Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
Matt and I finished up a series on first Peter. Our films are over an hour each and there are at least six of them so far. First Peter is a fairly short message, but it’s simply not enough time for everything 1 Peter has to offer. Especially when you get to the word studies which is my favorite part; I hit on this briefly in the last film but I thought I would expound a little bit for the 4 or 44 people that read these long posts and decide to live the x44 Jesus remnant life.
I love the word devour. I think of a lion absolutely ripping through its prey. I have a picture in my living room of a mighty lion and we often think of it as a Christ type. But as CS Lewis so greatly described in Aslan, it’s not the worlds version of the lion… The love of Jesus is backwards; He’s a mighty lion but acts as a lamb. It’s interesting that the lion is used in scripture as a description of Jesus And Satan. It’s a classic Hebrew contranym. Which Lion will you serve?
Peter uses a strange Greek word for “devour” in this verse. It’s not the word I would’ve chosen so it makes me wonder why and causes me to dive in deeper.
Katapino is the strange Greek word that literally means, “to drink down.” In contrast the Greek word esthio that literally means to devour, why didn’t he use that word?!
Here’s where it really gets interesting, katapino means “to drink completely”. Now to most of you this isn’t gonna make any sense at all. Unless you’re really into dieting and working out then you actually might understand this kind of thinking. Some people say you don’t want to drink your calories in a day. Meaning that when you’re working out and dieting stick to things that you drink that don’t have calories so you’re only consuming food with calories.
But how does that relate to devouring as in completely drinking something? This is so good let me share it with you!
Here the devil (or a better translation might actually be the powers and principalities as Paul often used) is portrayed as a ruthless, cunning and destructive adversary.
So normally when you think of a lion eating its prey it actually doesn’t completely consume its prey it leaves a lot of bones it just eats the meat.
Yet what Peter‘s doing here is contrasting what we know of the world (a fierce lion, the most feared beast of the day) to a spiritual adversary who is far more dangerous than this beast… he’s implying that this adversary doesn’t leave anything left and he completely consumes it as if it turns to liquid and drinks the entire thing.
He’s warning to not be completely consumed by the evils of the world. When you become consumed, you’re done. In other words, what the devil, or the evils, or the principalities or dark rulers want is total destruction of your spiritual life. It’s actually an annihilation of your identity. That the light that we are supposed to be shining in the name of Christ might be completely unidentifiable.
But there’s still even more… I see it regularly but both Peter and Paul often think in Hebrew even when they’re writing in Greek. When he’s talking about drinking there’s a word play that there is “life in blood.” There is a lot here that I don’t have time (nor the strange energy) to get into in terms of Satanic rituals and mythology. The blood of Jesus brings life and here Peter is alluding that Satan and the evils of the world are seeking to steal or drink away the challenge that Jesus gives us to be true disciples and partake in his body and blood.
So even though Peter appears to be speaking to believers, (and why this passage is sometimes used to deny the theological idea of once saved always saved); he’s warning us about a very strong enemy… not just a singular enemy we often frame as Satan, but a legion of evil and has no problem reconciling that definition of evil as the world. I hate it when we put Satan on a pedestal is gods equal enemy but that’s not what’s going on here… Peter is actually saying this evil is everywhere around us. (Careful here, this is not in an omnipresent definition such as God would take on, but more of thinking that we are immersed in a battle & the enemy is all around us.)
The trust of this entire section of scripture is don’t let the world steal your calling to be a true disciple of Christ. It’s a tough question of whether you’ve dropped everything at the door as the disciples did when they accepted the challenge to be true disciples. They were willing to leave every aspect of the world behind and live Jesus. That is the major calling or pursuit of the New Testament to become true disciples and to bring others to be true disciples. Today especially in America I think we’ve lost that pursuit. I think most of us would’ve been the disciples in John 6:6 that claim Christ yet would’ve said “this is too hard” Jesus and turned away.
My life mantra and desire is that everyone would become a true disciple. We live in rival kingdoms; one is the world and one is Jesus. Today you hear a lot of people talk about standing firm or fast… but then they gravitate towards the worlds definition of that… Jesus‘ definition is to be totally into Him. I pray that today you might consider where you are by these definitions and claim to life in the blood; and drink it well. Don’t let the evils of the world drink you instead. The world has no diet here!
Stand firm in the Jesus and speak life in light.