Monday, July 21, 2008

Hunting Lions?

I recently received some pictures from a friend whose Dad and Brother went on an African Safari. As you can see they were very successful and are bringing home some rather big trophies. Seeing these pictures got me to thinking about 1 Peter 5:8:

“Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), 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.” Amplified

I remember when my daughter’s Girl Scout troop spent a night camping in the zoo. We set up tents in a field near the middle of the zoo. We enjoyed an early evening tour, snack and program. Then it was into our tents and sleeping bags for the night. A short time later we all heard the unmistakable sound of roaring of lions. It was LOUD and it sounded very close. Fortunately, I was very aware of the iron bars the lions lived behind. Without them it was only a thin piece of tarp that separated my daughter and I from those lions.

How different, in some ways, our culture is today from that in which Peter lived 2000 years ago. Here in Kansas we have our lions on display in cages. Lying in the sun and looking like giant kitty cats we rarely see a lion show much aggression. Peter certainly knew another side of lions, where they lived in the wild. Because he was compelled to compare our enemy, the devil, to a roaring lion, I wanted to know more about the lion Peter knew and how it operates!

First I learned about the lion's hunting technique:

It stalks its prey using as much cover as possible and then runs it down with a short rapid rush. In fact, lions have little stamina and will get quite close to the prey before charging. One source says that a lions final charge is made from as close as 10 meters.

How much more would we guard and protect ourselves if we realized how close our adversary is?

Ephesians 6:11 tells us to “put on the full armor of God and take a stand against the devil’s schemes.” If we could sense the devil’s presence we would NEVER be caught without our armor firmly in place. More often we think of him as “out there” and not “right here.”

I also found it relevant that a lions tongue is so rough it can draw blood just by licking you. All the more reason to heed James’ advice, “submit yourself to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.”

Most of the lion’s hunting takes place under the poor lighting conditions of early evening, at dawn or during the night. The lion is at a disadvantage when its prey is able to see clearly. We must remember that God is our light and our safety is dependant on Him. Psalm 119:105 states: “thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” If we venture from that path we are vulnerable to attack. John 11:10 warns us “it is when we walk by night that we stumble, for we have no light.”

Another hunting tactic for the lion is to lie in wait for its prey to come and drink from the water hole during the dry season.

Perhaps nothing is more disturbing than seeing the devil’s destruction in the spiritual lives of believers and/or the church. The book of Matthew is full of Jesus’ warnings to the teachers of the law and the Pharisees, whom He calls hypocrites. Matthew 23:13 is especially sobering; “you shut the kingdom of heaven in men’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” Matthew 15:8 speaks of those who “honor Him with their lips but their hearts are far from Him.” What better victory for Satan than one within the body of Christ?

And then I learned about the lion's prey:

It is commonly believed that lions attack weak, sick, wounded or old. The fact of the matter is, they will attack and eat whatever is closest to them. Sex, age and condition are not a factor in a lions hunt and they are not a factor in the enemy’s pursuit.

One article I found says that lions are “always ready to eat whatever type of meat they find.” They will even take over, or steal, kills made by other carnivores.

The devil hunts us when we are on the mountaintop or in the valley, when we are celebrating and when we are broken by our circumstances. Whether we are old, young, rich, poor, male or female, we have an equal opportunity enemy and he is hungry for our destruction.

Of course, if we are covered by the blood of Christ he can’t take our salvation, but he can reduce us to walking bones instead of a joyful, and fruitful, heart and soul. Jesus clearly tells us this in John 10:10 when he says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy: I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

On the other hand, lions rarely eat an entire kill. They take what they want and leave the rest for hyenas and vultures to finish. Our enemy, also, leaves behind a wake of wounded, broken and lifeless people for the world to swallow up once he has had his fill.

Just as Adam and Eve were left alone and ashamed in the garden after Satan had convinced them to eat of the forbidden fruit, in our world today we don’t have to look far to see examples of people enticed into sin and the consequences they are forced to bear. Business scandals, Politicians, TV Evangelists are just a few public examples. However Satan is just as busy in the everyday world, leaving people’s lives devastated.

So how do we protect and defend ourselves against this beast? We can fight him with the strength of our own lion, the Lion of Judah. Jesus has said, “in this world you will have trouble but take heart, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.


Jami @ livelaughlove5 said...

Wow Kelley - that really makes those verses come alive. Thanks!! :)

Nicole said...

Wow Kelley. You did a lot of research. I agree with Jami. It makes these verses really come alive. Thank you!!!

LynnSC said...

Great post!! This is the second blog that I have read today that is talking about Lions. I think that God is giving me a warning.... I need to take heed.

Thanks so much for the reminder of the enemies plans to destroy and to take only what He wants and leave the rest behind. My shield will be the Lord.

tiggerdaisy said...

Oh girl...this is GOOD! I love the example of being in the middle of the zoo! I would have been searching for a bathroom about that time! hahaha

What really got me about this post was the relation between how lions hunt and how the devil preys on us. Very, very good. Backed up and great scripture, too. Thank you for the reminder and the vivid portrait.

Prayers and blessings,

Laurie Ann said...

Kelley, thank you for sharing such an awesome portrait of how the devil is so like the lions. The parallels drawn are amazing. Great post and a great reminder to be on guard.

Runner Mom said...

Great post, Kelley! I feel those lions sneaking up on me when I least expect it. Thanks for making me stop and think.

marychristina said...

Wonderful post. Thank you for these thoughts and the warning that they are. So much to pray for!

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

When you get a chance, hop over to my blog. Apparently, lions are the theme of the day.

Great thoughts, my friend.


Joyful said...

Wow Kelley, so much "meat" here! I learned so much about lions and the applications you have drawn are wonderful!

Great teaching!!!!

Paula (SweetPea) said...

I love how you tied all those scriptures together. Many of those of favorites of mine. The lion is a sneaky and vicious animal indeed...much like is counterpart, the devil. Oh, but we have the King of King as our shield if only we seek His protection.

I had no idea the lion's tongue would cut skin. Wow.

We had a real stuffed lion on our church stage while the pastor did a sermon series based on the book "In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day." It's a very short but POWERFUL and applicable book for every Christian. I've seen it on many bloggers bookshelves. I love it. Very enlightening to God's view of things.

Susan said...

Now this was a great illustration and REMINDER of who is busy behind the scenes of our daily lives.

Thanks for the reminder to be diligent.

I once heard when we hear the roar, run right into it, the battle truly is the Lord's!!


Kristen said...

AWESOME POST! Girl, you hit it out of the park with this one!

It is no coincidence that God's Word speaks of satan as prowling like a lion. God knows a lion's innate behavior and knows satan and his tactics - what a comparison.

Jen - Balancing beauty and bedlam said...

Wow - excellent analogies. It reminds me of when we went to the zoo and my daughters thought that some of those lions were just the cutest things. So beautiful, yet deadly...sin is so like that.:)

Pamela (MrsJoeB) said...

Kelley-you are so right and how beautifully written..the teacher/speaker is shining here!!

In His Grcews~Pamela

Kathy S. said...

Isn't the Word of God amazing!! I love that if we dig a little bit we come up with treasure like this! What a great dig you did! I'm glad our Lion is the STRONG ONE!!

Jackie @ Our Moments Our Memories said...

Kelley - now this will preach! :) This was excellent...a fresh reminder of how real our enemy is. But when we yield, our God is so much greater!

Pat said...

Great Post. I am so grateful when someone takes the time to research and pursue God's truth (and His critters) to share some battle tools with others. The best way to uncover a counterfeit is to know the real thing!!
Thanks for the great insights into how to keep the lion "toothless",

Tracy said...

Wow, Kelley! This was incredibly insightful, and you made some fantastic applications! Those images are powerful and will stick with me...thanks!


Jamie @ Purposeful Pursuit said...

Excellent post! Well said! Our enemy is real, but greater is He that is in us. Thanks so much for sharing!!!

Anonymous said...

this is really good Kelley. What a great (and thorough) analogy.

Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

I am still thinking about a lion drawing blood just by licking with it's tongue. I had no idea?! Very creepy especially when thinking of the devil as a roaring lion. The devil too "licks" us to death.
I can't believe yall spent the night in the middle of the zoo. THAT would be an experience my friend! Bet yall felt like fearless warriors in a picket fence. LOL
Have fun with Lelia!
Yall are a couple of my favorite reads you know! Starting to feel like I know you both!

KCAimee said...

Beautiful writing and amazing pictures. Thank you for sharing.

Rachael said...

What an amazing revelation you have had from photos of lions. I was thinking about Daniel. Peter may have referenced lions but Daniel had to face them with no refuge and in old age too! Daniel 6 accounts this tale of faith where Daniel once again refused to kowtow to the world's authority. A lion's tongue is really that rough? Thank God he gave us our own Lion for protection.

Lelia Chealey said...

This is SO good!!! Really makes the enemy seem more real with the pictures. Aaron loved the pics of the Lion!

luvmy4sons said...

Wow! Such powerful stuff here! Awesome post! Love the your lessons drawn from the facts of the lion...awesome! I was blessed. Hugs to you!

Paula (SweetPea) said...

You lucky got to love on that precious grandgirl of Lelia's. Did you kiss all over her cheeks. She is so precious. That's a nice pic Lelia has posted of you two and also the three girls. Bet they had a blast.

Ang baylis said...

I loved this post, Kelley! It reminded me of the trip we took to South Africa and saw the Lions as they ate a water buffalo. They cleaned it dry (with the help of vultures). I love your applications! I've missed you. I accidently deleted my favorite posts!

I hope you are well, dear friend!
Angie xoxo

Ang baylis said...

oops... I mean, I deleted my favorite links! Glad I found you again!

Feathering My Nest said...

Kelley, Thank you for this message. It is just what I needed to hear. I'm going to my class reunion tonight and tomorrow. You reminded me about putting my armor on. I want nothing to do with selfish ambition,vain concete, temtation, pride or anything satan would entise me to do. I am praying that I would humbly go and that God would be glorified in my life. I'm praying that I would be filled with the joy of the Lord and confident with the power of the Holy Spirit. This message helped me to remember that satan would love to stumble me. Thanks, Kathi