weak, that’s not who he picks on. He’s not picky at all, in fact. He’s an opportunist. He takes down whoever happens to be closest at the time.
Application: Strong Christians are vulnerable to attack too. Even giants of the faith fall if the opportunity is right—or wrong depending one whether you’re looking at it from the perspective of the hunter or the hunted.
• The lion preys on animals much faster than he. He eats gazelles, wildebeests, zebras—all of which are much quicker than he is. But he manages to take them down by sneaking up on them. He will watch from nearby cover, remaining perfectly still until he gets his chance. He will often run less than 10 meters to take down his prey. He relies on his prey not having time to react.
Application: Have you ever been there? Reeling from an attack you never saw coming when you thought you could out run temptation? I know I have! Meanwhile, fast doesn’t always mean bright.
• One site told this story: “George Schaller (who researched lion in the Serengeti and surrounding areas) recounts watching a group of Thomson's gazelles crossing a patch of thick bush in order to drink. When they entered the thick bush, it was bristling with lions that instantly grabbed and ate one of the gazelles. Over the next two hours the same group of gazelles, having apparently forgotten the recent murder of one of their companions, tried not once but twice more to get to the water using the same route…with predictable results.”
Application: When we forget our past mistakes or the mistakes of others, we are in danger of becoming lion lunch. “Be of sober mind,” Peter reminds us.
• Even a ferocious lion can get in over his head. Mighty and smart as he is, he will occasionally hunt dangerous prey like the giraffe with incredibly strong front legs or the powerful wildebeest. It takes a pack of hunters to bring down one of these guys. Lions have been known to sustain serious injuries and even give up on strong prey that stands its ground.
Application: “Resist him,” Peter instructs. “Stand firm in the faith.” “Resist the devil and he will flee,” Says James 4:7. We don’t have to be taken down.
• One more thing about the lion. He is only dangerous to his prey when they can’t see him. If he is visible to the herd, he will not attack. He just won’t. They can sit two feet from each and the antelope is in no more danger than if he were staring down a house fly. The lion knows the herd’s numbers and speed are against him when they know he’s there.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12.
Application: We forget he’s out there, don’t we? We nibble on savannah grass and swat flies with our tails while our enemy watches and waits.
The devil’s primary objective, according to the gospel of John, is to steal, kill and destroy. It’s not a matter of if he will strike, but when.
Will we be watching?
Will we be ready?
Or will be on the pride’s dinner menu?