Our adversary, Satan, the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. We must be watchful at all times to protect our spiritual life.
As I mentioned during the announcements, ABC graduation is tomorrow. We are all looking forward to that. It has been an exciting class year and the afternoon's sermon will be addressing the students directly. I happened to discuss with Mr. Myers what he is planning to cover (the sermon), and he will be talking about the calling that our students have as part of God's family in the Church and the blessing of being able to dedicate an entire year to study all of God's word in an educational setting where all the classes are all focused around or covering directly God's word. I mean, how good is that, to have an entire year in your educational experience to study the Bible. A wonderful opportunity for them and now ahead of them will be opportunities for service, a chance to represent God's way in all that they say and do and likely never experienced before, to truly be ambassadors for Christ which is of course – that is 2 Corinthians 5:20 2 Corinthians 5:20Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be you reconciled to God.
American King James Version× – that is where we came up with the name of Ambassador College so many decades ago which lives on through the Ambassador Bible Center.
What I want to address today is a little bit different. It has developed in an analogy and I think you will probably figure the analogy out after you begin to hear the first part of the story. An analogy of the challenges that our ABC students are going to be facing now that they head out to wherever they have to go, whether to finish their educations or resume their careers or decide what they actually are going to study and do in life. There will be challenges and even dangers. We live in a dangerous age. So, you will understand the analogy. You may have to bear with this for just a couple of minutes but you can be turning to 1 Peter 5 – you'll figure that out right away.
"He's going to tear my head of. That terrifying thought flashed through my mind as the lion straggling me opened his bloodied mouth and lowered his head toward my face." I am sorry, this is a shocking – we have out here, outside our window here at the home office today, a tiny little deer of probably four or five days old. He is sleeping in the grass, which shows that the grass hasn't been mowed recently with all the rain. We have to wait till it dries a bit otherwise we end up with big ruts in the lawn but his momma thought that was a nice safe place for him to be while she is off grazing and feeding elsewhere. Not far, I am sure but just out of our sight. The little Bambi is curled up there, licking himself and looking around and listening to the noise of people chattering as we moved up to the windows watching him and taking pictures. It's a beautiful scene. It will probably scare him if he can hear what I am talking about.
So the lion is reaching for his face: "I was going to die. I hoped it would be fast and painless but I knew it couldn't be. My rifle bullets have disabled the lion enough to change him from an efficient killer to a crazed, dazed beast, capable of only slowly and agonizingly tearing me to shreds. But I couldn't die. I had to fight back. I had to do something. What? I couldn't run. The lion had mangled one of my legs in his first charge. I couldn't shoot for I had nothing to shoot with. From that first charge he snatched my rifle from me and flung it out of reach. When his foul, stinking mouth was only inches from my face I forced my arms up, grasped and thrust both of my hands between his jaws, grasped his tongue and jerked on it with all my strength. The tongue was rough, rasp-like and easy to grip." Check that out with your kitty cats when you get home. Cat tongues are very, very rough and rippable, which is how they drink. They have to get liquids up into there somehow.
"I grabbed it tight and held on and to make my grasp even tighter I wedged my elbow in one side of the lion's mouth to gain more leverage. The lion swung his head away but I hung on to the tongue desperately. A roar from the lion's throat came out as a stinking gurgle in my face. His teeth came down on my elbow and I heard a cracking sound. A fang went into my wrist and a severed artery splattered blood into my face. Pain roared through my guts as you can imagine. The sky began to tilt and darkened. 'No', I said to myself, 'you can't pass out. You've got to fight. You wretched beast!' I shouted. 'You stinking godless devil!' "
Now I thought that was a particularly appropriated thing for him to think. 1 Peter 5 makes it clear. We will get to that in just a moment. " 'You can't kill me. I will jerk your tongue out of your insides before I will let you kill me!' For a moment the big cat lay still, his eyes unblinking and his forelegs circled behind me and I felt his claws digging into my back. I closed my eyes and waited for the ripping convulsions that would tear muscles from my back but he just held on to me. 'I am still alive', I told myself, opening my eyes and staring into the sun. 'Look, the sun is red. Maybe, maybe I am dead and have gone to a place where the sun is always supposed to be red. Maybe it is only the blood in my eyes. Blink your eyes and see'. I blinked and the sun was white. 'See', said the same voice within me, a dream within a dream. 'You are alive and in a terrible fix'. I struggled to clear my mind but the only thought that would come to me was how stupid I have been to get into such a foul-up" and I will tell you the rest of the story as we go along.
Now let's look here at 1 Peter 5. "A stinking, godless devil". Now he meant it in a different way. We look at it as having very significant spiritual implications. Here the apostle Peter has been instructing the elders in the church to be good shepherds of God's flock. It is almost like a graduation address in the first verses.
1 Peter 5: 7 Casting all your cares upon Him, because He cares for you.
And then he warns: He said:
V.8 – Be sober, be vigilant; - be on the watch - because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
V.9 – Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.
V.10 – But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
V.11 – To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
So in the midst of this very uplifting address is the warning: Be watchful. We have an adversary. We have an enemy. He does not like us. The devil is our enemy. He is compared to a roaring, angry lion. He hates us as God's people; He hates God's church in general. In fact, you stop and think about it, Satan - which in the namesake means adversary; the word devil means slanderer or accuser and so we know that those are elements of his character – he just hates people. Not just us. He hates people because people have an incredible human potential. We are made a little lower than the angels but we will be resurrected to a level of existence higher than the angels. That is in Hebrews 2 and elsewhere.
He hates that because he was once a holy angel. Now he is an unholy angel; that is what he is now. His purpose is to destroy - one of his names - destroy as much as he can. Further, the devil hates God. Satan does not like God; does not like Jesus Christ. He hates God, he hates God's plan, he hates God's way. He is literally, in that sense, a godless devil. So you see the words of – the fellow's name was Lew Games in Africa. That is excerpted, by the way, from an Outdoor Life Magazine article from several decades ago. The words he used are certainly applicable when we read this scripture and we take them in the context of the scripture. Satan will attack all, sometimes in the open and sometimes very subtly, like the serpent was more subtle than all the beasts of the field and other descriptions of his character. So he will attack in the open like a lion does and sometimes more subtly. Lions don't always attack in the open and we will get into that.
Therefore we need to be aware. We must learn to be lion-fighters or better, we must learn to be "fighting the devil-lion". That is the title: Fighting the devil lion. Because of the analogy we will connect the words devil and lion together. If you remember this sermon you will probably just remember it as the lion sermon, however. It has been my experience in the past. Now we have just read the analogy there: our adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour and lions do that.
Let's look at another scripture and you are going to be amazed how much there is about lions in the Bible.
Psalm 10 – Presumably one of David's because most of the first part of the Psalms were written by David. David had some experience with lions. We will touch on that account a little bit later in the sermon but again there is much in the Bible about lions and I think it is appropriate in verse 2, we have a term that is used to mean hubris or pride in the sense that –we don't use the Latin word hubris. I presume it is Latin anyway. (It is actually Greek). We typically say pride in America.
Psalms 10:2 Psalms 10:2The wicked in his pride does persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined.
American King James Version× The wicked in his pride persecutes the poor;
When I get to the rest of the story you will find out that the lion that attacked that man was part of a pride of lions, so there is interesting word-play there and I wonder why, whoever it was that named what groups of things were, somebody did that in English anyway. Lions as a group are called a pride. Geese as a group are called a gaggle. Birds in general of course are flocks. Let's me see; there is a cubby of quail; herds of deer – I think deer are in herds but gaggles of geese and prides of lions. What is it? There is something of crows. It is derogatory. A murder of crows – that's it! Yes, thank you. A murder of crows. Whoever came up with the names, if it was Noah Webster or whoever, he didn't like crows but there probably is a reason why he chose "pride" for lions. When we talk about lions maybe that will become clear. Therefore I think verse 2 provides a good introduction to verses a little bit later.
V.2 – The wicked in his pride persecutes the poor; Who is the worst of the wicked? Satan. The roaring lion who goes about seeking whom he may devour. Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised. He is ultimately the plotter of destruction and evil and sin.
Now, come down to verse 8 and we notice something about lions.
V.8 – He sits in the lurking places of the villages; In the secret places he murders the innocent; His eyes are secretly fixed on the helpless.
V.9 – He lies in wait secretly, as a lion in his den; He lies in wait to catch the poor; He catches the poor when he draws him into his net.
V.10 – So he crouches, he lies low, - when a big cat crouches he has a sort of hunched shoulder because the shoulder blades pivot up slightly. Their entire leg and shoulder and hip system is designed to be a like a coil spring, in metal language. Cats can leap terrifying far for their size. Lions, being large, can leap much further than other cats. So he crouches, he lies low, that the helpless may fall by his strength.
V.11 He has said in his heart, "God has forgotten; He hides His face; He will never see."
So again we have a description of a godless lion. He doesn't think God is powerful; doesn't think about God really at all. He removes God from his thoughts which is said in verse 4
V.4 – The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts.
Now as we study the wicked anytime in the Bible, whether in this sermon or any other sermon or reading by ourselves, we realize the lesson about studying the wicked is that we don't want to be like that. We want to follow God. We don't want to be in a pride, either a lion pride or you know the regular human pride. We don't want to be somebody who lurks or has a murderous intent who is constantly, secretly doing things that are destructive to others. We don't want to do that. We want to be like Christ is. We want to serve, follow His example. He operates in the open and is friendly. Lions can be lurking destroyers.
I was reading a story – I have a collection of books about big game and animals and explorers and that sort of thing, so you get to read some stories and in this one story the writer, who is a lion professional hunter and a man-eater hunter as well, the game commission in several countries in Africa periodically would hire him in years past to come and hunt down man-eating lions.
The spoor, he says, tells the story. The spoor are the tracks and if he couldn't read the spoor himself, this particular fellow had an assistant who was a gun-bearer tracker named Silent. Now he was a native tribesman from that area of Africa and he could read the dirt like we read a book. He can tell you everything that happened over night or over the past few hours or maybe a day or more. Some people are phenomenal trackers and can know the detail and know exactly what it means.
Then he reconstructed the story: It was nearly a moonless night and the lion was hunched down, hunched shoulders, – he describes it – crouched down on his belly watching the humans in the village. And then everything got quiet and he could hear the rhythmic breathing. Then he picked up his ears; he flattened to the ground; he creeps across the open space between two huts and he freezes you know, when he comes to the edge, looking. You know how cats do – you watch your cat try to stalk a mouse or a bird. We try to make our cats not stalk birds. Well, it depends. There are some birds they can stalk: starlings and English sparrows and I am not prejudiced against starlings and English sparrows, we just have more than enough of them. Winston and Clementine will do this: they will get down on their belly and they will move and Winston is easy to see because he is orange. Clementine on the other hand is a tortoise shell, so she's got this phenomenal camouflage look to her and if she freezes in position and she is anywhere near dirt she just looks so much like dirt and you've got to watch to see her move. She is very, very slow when she moves.
So the lion was doing that. He was in that kind of frozen position and he saw three adult forms in the shadows by the side of the hut in the dying embers of the small fire. And then he laid perfectly still, as the writer said, deciding which man would die because he was a man-eater. Those are the worst kind of lions, you know, particularly for us, because we are people, humans. Man-eaters like to eat people.
A cat can start to move and they just kind of ooze along, so he oozes along through the shadows towards the three sleeping men. He sniffs the first two and decides it is the last one that he wants – their heads, sniffing their heads and they are sound asleep. Crunch, the fangs pierce the brain. The person dies like that and he slowly extracts him from beside the other two without ever waking them up. The tracks tell the whole story and then he drags him a little ways away, shifts his bite to the shoulder of the limp individual now, carries him about three miles away into the brush. A hyena picks up the track and hovers near the lion wanting part of it but the lion just growls and the hyena knows he better stand and hold his distance or he will be the next thing on the menu, and then he ate the person.
Now it was the job of the fellow who wrote the book; it was his job to come back and kill that lion. Which nearly got him killed in the process. That was the ninth person that lion had killed. So the lurking within the villages; watching the people in the dark; of moving slowly through the shadows; that is the tactic of the wicked, of Satan. We must be very careful. We can fall into the trap of mimicking Satan in our approach if we focus too much on ourselves and not on others.
Lions are pretty remarkable creatures in the way God made them. It is called Pantharaleo in its official language. They once ranged through all of Africa except through the heavily forested jungles. Lions are not kings of the jungle. They are kings of the beasts, the king of beasts, is what they are typically called. Sometimes people say they are the king of the jungle but lions don't live in jungles. You are more likely to find a lion in a barren desert than you are in a heavy forest. They are plains cats for the most part; broken country and plains.
In historic times we have evidence, and this would be from writings and inscriptions of ancient times, that they inhabited Eastern Europe, all the way through Romania and quite probably down into Italy and then across to Turkey and the Caucuses to central India, and India still has a population of Indian lions over there. Popular literature frequently categorizes the lion as a creature of the jungle and I mentioned that he is not found in the forest but rather in the plains.
He is not the largest of cats. The largest cat in the world today, because we know we go back and get the saber tooth lions of fossil record, they were bigger than any of these, but the largest cats of our era of history since whenever that was, the flood or whenever the elders were thinned out a bit, are the Siberian tiger. The Siberian tigers are bigger, longer, taller, and heavier. However, the African lion, a good solid specimen will weigh about 400 pounds. How much does your cat weigh? We used to have a Maine Coon cat named Duke, years ago. He lived 19 years. He was like a 120 human years old when he died. Well, he weighed 20 pounds in the wintertime. The Maine Coon cats are just big and the cats we have now, Winston and Clementine, guess who they are named after, are similar to him but I think they are basically Ohio-woods cats. I think it is the cat that they – when they revert to their natural condition I think their genes, this is my theory, are the Norwegian Forest Cat probably brought over by the Vikings and they are tree climbers. These two love to climb trees. Winston weighs about, when he is fat, 15 pounds. Clementine is taller but she is slender and so she maybe weighs 12 at the most. So you compare that to a cat that weighs 400 pounds. But they get bigger than that. The real trophy African lions get a lot bigger.
The man-eaters of Tsavo: They were the two man-eaters that stopped the building of the Mombasa-Uganda Railroad in Kenya back in 1898. It was Colonel Patterson who was the engineer responsible for building the bridge. They stopped – see, if you stop a bridge, then you stop the railroad. These man-eaters kept eating the workers some times not far from where the other workers were. They were very brazen man-eaters. They do not know how many African tribesmen they ate because they later found in their den many, many bones, but they ate twenty-eight Indian workers who had been imported to build that railroad – brought over from India – to the point that they finally quit working until the cats were sorted out. A few British were killed and the sorting out was the job of the engineer in charge. He ultimately got both of them after they almost got him.
They made a movie about that and it was called The Ghosts in the Darkness. It didn't follow the story – I've read the story. He wrote a book about it and I read others who had done research and written books about it as well, and they didn't follow the story exactly, but mostly. What they did manage to do was to create a sense of fear and it is probably what a mouse feels of being hunted by a cat many times your size; the sense of fear that humans can get from cats. That's why I like watching the movie – just for a good scare now and then.
Tigers will get up to that and it is an interesting tid-bit, I will toss it in for whatever it is worth: With their skins off you can't tell a tiger carcass from a lion carcass unless you are a remarkable expert. Regular experts can't do it. You have to be a remarkable one and part of that reasons is because the two cats will readily interbreed. So if you have a Liger - that means the father was a lion and the mother was a tiger. If you have a Tiglon then the father was the tiger and the mother was the lion. Only the people in India know much about that because that is the only place where you have two populations of the cats, the two cats, both locally available to observe and I thought you might want to know all of those extra tid-bits about lions. It helps us understand the size and capability of the man-eaters of Tsavo.
In one account, one of them grabbed a very large worker - and the workers would sleep in a boma. A boma is an enclosure made from thorn bush which they would weave together to be almost impenetrable for anybody else, and they would, because of the danger, they were making them 12 feet high. This is what the Africans have for who knows how many centuries. They would make boma's for their cattle and then they would put them there at night when they needed to go off duty as far as herding, and they would be protected from most lions. This boma was 10 or 12 feet high and the lion forced his way through it, grabbed the person he killed and was going to eat, and then jumped over the top of it, with that man in its mouth.
Now when you realize you are up against a cat capable of that it strikes a little fear in your heart. It is something you don't take lightly, and that is important when we are up against the spiritual lion that goes about roaring, trying to devour us. We don't take that lightly. We need to think about that.
Let's notice 2 Corinthians 4:4 2 Corinthians 4:4In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine to them.
American King James Version× now with this analogy in mind and the story that we started with and try and finish before we are done. If I don't I will just leave him there - poor guy, hanging onto the cat's tongue! We need to read back up a little bit to get the context.
2 Corinthians 4:1 2 Corinthians 4:1Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;
American King James Version× Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.
When you are facing something as dangerous as a man-eater - and you will see how this fits in here in a minute - you have to be brave. I mean this fellow was doing a pretty brave thing. In an act of desperation he grabbed the thing by the tongue and then jabbed his elbow up in the corner of the mouth, which prevents the mouth from coming down. Now it did help a little bit that his first bullet probably damaged the jaw slightly because he did hit it with a bullet. It is a wounded lion that he is fighting, if that gives you any encouragement as we anticipate the end of the story; that is why he was figuring he might be able to outlast the lion. That is why it was bleeding on him because he had already shot it once.
V.1 Since we have this ministry, (aswell) as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart. You have to be brave.
V.2 – But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, - We don't like things that are of the devil. We are not walking in craftiness.
You know when we talk about Satan being a lurking, wicked being – craftiness is that context. That is how it is being used here. Some of you are very crafty because you can make things for your house. You can cook well; you can draw pictures or paint pictures. That is all very crafty but that is a different kind of crafty than meant here. This craftiness is dishonesty. It is the tricky, devilish kind of craftiness and appropriately called devilish.
…… nor handling the word of God deceitfully, - certainly, since we are looking at the ABC graduation we stop and think about that for a minute. For a year we have been teaching these students, and they had been a very good class – one of the quieter classes that had come through ABC but in my opinion one of the thinkingest classes as well, which is better. I like that.
Not handling the word of God deceitfully, - we don't teach them to do that. We teach them to use God's word honestly. But we know, because we can see how Christianity has been hoodwinked and deceived down through the centuries; how the Church itself has been hammered from time to time in a similar way in our era and those before where we have tid-bits of history of it, we can see where God's word has been used deceitfully.
Today, according to one individual that is highly publicized this last week even in USA Today, I think today is the day the rapture is supposed to start in New Zealand at 6 'o clock. I don't know that he is trying to be deceitful but he has been the victim of deceit to come up with that. I mean it violates the clear statement that we don't know the day or the hour and he doesn't either and there isn't going to be a rapture anyway and besides that I thought the rapture is supposed to happen all over the world at the same time. This kind of takes the excitement out of it, if it starts way over there at the international dateline and then slowly works it's way around the earth and people are just disappearing gradually. You can call ahead and find out: Oh, well, let me see. I have time to finish dinner before… We do not want to be deceived so we misuse God's word nor do we want to deceitfully use God's word. That is the way the king of the satanic beast does it.
But by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God. That is what we want to do: want to be a manifestation of God's truth.
V.3 – But even if our gospel is veiled, (if it is) it is veiled to those who are perishing, in the world. Much of the world will perish in the days ahead. We also know that they will live again and we will work with them again but to most of society throughout history, the Gospel of the Kingdom has been veiled. It is veiled to those who are perishing,
V.4 – whose minds the god of this age (or of this world) has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
They are blinded because the god of this world, the lion, who goes about seeking whom he may devour and does a lot of roaring, deceitful roaring, is trying to destroy them. You see, lions indeed, they are the king of beasts in that regard. So we renounce the hidden things of shame. We do not want to walk in craftiness nor do we want to be handling the word of God deceitfully. That is not God's way. That is the way of Satan; that is the way of the spiritual lion that we are having to deal with.
He is also an angry tyrant and there is a lesson about lions in that too. Evidence of this is in Revelation 12 and of course we understand Revelation 12 talks about the church being taken out of circulation, I mean wide circulation up to the Middle Ages, and then later it has a prophecy about the end of the age.
Revelation 12:3 Revelation 12:3And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns on his heads.
American King James Version× And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads.
V.4 – His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and – this is one of the places where we recognize that Satan deceived a third of the angels.
One of our ministers many years ago was talking to two people that had come on to the campus of Ambassador College out west and realized after a while he wasn't talking to the individuals; He was talking to demonic spirits who possessed these poor guys and so I don't know why he thought about it but he did it anyway. He asked them: So why did you rebel? And the answer was remarkable: Because the other way had never been tried and we didn't believe that it wasn't better. Now, that's an interesting anecdotal point but it would certainly seem to be sound when you analyze the great falling of the angels: Why did Satan rebel and then why did a third of the angles listen to him? He deceitfully used God's word. God spoke His word; that was God's word at that time. He was crafty; he was lurking; he was a destroyer as he began to form his nature and his satanic versus his luciferic light bringing nature. They began to listen. How did he do that? Why did they fall for it? Well, angels had to make some decisions at that time and they made the wrong one as the Knight in the third Indiana Jones movie would say, not the fourth one, but the third one: They chose unwisely. They very much did.
V.4 – He threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth – this is back when Christ was born as a child and God of course prevented that and then protected the Church down through the centuries so that it would always exist.
V.7 – And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought – Michael is thearchangel – with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought,
V.8 – but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.
Now we think and are fairly convinced, I believe, that this is a second battle, that there was a previous one eons before us. We don't know when, but eons before the creation of man at the very least, where Satan attacked God's throne as it is described in Isaiah 14, that passage about his rebellion from verses 12 to 15, and he was struck down and the reason that we think so is because of Luke 10:18 Luke 10:18And he said to them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.
American King James Version× where the disciples were marveling at the fact – they had been sent out on a test-run to preach the gospel, heal the sick and cast out the demons. They were amazed that the demons were subject to them by the authority Christ gave them and they had to leave and they did. And Christ responded as He listened to their reports when they all came back and He said: I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.
Now when we think well, this one is here in verse 7 of Revelation 12, this is an end-time thing based on the following verses - so there was a time when Christ saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven which implies that Jesus Himself struck him down. In this battle the devil is not even given the respect of Jesus Christ battling him. He sends Michael, the archangel, to do it. Now we don't know if Michael and Lucifer may have both been archangels. We know that Lucifer was a cherubim, one of the cherubim whose wings overshadowed the throne of God at times. Maybe Michael is too. They seem to be of similar rank.
Revelation 12:7 Revelation 12:7And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
American King James Version× …. Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought,
V.8 - but they did not prevail, (the dragon didn't – that is Satan) nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer.
V.9 – so the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, - in case you wonder who the dragon was. He is called the Devil and Satan - who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
An angry tyrant and then, being cast out, there comes a warning for our time.
V.10 – Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, - remember devil means accuser or slanderer – who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.
V.11 – "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb – this is the lion we have to stop – and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.
V.12 – "Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time." Great wrath.
Now when we finish the story about the lion attack and the tongue that is being held, there is a little background that shows the anger element. Lions that decide to be man-eaters are remarkable in that they tend to have weird reasons for eating people. Sometimes they are old and sometimes they are wounded. They don't have enough teeth to catch anything else so they try to catch people but what they have often found is in the case of the man-eaters of Tsavo in 1898, they are perfectly healthy specimens. In fact, they are fat. I guess we have a lot of calories, you know - human beings do. They are fat and healthy and there is no reason why they need to be man-eaters as people are pretty easy prey when you get down to it but they just have what some writers describe as a, it is alike a psychological disease to hunt people.
Lions aren't alone. Tigers do too. I don't know how many people the man-eaters of Tsavo killed. There were only 28 workers and they almost killed Patterson but he managed to kill them first, but they don't know how many African natives they killed. They know there were many. However the man-eating Tigress of Chawgarh, this is in India up in the Kumaon Province next to the Himalayas in North West India, killed at least 625 – confirmed kills, and they figured that there were at least twice that many. There were many more that they didn't know about. One tiger, and she ate all those people. Remember tigers and lions are quite interchangeable for our analogy. Tigers live in jungles and it is easier for them to lurk behind bushes and leaves and things like that.
The devil knows that he has but a short time and he gets angry and lions have personalities and proclivities. In fact some times the cartoons of lazy lions and happy lions is actually true because they exhibit various characteristics that describe that. They differ as much in disposition as in appearance. It isn't just in children's books that we see lazy and happy lions or timid lions or brave ones. When you read about lions enough as this particular author did, you will find that there are lions that are tyrants. They get into tantrums. They work themselves into a rage and you don't see that as obvious in all animals. Some horses will do that. Many stallions in particular but among the felines, lions are like that and tigers as well. So we see an angry tyrant; anger toward God; anger toward anything that is identified with God. What we are talking about now is some sort of insane influence that seems to grip man-eaters.
Let's go to Jude 3.
Jude 3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.
Contend earnestly for the true faith. Now that is our weapon in combating the influences of the devil.
V.4 – For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now you don't have to deny the Father or Christ in words. You can deny them by your actions too. We need to be aware of them. We know enough not to deny God via our words but it is easier and more dangerous to follow in the trap of denying them by our actions: How we treat the word of God; how we treat other people; how we conduct ourselves in every way.
V.5 – But I want to remind you, though you once knew this, that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe.
There were consequences for the denial of God. The older generation in the Exodus denied Him; denied His power and they had to be chastised for that.
V.6 – And the angels – notice now we shifted to again the subject of the angels and ultimately the demons – the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, - meaning they left the truth faith that God expected the angels to hold.
God is faithful to us and He expects us to be faithful to Him. He was faithful to the angels and He expects them to be faithful to Him too. That is God's way. But there were angels who did not maintain that proper domain of loving God and respecting Him and honoring Him and they left their place. They decided they wanted to be God. I will ascend to the Most High; I will do this; I will do that, is what Satan said.
V.6 ……. He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day;
V.7 – as Sodom and Gomorrah, - There is a punishment for the angels in Tartaroo, that portion of hell, the true hell of the Bible – and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
V.8 – Likewise also these dreamers – whether they are demons or the people who listen in to Satan's wavelength, even among the church at times - these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries.
And they shouldn't do that. You know why? We will look at the example of Michael, the archangel.
V.9 – Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses,
God had Moses buried where the Israelites couldn't find him. He didn't want Moses's body to become an idol to the Israelites because they are suckers for idols. We have always been that. That was the mistake Gideon made when he had a golden censor made out of some of the gold that he looted from the Amalekites, or the Midianites primarily, that he defeated. That censor became an idol to successive generations of Israelites and they know better. They don't do better, is the problem and that is a historical proclivity.
We are spiritual Israel now in the Church no matter whether we are of Israelite-physical background or of Gentile background, it doesn't matter. We are spiritual Israel and that proclivity of wanting to idolize things is still with us. Why do you think we have media-idols? They have a far undue influence on the population in their behavior as such.
V.9 – Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"
Michael spoke somewhat respectfully I would say, of the devil. Now I wondered about that and we don't really know but I suspect - this is my theory - that they were of a similar rank so he was not in a higher rank where he could, you know, rebuke the devil directly. When they were both holy angels I suspect they were of similar rank. Instead of invoking that rank, he had not been hired in that, he appealed to the greater rank of God. "The Lord rebuke you!" Sometimes we forget the power of a statement but this is a powerful statement. Satan was not respectful to Michael, nor to anybody else.
V.10 – Like Satan, these speak evil of whatever they do not know; and whatever they know naturally, like brute beasts, in these things they corrupt themselves.
V.11 – Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah.
We don't want to follow the way of the wicked. The wicked follow the way of Satan so we have to be aware. It is wrong-headed thinking but it is a spirit that works in this world.
Ephesians 2 – Paul talks about the Church in the first verse and he talks about people who have repented. Yesterday we baptized one of our ABC students in a creek. She didn't want to be baptized in warm water; she wanted to be baptized in cold water! So we did and it was a wonderful, exciting time and that ceremony is the way God makes us alive. It is through baptism, followed with the laying on of the hands and receipt of God's Spirit that we come alive spiritually. We lead up to that as prospective members or children growing up in the faith and then we cross the Rubicon, as they say, cross the ultimate bridge.
Ephesians 2: 1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,
We are not dead in them anymore when we repent and allow Christ to take on the penalty in our stead.
V.2 – in which you once walked according to the course of this world,
Now if you grew up in the Church you tend to walk less in it (the course of this world) but you do walk in it to some degree and remember one sin is all it takes, just one, and that sin doesn't have to be an action, it just can be a thought. Not a word, not an act, just a thought. Think one selfish thought and you are dead in the waters as they say of battle ships that have no power. You are dead in the water and you have to have Christ's forgiveness. He has to take the penalty, if it is only one sin in all your life you committed - God didn't mention that because we commit, being human, sins sometimes in the morning and sometimes in the evening. We are fallible. Christ is not. He is infallible. So we once walked though (in the world), once this was our normal course of life. Now it is not.
V.2 – in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, - and that is referring to Satan – the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience,
The spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience. There is an attitude and a spirit that he is able to project as a fallen angel and we have to conquer that. That is his lion-like way of trying to destroy us.
V.3 – among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
So Satan is that as well: wrathful. Now we painted a picture here: a picture of destruction, a picture of the evil, the danger that we face. Do we have any encouragement? I will tell you this: that the individual in the story that we started with, survived. He did get chewed on but he did survive.
Let me give you the background of it. He actually had gone (to Zimbabwe)– he was a rancher in Zimbabwe that was called Rhodesia at the time – it was a few decades ago. He had a ranch there and his neighbor was a rancher too so he had to make a trip to a big city some distance away and asked him to look after his property. A friend happened to pop by and he said, well, I have to go and patrol Charlie's cattle and make sure the lions aren't eating them and he grabbed an elephant gun, a 458 Winchester Magnum, and stuffed it full of cartridges and put a few more in his pocket I suppose, and off they went.
They drove around and came to one of his kraals, which is an enclosure very similar to our term coral, where we have a pen for cattle and there were cattle grazing near the kraal and around the cattle they could see from their vantage point – they were up on a ridge – they could see a pride of lions stalking the herd. And so he said, well, we have to head those off. Now this is not uncommon but there were 11 lions. That was an unusually large amount in that pride in that sense and they drove down and they all began to move off but very begrudgingly. Normally a vehicle will scare them away and they didn't want to go away. In fact there were several that were snarling and snapping and so he told his friend, who was actually just a photographer, he said, well, I need to sort out these cheeky ones. That was their term for anything that stands up to you and doesn't back away like they are supposed to.
When he got out with his rifle the first lion went down dead with a bullet in its brain and the next one made two bluff charges and that is where they come at you. By the way, lions don't leap and bounce. You can tell when they are charging because they run low and fast and straight and their tail is straight up in the air. So if you see a lion with his tail straight in the air and he is fixing to run, you are going to have a boarding party quickly. They can break 40 miles an hour on a charge. Now they are not going to charge a long distance but if they run a 100 yards at 40 or so miles an hour, some say it is faster, they can be here in about 3 seconds. What can you do in three seconds? Run away? If you are the fastest sprinter on human feet, you can do 100 yards but yours will be in 10 seconds or slightly under. You can do about 20 miles an hour, maybe 21. Forty will outdistance you. Now that is not the fastest lion charge. Now you see this is a little scary that they can outrun you that fast.
This one came at him and he had his rifle up. The big mane lion came straight at him, snarling and snapping and slid to a halt and threw dirt all over him. He just held the gun and watched it. The lion just walked away, snapping bushes. It was working itself into a rage, angry and a spirit of anger was certainly there, and then it came again and did the same thing. Then he got even angrier and started snapping and he was wondering what in the world it was doing that for. He's got a gun – can't he tell that? Guess lions can't!
So it came the third time and this time he decided it is not going to stop so he fired the first shot. It should have killed it – it hit it by the eye, but it didn't, and it threw it over backwards and back into some brush and then suddenly it was back up again and dodged around behind another patch of grass, faster and in just in a couple of seconds, before he knew it, it was on top of him. It had come out from behind the brush. He swung his gun around and knocked him down. For a minute it had the nozzle of the gun in its mouth but he couldn't get its bolt closed fast enough because he was just ejecting the second shell, because he shot at it a second time. He couldn't get it closed fast enough to fire because that would have been easy.
So what he did is he knocked him down and then all he could do when it came for his head is slam the gun up into its mouth sideways. The lion grabbed the gun and snapped it away, yards away, grabbed the man's foot and shook him by his foot and dragged him away, except that he dragged him right by the rifle. So he grabbed the rifle, worked the bolt shut, pulled the trigger, expecting a dead lion because there was one bullet left in the gun and nothing happened. So he yanked it open again and he saw that the lion's mouth had clammed down on the gun so hard it had bent the magazine and the cartridge was stuck down there. It couldn't come up and he had - again I find these sentences too good to not actually read them.
"Desperately I worked the action, open and shut and jerked the trigger and, nothing. The magazine couldn't be empty. I knew it had one more. When the lion snatched the rifle from my hand his powerful teeth had pierced the stock and bent the magazine. The cartridge that could save my life was hopelessly jammed." And this gives you an inkling of his bravery. He says: "Until that awful realization I felt that I was on top of the situation even when the beast was dragging me by the feet." Some people are just tougher than us, I guess. "Now the weight of my predicament came crashing down and I knew I was done for."
Well at that point we cut back to the action where we were and he thought that he might outlast the lion because the blood in his face, when he cleared his eyes, it wasn't his. Just some of it was his. Most of it was the lion's. Then he remembered the truck because his friend came driving up in the Land Rover. "What do I do?" he said. "Run over the lion?" He said: "I might kill you". He said: "I'd rather be killed being run over than being killed by a lion". So he tried to do that but as he would charge the lion with the Land Rover, the lion would just pick up the man, who had his tongue, and dragged him like a rag doll for a few yards and the other lions were closing in. So and so has got lunch – we are going to have something to eat here!
So every time he did that, the lion would move him. Finally the other lions moved in. He said, "Chase them off first". So he took off after them but that scared the lion with the man who had the tongue in his hands and it dragged him across, down into and up onto the other side of a dry wash, which is like a sharp little ravine that gets cut out in the rainy season, and the nearest crossing for the vehicle was a quarter mile away. So he hollered to his friend to go up there fast because the other lions were starting to move over again.
He came roaring back down and he said, "Try to hit it," and he said, "I am going to let go when you get close and jump into the vehicle". So he came charging down as fast as he could, right at the lion, and sure enough, Lew Games let go of the tongue, rolled out from under the lion because it was going to attack the vehicle. But then he had the lion between him and the Land Rover so he went up over its back. With his good foot he pushed off from the lion's back and landed in the back of the truck and then the lion jumped onto the truck.
I don't know whether you know but the Land Rover is like a Jeep, except a Jeep is an imitation of a Land Rover. They didn't have sheet metal in those days. They all had aluminum bodies. The lion jumped up front and instantly its mouth was inches from the driver's face. The windshield was laid down. It was an open car. He hit reverse and gunned the motor and the lion dug gouges in the bonnet, as they call it there, as it came off the vehicle.
Then it was a mad rush to get back to the ranch to get something to doctor the wounds because lion wounds always go very septic because they have bits of rotten flesh in their teeth and in their claws. The infection will kill you if the wounds themselves don't. They called ahead and had to cross a national border that was not a friendly border, to get to the nearest hospital that was 60 miles away on pretty rough roads, and the injured man consumed brandy and whisky. He was pouring some of it in his wounds and drinking it for a painkiller. A hundred fifty four injuries on him needed stitches - without any further painkiller! When they asked him what his blood type was, he said "Vat 69" by the time he got there! So he survived.
It was a murderous cat. Literally, it was actually a female with a mane. Very, very seldom does that happen but females of the species tend to be more aggressive than the males. The males are bad enough.
They are great confusion causers. If you turn to Judges 14 I will tell you about one that got sorted out. We have other lion fighters in our history. These are pretty terrifying beasts physically and we are up against one that is spirit. We need to understand that we have a heritage of lion fighters in the background that can give us a little courage. You know it has been done before in another way.
Lions will hunt by the lionesses moving downwind of a herd of either antelope or even Cape buffalo – they will take those on, too – then the males move upwind and then they roar and of course that frightens the herd of whatever it is, and they run downwind into the ambush and then the females, the lionesses, pull them down. The lionesses get to do most of the work in that particular tribe.
Judges 14 – this is the story of Samson. You remember Samson did a lot of powerful things but one of the first feats of strength was actually dealing with a lion. He was going down to visit his girlfriend.
V.5 – So Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother, and came to the vineyards of Timnah. Now to his surprise, as he was walking along, this one day, a young lion came roaring against him.
So here is a lion that roared and attacked him, and a young one. Now when we say young – if it is young and it is roaring it is really not that young. It is older than the Bambi that is lying outside the window there, taking a nap in the grass waiting for its mother. This one would probably be a year or two years old to be called a young one, I suppose, which means it is only going to weigh probably in the neighborhood of 300 pounds – not yet fully grown. What did Samson weigh? Well, he probably was 200 pounds, strong as he was, but he was a Danite and they are not noted for height. He might have been even less than 200 pounds. Just phenomenally strong.
V.6 – And the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and he tore the lion apart as one would have torn apart a young goat, though he had nothing in his hand. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done.
You know how that will make them worry. Even though it was Samson, it would still make them worry so he didn't bother them. Now I don't know how you would tear apart a young goat, but a young goat is just a kid. They are not very strong. A kid would just be slightly bigger than our little Bambi out there and a strong man who was in a fit of temper could kill a little animal like that quite easily. And that is how Samson killed a half-grown lion. That gives you some idea – it is kind of amazing.
Now let's go to 1 Samuel 17. Don't forget, David was also a lion killer.
This is when David is going to go up against Goliath but he has to get permission to be the champion of Israel. Now remember the battle: this is the champion battle where you send out your best soldiers and they fight to the death and whoever wins well, then, that side wins the war and then they get to loot the other side and make them their slaves.
1 Samuel 17:34 1 Samuel 17:34And David said to Saul, Your servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock:
American King James Version× But David said to Saul, "Your servant used to keep his father's sheep," and now David was the youngest of his brothers so he was considered to be just a youth but he was a fairly well built youth, I imagine. "Your servant used to keep his father's sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock,
V.35 – I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it.
So David had killed lion and bear. The bears of the Middle East are approximately the size of our Black Bears in America but of much iller tempers – worse dispositions. The lions I already told you about; they are in the 350-pound class for the really big ones.
I thought about this and I know something about dealing with predators. When a bear or a lion has a lamb in his mouth and is leaving the flock, the lamb is not alive. It is dead. So when he "delivered" it out of its mouth it meant they didn't get to eat it. It was dead. So David is not in a rescue mission. He is on a predator control mission. He is protecting the rest of the flock so he attacks the bear or the lion. We will deal with just the lion. He attacks the lion and he hits it and it drops the lamb and then it turns on him. Then he goes hand-to-hand with it.
So what does he hit it with? I thought about that. He was good with the sling. He killed Goliath but Goliath's forehead wasn't protected by shielding and so that is pretty easy to take a guy down but then he cut his head off later so the stone didn't kill him. The decapitation did. You could use the sling, and David would have been extremely accurate with the sling, that is possible, but I suspect he struck from ambush. He saw the predation of his flock; the predator's leaving with a morsel of food but he is going to come back because one lamb isn't enough, so he comes down over the bushes or rock and a shepherd had a staff. What else did he have? A rod. "Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me". David's own words.
The rod was a club. The staff was a crooked stick for capturing a sheep to look after it. You can reach out and hook them around the neck and then they couldn't run away and then you can get hold of their wool. All you have to do is get a fist full of wool, and you can check it out, they can't go any further if you have a fist full of wool. So he would have used the rod and I am guessing that the rod - and David was fiercely strong for what he was up against with Goliath.
A club would have been like a baseball bat in size probably, but much heavier on the end. More like a war-club, similar to what maybe some American Indians would have used. I don't know if it had stone on the end – we don't know. It just says he struck them and it dropped the lamb. So he came up, I suspect out of ambush, and struck the lion as hard as he could. It drops the lamb but it is not dead; it turns on him. I mean the other lion in the other story got shot with an Elephant Gun and it survived long enough to nearly kill this man. It had to be finished off the next day.
Then the lion springs at David and David struck it and grabbed it by its beard and struck it and killed it. Well that would be the mane on the lion; it is easy to get hold of. But you have got to stay away from the front. That is where the claws can play. Now I have read of men, two individuals, Carl Akeley and Jean-Pierre Hallet, both of whom wrestled large leopards to death and the way they did it and survived is that they got themselves behind the leopard which was about the same size as them. The lion would have been bigger than David by quite a bit. So he knocks it silly; it comes to immediately and takes after him; he grabs it by the mane and my guess is he comes on top of it, swings onto its back away from those claws and then puts the knife into the heart or the throat, one or the other. Pardon me if this seemed a little bit graphic but David had to be a little bit graphic when he did it, don't you understand? I never really gave it much thought as to how he did that but it had to be from the back.
I have read of a game officer in South Africa in the last, early twentieth century, who was attacked by a lion in the night as he was riding his horse across the plain. The lion was probably after the horse although it tried to chew on him when it caught him. The horse ran off but he was knocked off and grabbed by the lion by the right shoulder and he was right-handed and his knife was over there so the way he survived is he got his left arm across his body under the lion - he is being dragged away by his shoulder - got his knife out of its sheaf and with the heel of his hand felt for the heart-beat and then stuck the knife into the lion's heart. He killed it on top of him and he had to kind of crawl out from under it.
I suspect that is what David did. Now you have to stop and think about that. This is like up close and personal. David had to be determined that he was going to win the battle and follow through. Likewise, we have to be determined to win the battle with the devil-lion.
There was another one of David's good friends, his name was Benaiah, and it is in 2 Samuel 23. It is not a long account but it will give you some food for thought if you would like to just spend the afternoon thinking about lion hunting, I mean biblical lion hunting. This is one of David's mighty men; one of his body guards, probably.
2 Samuel 23:20 2 Samuel 23:20And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lion like men of Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the middle of a pit in time of snow:
American King James Version× Benaiah was the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man from Kabzeel, who had done many deeds. He had killed two lion-like heroes of Moab. These would have been great warriors from Moab and probably liked to wear their hair long so that it looked like a mane. He also had gone down and killed a lion in the midst of a pit on a snowy day.
So he actually killed a lion itself in a pit. Now why would the lion get into a pit? Well, that is a trap. If you are trapping lions you build a pit that they are going to walk across; put some bait; they walk across it and then they go down into the pit and then you got them. I don't know how you get them out, but you got them. Obviously you can probably get a rope and tie them if you are going to capture them alive.
Then I had to ask the question: Why would Benaiah want to go down into the pit to kill a lion? Was it on a dare? I mean he was a mighty man, and then I think, no he was smarter than that. I think he fell into the pit and you'd come up and see there is a lion in the pit and then the edge gives away and suddenly you are in the pit with a lion. On a snowy day it is a little bit slick. Why would it mention it is snowy? Interesting detail that God inspired into the scripture for us to contemplate but whatever the case, he was in this hole and then he had to battle a lion at close quarters and he won. He was determined not to let the lion eat him or kill him. There is a lesson for us there.
Daniel in a lions' den: The way he was dropped into the lions' den that the king of Persia kept. Daniel survived by praying that God would close the lion's mouth and He did. And Darius, who was the emperor at the time, was very thankful and happy. You can read about that in Daniel 6, especially verses 18 to 23.
In the New Testament we have two other lion hunters – just to touch on it as we draw ourselves to a conclusion here. One is one we don't often think about:
1 Corinthians 15 - This is a resurrection chapter. What does it have to do with lion hunting? Well, nothing with hunting - lion fighting. Remember the sermon's title is: Fighting the devil-lion. Now who wrote 1 Corinthians? Well, it was Paul and he talks about those who are baptized for the dead in verse 29 – why would they be baptized for the dead? We understand that clearly to mean: it means the hope of, after they die they will be resurrected. We are not to be baptized for somebody else; we have to repent of our own sins.
1 Corinthians 15:29 1 Corinthians 15:29Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?
American King James Version× …… Why then are they baptized for the dead?
V.30 – And why do we stand in jeopardy every hour?
Why do we live this way of life and go through the challenges and tests and tribulations sometimes that we do, in our lives?
V.31 – I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.
V.32 – If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!"
But it is the comment in verse 32: If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus. We know the Romans did that. They did that to Christians when they were persecuting them, or anybody they liked to persecute. They would turn them loose in a big arena and turn some angry lions loose, and other beasts, mainly lions and if you survive then you were considered pretty phenomenal. If you didn't survive, you weren't. You were lunch for the lions and it would appear that Paul is making a reference to having had to fight wild beasts as a sort of animal gladiator at an arena in Ephesus. We don't have ever heard a comment about it but he makes this comment.
It makes you wonder: If Paul had to do that in addition to all the other things he had to do like getting stoned and left for dead, or actually he was dead and God brought him back to life, and all the other things that he went through and persecutions that he experienced - it makes us happy to know that in Matthew 4 the greatest devil-lion fighter of them all is Jesus Christ and I am sure Paul was looking to him for intervention.
Matthew 4:1 Matthew 4:1Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.
American King James Version× Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
V.2 – And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.
V.3 – Now when the tempter – that is Satan, of course, - came to Him, he said, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread."
He probably added, you know, just the right kind of bread. Whole grain, so that it is nutritious, and it has wonderful fragrance; butter melting into the slice. You paint the picture and you are probably hungry now.
V.4 – But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'"
Now here was a battle with a spiritual lion, the devil, the literal devil lion. Christ was fighting the devil himself. And you know how he did it? His knowledge of God's word. Now our ABC students have just completed a school year of studying God's word. That gives them better tools, better weapons in that sense, to fight spiritual battles. Likewise when we study God's word and stay close to God through prayer and such we also are better equipped to fight the battle with Satan as the roaring lion that goes about seeking whom he may devour. He would like to devour us.
You know there is an interesting story, as we turn finally to James 4, an interesting story about what a lions roar sounds like. One of the writers that I have read talked about that. The way he describes it - and a lion's roar on a clear night can be heard for up to 4 to 5 miles. It just carries, out in the dryer regions where lions usually are. Sort of a (makes a lion roar sound) grunt-roar and then followed by (makes two lion grunts) and then three grunts (more lion grunts). The microphone helps! I can do an elk bugle but I don't think I can imitate a lion bugle.
In KiSwahili, which is one of the main languages in south-eastern Africa, they translate the lion's roar and it is Hi inchi ya nani – "Whose land is this?" is what the lion is roaring, and then the three grunts that follow, they write it in their language: yangu, yangu, yangu, - "mine, mine, mine".
Now thinking about the lion as being the devil, whose land is this? For him he is saying: Mine, mine, mine. Everything centers on him. When we want to center everything on us that is not a good thing. We are here to serve; we are here to be servants of Christ, not the servants of ourselves, which ends up making us servants of the roaring lion.
James 4:7 James 4:7Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
American King James Version× Therefore submit to God. That is the pro-active approach. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Don't let the devil-lion destroy your spiritual life. Resist him and he will flee, and that is true. There is more that could be said there but more time we do not have to cover that. He will flee. We have the authority of Jesus Christ backing us like He backed His disciples, like He backed the archangel Michael. When we resist Satan he will flee. We have to battle him with the knowledge of God's word and a positive resistance, a conviction of following God's way, not the devil's way.