Question: “Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith” (1 Peter 5: 8, 9). In what sense does the Devil go about as a roaring lion?
Answer: The Scriptures give various descriptions of Satan, one of which is that of a roaring lion. The lion has a very stealthy walk, for on his feet are soft cushions which enable him to come very near to his prey before his approach is recognized. It is said that at this point, when the beast is about to spring upon his prey, he roars so loudly that the victim is paralyzed with fear and thus is easily caught.
Satan is strong and lion-like, vigilant and fully awake. He is always seeking to “get an advantage of us” (2 Corinthians 2: 11). He lies in wait, seeking to devour us. Although he is alert, yet he never approaches us with a roar, but creeps stealthily upon us in some unlooked-for place or time, to devour us, to overcome us, to crush out our spiritual life, and particularly to destroy our faith in God. As those whose ears are trained to detect the footfalls of the lion will hear his steps, while those who are unfamiliar with his habits will not hear the slightest sound, so we should, whose ears the Lord has opened, be of quick perception to recognize the approach of our arch-enemy and to resist him.
Satan Uses Fear to Destroy Us
As the lion uses fear to paralyze its victims, so it is with Satan. Fear is one of the most disastrous things that we could have (1 John 4: 18), except the “fear [reverence] of the Lord,” which is the proper fear. As God incites by love, so Satan incites through fear, through false doctrines, the root of error, which so terrorizes mankind as to the future. But we are to resist Satan. We are not to fear Satan or his emissaries (whether they are wittingly or unwittingly so). If we have the holy spirit (2 Timothy 1: 7), we will be strong and of good courage (Romans 8: 31). When we hear the roaring of the lion, no matter from what quarter, let us remember that the Lord is on our side and that He does not cause us to fear.
The thought that Satan opposes us and that we are contending not merely with the fallen flesh, but also with wicked spirits in high positions of power (Ephesians 6: 12), would appall us if we did not, by positiveness of decision, acquire great help from other unseen powers (1 John 4: 4). From the instant that we resist temptation and stand up for the Lord and His cause we begin to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Thus we resist the devil and he flees from us (James 4: 7). The careful follower of Christ will not give place to the devil (Ephesians 4: 27), but will keep himself so that the wicked one (Satan) will not be able to touch him (get a hold upon him – 1 John 5: 18). And let us remember that if we remain steadfast in the faith, God will always overrule matters so that we are not tempted above that we are able to bear, but will with the temptation also make a way of escape, so that we can bear it (1 Corinthians 10: 13).