Several years ago, while watching National Geographic, I got to understand much deeper, what Peter meant when he said in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant because your adversary, the devil as a roaring lion walketh about seeking whom he may devour.”
A herd of zebras were making their way across a grassland. I observed that the foals (young zebras) were surrounded by the adults. They all walked together. Then I saw the lion, walking stealthily towards the herd. He was unable to snatch any because the herd stayed together and then big adults faced the lion together. There were adult zebras all around the pack. I watched the lion walk alongside the pack with a low growl at first keeping its distance but gradually moving closer and then it roared. It was obvious that the herd was feeling stressed and the little ones kept jostling among the adults, making it harder for the group to stay close.
The lion crossed in front of the herd roaring as he did. Then we walked along on the other side and then to their back. The adults at the back turned to face the lion so it wasn’t able to launch a surprise attack. But as the lion moved to the other side of the pack, roaring as it sought to inch even closer the most unfortunate thing happened, a foal, perhaps unable to withstand the torment, run away from the pack. The lion took little time to catch up to and pounce on its prey. The foal didn’t stand a chance.
That’s when the realization of Peter’s counsel pierced my understanding. Be sober, don’t allow fear of trouble or trauma or threatening circumstances or hurt or disappointment to cause us to dash out of the fold, trying to be safe on our own. Then he says be vigilant. As long as the zebras remained vigilant, the lion despite its maddening roars could not attack any of the zebras. Because your adversary the devil walketh about seeking whom he may devour. The foals remained safe nestled between the adults even though they were troubled. The adults stood up against the enemy.
They were more experienced and even though they were vulnerable, they were safe and strong together. Had the foal stayed in the safe space it would have been safe. But it dashed out on its own, too naïve, too young, too inexperienced to understand that its only hope was to stay in the pack. The church, in spite of its challenges, keeps us strengthened.
The word of God and a consistent relationship with Him is the strong immovable space that keeps us secure from the preying claws of our arch enemy. Peter is right, the lion walked around the herd of zebras, looking for a weak spot, for an opening so that it could cause destruction. The devil truly does the same thing to us. He looks for our areas of weakness and takes advantage. Before we know it, we’re caught in a snare. None of us want to be eaten by that awful creature called the devil so my brethren be sober, remain vigilant, and remain in the pack regardless of the roars. God is on our side. - Pastor Kerth