Here are some study notes from Sunday.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”
(1Pe 5:8-9) KJV
Sober: According to Strong’s Greek concordance, this word means to be discreet. To be discreet means to take care, or be circumspect. This care has to do with how we act and talk to each other and how we act when nobody is looking. The word can be found in the Strong’s Greek concordance number 3525.
Vigilant: According to Strong’s this word means to watch. Here is the direct quote from Strong’s Greek concordance, “to keep awake, that is, watch (literally or figuratively): – be vigilant, wake, (be) watch (-ful).” This word’s concordance number is 1127 in the Greek concordance.
Peter charges his audience in chapter 5 to meet the trials set before them with a careful watchfulness. This attitude is to be maintained because their and our adversary is, the devil, and he is going about, “as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Pet 5: 8) Though the devil has been defeated, the adversary must not be underestimated. We must take care to be watchful against his snares, tricks, and persecutions.
Paul also uses these two words together in 1 Thessalonians 5:6, “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” If you start reading at the beginning of this chapter, you will see Paul was talking in the context of the second coming of Christ. He is telling the Thessalonians to be watchful because no one really knows when the day of the Lord will take place, except the Father (see Mark 13:32). He does not want them to be sleepy in mind and body, but to always be watchful over themselves and each other. I think the contrast between sleep and watchfulness helps to emphasize their difference in effort. One takes strength and exertion while the other does not. This imagery goes deeper than that, but I do not want to go into that here.
These apostles are echoing what Christ said time and time again when he was preaching to be watchful because we do not know when the Lord will return. Have you ever thought to yourself, what if the Lord comes now and I am doing, thinking, or saying this? Sober watchfulness is important for the individual church member as well as the whole church. We must take care to walk in a biblically sound manner in full dependence on God for strength to do such. I am often comforted by John’s words in 1 John 2:1.
How can we know how to walk if we do not read our Bibles? Further, we are called to resist the adversary, “steadfast in the faith.” (1 Pet 5:9) We cannot do this alone. We are ever dependent on Almighty God. ( see Phil 2:12-13, Psalms 121:2, Col 4:2, etc.)
I hope these notes from Sunday will help further our study and reflection on sober vigilance.