Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
The unnamed woman in Charlestown, Indiana, was sure an animal was harassing the pets in her neighborhood.
She was pretty sure the harasser was a bobcat.
The woman was incorrect. When she spotted a "dark shadow" near her pool, she had her boyfriend grab his shotgun and let loose on the unknown beastie. It turns out the woman was really wrong in her identification of the critter. It wasn't a bobcat.
When the lights were turned on, it was obvious the man had shot and killed a leopard.
Yes, that's right. The guy had shot a leopard. Now I'm not an expert on leopards, but I do know a few things about them. I know the leopard is a big cat, which is known for its ability to adapt to changing situations; it is known for its hunting skills and its ability to climb trees.
Oh, I also know you don't find leopards in Charlestown, Indiana, or the particular place where you live. Even so, this news report shows that it is possible for a leopard to come sniffing around your backyard.
Maybe we shouldn't be surprised.
After all, Peter once wrote that, like a roaring lion, the devil was wandering around our backyards and neighborhoods. Moreover, the devil's visit was not a friendly one. According to the apostle, the devil was looking for some sad, sorry, sinful soul to devour.
The prospect of a leopard, a lion, or the devil wandering around and near us is a frightening thing. It is frightening because the devil, like these cats, is adaptable, powerful and stealthy. They all have the ability to strike and do their damage, before you realize you are in danger.
Knowing the dangers of the devil's temptations, Peter warns us to be alert, watchful and prepared for a confrontation. Thankfully, we know we are not alone as we make our plans for protection. We are blessed to have Jesus by our side.
That truth is incredibly important. After all, Scripture points out that Jesus is most experienced in dealing with and defeating the devil. Indeed, the Savior is the only person who has ever managed to completely and totally confront the devil and walk away from those temptations unscathed.
Now the Christ who has conquered sin, death and the devil has promised He will grant that same victory for all those who have been given faith in Him as their Lord and Savior.
This is good news because you just never know when a leopard, a lion, or the devil will show up.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, leopards are not likely to show up in our lives. Not so with the devil whose appearances, although almost always unexpected, are pretty consistent. Help us, with faith in the Savior to emerge unhurt from those confrontations. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries