November 19 - Be Alert

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

November 19 - Be Alert - 1 Peter 5:8-11

After you read these verses, turn to Luke 22:31-32.

Peter knew something about Satan messing with you. He had definitely been devoured by Satan when he denied even knowing Jesus, but since he had come through it, he also learned a lesson in resisting him.

Now, 1 Peter 5:8, though translated in most Bibles correctly, actually does not give us the full image that the Greek is expressing. Peter wants us to imagine a courtroom as we read this. Remember, he has been telling his readers to hold up under persecution. If the accusations against you are false, stand firm, be respectful, etc.

He finally gets to the courtroom scene after all of the information he has put into this letter and assumes that we are dealing with persecution simply because we are Christians, not because we have done anything wrong.

Be self-controlled and alert. The original Greek actually translates to 'calm' and 'watchful.'

I'm a huge fan of the old black and white Perry Mason shows. There were two things you could always count on when he was in the courtroom. He never showed his emotions (he was calm) and he was always ready to pick up on the errors coming from witnesses or the prosecution (he was watchful).

'Your enemy; comes from the Greek word 'antidikos' which means adversary - in the courtroom sense. The word 'devil' (diabolos) in this verse actually translates as 'slanderer' or 'false accuser.' Peter is telling his readers that false persecution and false accusations will come at us and our accuser will be actually trying to swallow us.

We must stand firm in the faith because we know that our brethren throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. The word 'world' here is the Greek word 'kosmos.' I think that's cool. The word 'sufferings' also means 'afflictions' and implies that we are facing these afflictions because of our faith in Jesus.

We meet up with this same slanderous adversary in John's Revelation. In Revelation 2:10, Jesus tells the church in Smyrna that the devil will test some of us for ten days. That number is meant to be encouragement, as it is a relatively short period of time. We also see him in Revelation 12:9-12. The devil - who is identified here as a slanderer and accuser - is seen standing before God accusing believers day and night. At some point, God finally is done listening to his lies and flings him to the earth and sea. In Revelation 20:2, the devil is bound for a thousand years, released, but then in Revelation 20:10, he is thrown into the lake of burning sulfur to be tormented day and night for eternity.

Stand firm. In 1 Peter 5:10, we are told that the suffering is only for a little while. We are restored and made strong, firm and steadfast.

Praise the Lord - to Him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.