Löhe on 1 Peter 5:8b

crushserpentYour enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1Pe 5:8 NIV)

Our best friend is Jesus and our worst enemy is the devil. Both are going about – seeking. The first seeks the lost to rescue, save and give life, while the other sees to destroy. Satan is not visible and his growling is not audible. Just as everyone fears the roaring lion, so to we would fear Satan if we could see this terrible and evil foe. Then we would flee him on sight. Yet he’s the great deceptor. He goes about in all sorts of disguises, deception and cover-ups. He is comparable with the roaring lion only in regard to his ferocious appetite and brutal greed for our souls – even as he’s prowling in stealthy silence and utmost secrecy – never giving away his true nature or position voluntarily. He’s very much like a venomous snake – slithering death and coldest mortality.  He’s got great might and deep guile as his dread armor in fight. That’s why he sometimes lurks under flowers or comes in the brightest of noon days. He’s not omnipresent like our Lord, but still pops up here and there. Nobody is immune against his treacherous attacks and everybody is in danger of being swallowed by this dreadful serpent – if, and only if, he’s not kept safe in the hands of our Lord Jesus Christ. He says: Nobody can pull mine from my hand. Nothing can separate them from my pastoral care and godly protection – not even the devil.

Lord, our mighty and powerful God! Let us fear the evil one, who is so strong in his drive to hurt and kill us and drag us down into hell. Much more however o good Lord and God impress on our hearts that you are by far stronger and mightier than all else, that you have already conquered the dark lord of this world and that he no longer can pull your people from your safe haven in your protective arms and in the holy sanctuary of your beloved Church and Christian congregation. Please draw us into your godly and beneficial will, let your strength fill our faith so that we don’t fear the darkest night nor the foulest deception and guile of any temptor and decptor. Lord – we trust in you, let us never be confounded. Amen. (Wilhelm Löhe)

Faithful watchman, oh Israel: Joy of my soul – you know all trouble of your Church. Oh watchman, you don’t slumber nor rest, look at us with gracious countenance.

Safest sanctuary, oh Immanuel: Haven of my soul – God with us in deepest woe, he around us, in us and for us at all times. Therefore we defy him, who’d harm us; God’ll strike him.

Jesus, oh our peacemaker, who has crushed the serpents skull by your death and reconciled us with God. Grant us peace eternal that your people praise you joyfully – lauding you eternally. (Johann Hermann, 1585-1647)

This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Thursday after the third Sunday after the high holiday and festival of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 240 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu!   (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.

About Wilhelm Weber

Pastor at the Old Latin School in the Lutherstadt Wittenberg
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