A few weeks ago we celebrated my youngest daughter’s twenty-first birthday with a family trip to Longleat Safari Park. It was a great day and one of the highlights for me was watching the big cats. Seeing them in the flesh gives a totally different impression than watching them on TV. You don’t have to watch them for long before you realise that, without the protection of the car, you would stand no chance against these ferocious predators. In some parts of the world today as in bible times in the middle east, people faced the danger of lions roaming the countryside; it must have been a terrifying prospect.
The video illustrates the character of these big cats. It’s an encounter between Trent, a year old baby boy, and Angie, a 400 pound lioness. Thankfully for Trent and his parents, Angie is prevented from eating between meals by a sheet of safety glass. It’s clear that Angie viewed the baby in the same way that a cat views a mouse or a small bird; as a tasty snack.
In his first epistle, Peter describes Satan as prowling about like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. It’s a sobering thought. It reveals that Christians have a formidable, pitiless enemy.
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. (1 Peter 5:8-9)
Before we start to retreat, we should consider some other things that the bible has to say about Satan:
He is defeated
- Christ came to destroy the devil’s work (1 John 3:8)
- Defeated in the desert (Luke 4:1-13)
- Defeated at the cross (Colossians 2:15)
- His time is short (Revelation 12:12)
- He will be cast into the pit (Revelation 20:2-3)
- He will be cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:10)
- Hell is prepared for him (Matthew 25:41)
We are not defenseless
- Secure in God’s keeping power (Romans 8:31-39)
- Secure in the ongoing ministry of Christ (1 John 2:1-2)
- Be aware of his schemes (2 Corinthians 2:11)
- Greater is he that is in you (1 John 4:4)
- Put on the whole armour of God (Ephesians 6:10-17)
- Resist him (1 Peter 5:9, James 4:7)
- Overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of testimony (Revelation 12:11)
- Hold on to the word of God (Romans 16:20)
- Do not give him a foothold (Ephesians 4:27)
Last Sunday we were looking at the account in Matthew 8:28-34 where Jesus meets two men possessed by evil spirits. There are many lessons to learn from this passage but for me one of the clearest can be seen by looking at the section in a red letter bible. In a red letter bible, the words of Jesus are in a red font. There is a lot going on in the story and the evil spirits are obviously very powerful but in the whole section there is one word from Jesus; “Go”. We serve one with the ultimate power and authority.
Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me. (Acts 26:16-18)