1 Peter 5:5-8 New International Version (NIV)
5 In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,
“God opposes the proud
but shows favor to the humble.”[a]
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
Recently, while watching a BBC documentary with our son, I cringed as a scene between predator and prey unfolded before us. A wolf lunged at a herd of caribou, which immediately fled the impending danger. Amidst the chaos of the chase, a young caribou was separated from his mother and became isolated from the herd. For more than a mile, he outran the enemy. Cheering the juvenile on, our son yelled “VICTORY!” as the youngling gained some distance from the hungry wolf. A moment later, however, he tripped over a stone and stumbled to the ground. The fall proved fatal. “Stupid wolf!” our son cried, as he was overtaken by emotion.
Like that young caribou, we all like sheep have run astray (Isaiah 53:6). We leave the protection of our Shepherd and the safety of the sheepfold. By relying on our own strength, we attempt to flee from danger. We become exhausted. We stumble. We fall. We are overcome. We cry, “stupid wolf!” – blaming the enemy for our suffering. But the truth is, sometimes our instinct (sin nature), compels us to run away from God instead of to Him. Pride prevents us from clothing ourselves with humility. We rebel against God, and He opposes us.
But I have good news!!! Stupid sheep can know the truth, and be set free from stubbornness. As a recovering stubborn sheep, allow me to share a few things that I’ve learned in the sheepfold:
- God cares for His sheep (Isaiah 40:11).
- When we are young sheep, we must submit to older sheep – for we have much to learn from their example in the faith. (1 Peter 1:5)
- We are safer in the sheepfold than when we isolate ourselves. Isolated sheep are easy prey. (Ezekial 34:5)
- When we are afraid, yet choose to run into the mighty hands of God, we can cast all our anxiety on Him. (1 Peter 5:6-7)
- We have an enemy, who walks about like a lion, seeking to devour us. But we don’t need to be afraid because our God IS A LION (see Revelation 5:5)
- We must be alert and watch out for the wolf in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15)
- When we seek God for rescue no evil will conquer us, we won’t trip on a stone, and we will crush fierce lions under our feet! (Psalm 91).