The Three Enemies: Lion, Wolf, and Bear

Matt. 6:13. “And bring us not into temptation.”

The Three Enemies Lion Wolf Bear)

You have all heard about David. Open your Bible and read the seventeenth chapter of the first book of Samuel, and you will see that when David was a young man he tended sheep in the pasture lands about Bethlehem. David was a good shepherd; he loved his sheep.

One day a lion came out of the forest and seized a lamb. Do you think that David ran away? No; in the name of the Lord he went against the lion and, at the risk of his own life, snatched the lamb out of the lion’s mouth.

On another occasion a bear came and dragged away one of the lambs. It was no easy task, as you will understand, to be a shepherd in Judaea. But what did David do now? He ran after the bear, and when the bear rose up against him, he grappled with the bear and killed it. David risked his life for the poor lamb. Why did he risk his life? Because he loved the lamb; he loved every single lamb in the whole, large flock.

Was not David a good shepherd? You will all surely answer, “Yes, he was a good shepherd.”

But you have heard of another shepherd, one who was a much better shepherd than David.

Jesus is the good shepherd; He loves His sheep; yes, His love includes even the very tiniest lamb.

On Golgotha He bought you with His own life, — you were “bought with a price.” In holy baptism you were marked with the sign of the cross; you were baptized to be the lambs of Jesus, to be the children of God. Is not Jesus, then, the Good Shepherd? Kneel before Him and give thanks to the Shepherd who through baptism made you His own beloved lambs.

But be on your guard. There are three enemies which lie in wait for you to steal you away from the Good Shepherd.

Beware of the lion, children.

The apostle Peter says, “Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). The lion is the devil, the lion wishes to devour you.

Beware of the lion, children.

But a lamb cannot conquer a lion; and so you cannot of your own strength win a victory over the devil. Therefore you must look for help from Him who is mightier than all the power of hell, Jesus, the Son of God. “I can do all things in him that strengtheneth me” (Phil. 4:13). Yes, He will make the weak little lamb strong enough to prevail against the great, strong lion.

Beware of the wolf, children.

Our Lord Jesus says, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves.” (Matt. 10:16).

The wolf is the world. The wolf steals upon you quietly and secretly. He wishes to draw you away from God, from prayer, from the Word of God, from the Good Shepherd, in order that he may gain possession of you for himself so that you may become wicked children of the world instead of being innocent children of God.

Beware of the wolf, children.

But a lamb cannot prevail against a wolf. And so you cannot of your own strength prevail against the world. You must, therefore, pray for help from Him who is mightier than the wolf, Jesus, who said to His lambs, “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Beware of the bear, children.

The apostle Paul says, “I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing” (Rom. 7:18).

The bear is your own sinful nature, the old Adam, as Luther calls it.

The bear, the old Adam, wishes to embrace the new man which the Saviour implanted in you in your baptism. But he wishes to embrace him only for the purpose of choking him to death. He wishes you to do away with prayer, to forget Jesus, and to love sin and the sinful lusts of the world. Yes, in a thousand ways the bear endeavors to strangle your spiritual life by his embrace.

But a lamb cannot overcome a bear. And so you must not think that by your own strength you can gain a victory over yourselves. You must, therefore, pray to the Lord Jesus Christ to save you from the many, many dangers of the world, and from the wiles of the devil. Pray to the Good Shepherd to follow you through all your life’s journey and bring you safely through all of life’s dangers and temptations. He will hear your prayer; for He is the Good Shepherd who loves all His little lambs.

1 Thess. 5:22. “Abstain from every form of evil.”


Anderson, Isaac. M. Love Divine. Rock Island, Il: Augustana Book Concern. 1920.


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