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O Little Flock, Fear Not the Foe

by | May 13, 2022 | Faith, Faithfulness, Fear

“O little flock, fear not the foe
Who madly seeks your overthrow;
Dread not his rage and pow’r.
And though your courage sometimes faints,
His seeming triumph o’er God’s saints Lasts but a little hour.

As true as God’s own Word is true,
Not earth nor hell’s satanic crew
Against us shall prevail.
Their might? A joke, a mere façade!
God is with us and we with God—
Our vict’ry cannot fail.”

“O Little Flock, Fear Not the Foe,” number 666 in the Lutheran Service Book.

In His Revelation to the apostle John, Jesus warns the Christians of Smyrna, “Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10 ESV). The Lord calls His people to be faithful. He knows the limits of their suffering. In the same way, our hymn reminds us of the foe’s “seeming triumph … lasts but a little hour.” To those undergoing the trials or enduring the pain, that little hour appears to last forever, but Jesus knows and sets the limits of those trials according to His will.

Still, we must endure. We are a little flock facing a dangerous wolf, but we are told, “Fear not the foe … dread not his rage and pow’r!” We do not dread the foe’s power because our Shepherd died to save His little flock. When Jesus was crucified, the devil enjoyed a “seeming triumph” over the Son of God. But that little hour of triumph ended on the first Easter morning. Jesus rose from the dead, the marks of His trials and suffering still visible in His hands, feet and side. By His death and resurrection, Jesus destroyed that wolf, the devil, to “deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery” (Hebrews 2:15).

The strong language of the hymn describes the might of the fallen satanic legions of hell as “a joke, a mere façade,” a false front. It is a startling description, but it is true. Satan and his temptations should never be ignored, but he is a defeated foe who has come down to earth “in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” (Revelation 12:12b ESV). For now, the devil has his “little hour.” During that little hour we are called to stand firm against the evil foe, taking up “the shield of faith” to extinguish Satan’s tempting, flaming darts (See Ephesians 6:16b). We are assured: “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7b ESV). “God is with us and we with God.” In Christ Jesus, the victory has already been won. God “has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14 ESV). Our victory cannot fail, and that is no joke.

We Pray: Jesus, give me courage through Your Word and help me to cling to You in every time of trial. Amen.

This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn “O Little Flock, Fear Not the Foe,” which is number 666 in the Lutheran Service Book.
Originally published in The Lutheran Hour on May 8, 2022
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved

Reflection Questions:
1. What trials do you face that test your faith?
2. How has Jesus’ resurrection broken the bonds of spiritual slavery for us?
3. Can you give an example of how the Bible, our “shield of faith,” blocks the devil’s fiery darts?