Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. I Peter 5:6-11 ESV
For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Romans 16:19-20 ESV
There’s a story that Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, sent an army commander named Holofernes to war against some territories that were rebelling against him. Holofernes was heading toward Judah, devastating everything in his path. The Judeans banded together to resist Holofernes, and a city named Bethulia held out against attack for 34 days. With their water supply running low, the people in city were thinking about surrendering, but an elder named Uzziah promised them that help would come and begged them to wait a little longer. A beautiful woman of the town named Judith went to the camp of Holofernes and pretended that she wanted to help them take the the city. Holofernes saw Judith and fell in love with her, and he gave her a banquet of delicious food, but since the food was unclean for Jewish people she wouldn’t eat it. After the banquet she was left alone with Holofernes, who was very drunk, and she took a sword and cut off his head! She carried the head back to her city, and the people were able to drive the army away after that.
This is only a story, but it is a good example of courage and of resisting temptation and evil and trusting God for help in times of trouble. Peter wrote that we need to be careful to resist the devil, who is like a roaring lion prowling around looking for people to devour. The devil is always trying to turn people away from God and into sin and disobedience and evil, so that he can claim them for his own in the end. When God’s people suffer troubles, the devil often offers the easy way of surrendering to the evil that is threatening us. Peter warns us not to fall for the devil’s tricks, but instead to stay firm and to know for sure that the time of suffering will come to an end and God will bring us into glory.
It’s not up to us alone to fight against the devil. Peter also tells us to cast all our care onto the Lord, because he cares for us. Jesus is at our side helping us fight our battles, and with his help we will win. Jesus already won the war with the devil and death and everything evil when he died on the cross and rose again from the dead. Everyone who believes in Jesus has already been brought into his kingdom, but we wait for the day when all the enemies of God will finally know their full defeat and we will know the complete victory of Jesus forever.
Dear Jesus, thank you for defeating death and the devil for us. Please stay with us and help us to be strong in our struggles. Amen.