Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Kum Ba Yah My Lord"1 (Lyrics)
1 Peter 5:8 – Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (NIV)
I love my dog Sparky very much, but sometimes, he nearly drives me crazy with his endless barking. He seems to bark at anything that moves: people, squirrels, cars, anything. Half the time, when I look outside, I don't see what he is barking at.
Every night before we retire, I let him out for his last visit. But before he will do anything, he lifts his head and sniffs the air in all directions. When I am tired and want him to hurry, this often annoys me.
One night, I snapped impatiently, "Get in here and quit playing games. It's time for bed." Since I was very tired, I promptly fell into a deep sleep. Suddenly, I was jerked wide awake. It took a few seconds to come out of the fog. What had wakened me?
Then I heard the frantic barking. I half staggered down the hall with my heart pounding in my ears. What was wrong? Sparky was standing rigidly with his front paws on the window ledge and was barking furiously at something or someone outside. What was it? Was someone trying to steal my car or break into it? What should I do? I snapped on the front light, half expecting to see some hooded figures wearing balaclavas. There was no one! Nothing! Not even a leaf stirred.
What now? Should I call the police? And what would I say? My dog is barking madly, but there is no sign of an intruder? Or should I just go back to bed? That seemed kind of stupid if there was someone hiding out there. The incongruity of those two thoughts suddenly struck me as terribly funny, and I began to laugh. I laughed so hard that I just couldn't quit. Tears were streaming down my face, and I could barely stand up. Finally, my legs just gave out, and I was lying helplessly on the floor with Sparky licking my face. Evidently, my strange behaviour was more interesting to him than the invisible enemy that had set him off. I don't know how long I lay there, but eventually, I managed to pull myself up onto my feet. Then I scuffled off to bed, feeling very foolish and quite annoyed at my dog for waking me.
The following morning as we were setting out for our walk, I saw the huge paw prints in the freshly fallen snow, three to four times the size of Sparky's paws. They led across our deck and down the side of the house. I followed them around to the back, where they went up the snow bank and across the yard into a nearby field. Shivers of fear ran down my spine as I thought about the possible danger that lurked in those thick bushes in front of the house, just waiting for Sparky last night.
There had been several coyote sightings in our area, which was quite a rare occurrence, but it had been a long, severe winter, and food was scarce. Not surprisingly, all of our feral cats had disappeared.
I felt a warm wave of love wash over me as I realized that my dog had reminded me that I must always be alert to the wiles of the devil who would destroy me if I gave him the opportunity. Like the coyote that I couldn't see, the devil is an invisible but very real enemy. It is so easy to fall into laughing uncontrollably with the world that scoffs at the idea of a devil with horns, a red suit, and forked tail. But the Word of God is very clear that the devil is still active, deceiving millions into thinking that sin is fun and cool. With the spiritual gift of discernment, we can be aware of his trickery, and defeat Him with the Word of God, just as Jesus did when He was tempted.
Prayer: Father, we live in a day of great scientific discoveries, and many laugh at the teachings of Your Word and at those who believe in it and practise it. Help us to follow Your teachings, so that we will not be affected by public opinion or tricked by the wiles of the devil, who still whispers in our ear the same question he posed to Eve, "Has God really said …?" In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.