Lions—there are many lions to watch for and one Lion to trust.
Using an image that meant something to an ancient people who lived among the real things, the poet describes his enemies as a pride of lions waiting to destroy. There is danger in the world. There are those who are the predators and there those who are the prey. The Christ-follower is considered the valued prey to spiritual predators who rely on stealth, deception, numbers, and speed to overcome the objects of their hunt.
This is not paranoia. This is simply the truth. To deny the presence of the artful enemies of the soul is to fall prey to their deception.
A pride of lions will lie about lazily in the tall grass, capturing the attention of the lookouts among the prey, warily grazing on their own grass in an adjacent field. The hunting lions creep through the tall grass perfectly hidden by the camouflage of color, stalking the herd. If a calf drifts too far from the center of the herd, one of the lions will strike with amazing speed and force, and the young one is dead.
In the same way, evil gathers in groups; “pride” is an appropriate name for these packs of predators. Their revelry gets the attention and is fairly easy to avoid. However, their influence extends beyond the borders of their bacchanal; there are hunters dispatched to hide in the weeds of the culture, stalking the unwary potential prey.
These hunting lions have much cover to conceal their threats. So many wonderful grasslands intended for the nourishment of man have been infiltrated by the agents of the enemy: arts and entertainment, education and industry, work and retirement. We must be wary for the good things in life are often camouflage for the evil things in life.
There are many lions to watch out for. We need a protector. We need One who sees through any camouflage, who detects the presence of danger when to us all seems well. The lions are there. We can’t see the hunters, only the diversion of the pride, and we might think we are safe.
We must not be the oblivious, contented calf who wanders away from the protection of the herd. We must stay close to each other, remain in the true faith, and rejoice in our destiny within the safety of God’s Kingdom.
There is one Lion to trust—Jesus Christ, the Lion of Judah! He is the victorious One.
He defeated the lions of evil. In the placid pride or in the grassy field, they are all subject to Him. He knows their intent. He unmasks their methods. When he roars, they run.
There are many lions to watch for and one Lion to trust.
Psalm 10:1-12 NIV
Why, O LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak, who are caught in the schemes he devises. He boasts of the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the LORD. In his pride the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. His ways are always prosperous; he is haughty and your laws are far from him; he sneers at all his enemies. He says to himself, “Nothing will shake me; I’ll always be happy and never have trouble.” His mouth is full of curses and lies and threats; trouble and evil are under his tongue. He lies in wait near the villages; from ambush he murders the innocent, watching in secret for his victims. He lies in wait like a lion in cover; he lies in wait to catch the helpless; he catches the helpless and drags them off in his net. His victims are crushed, they collapse; they fall under his strength. He says to himself, “God has forgotten; he covers his face and never sees.” Arise, LORD! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless.
1 Peter 5:8-9 NIV
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
Isaiah 5:29; 59:15
Their roar is like that of the lion, they roar like young lions; they growl as they seize their prey and carry it off with no one to rescue. …Truth is nowhere to be found, and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey.
Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings from the wicked who assail me, from my mortal enemies who surround me. They close up their callous hearts, and their mouths speak with arrogance. They have tracked me down, they now surround me, with eyes alert, to throw me to the ground. They are like a lion hungry for prey, like a great lion crouching in cover. Rise up, O LORD, confront them, bring them down; rescue me from the wicked by your sword. O LORD, by your hand save me from such men, from men of this world whose reward is in this life.
Revelation 5:1-5 NIV
Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”
Lord Jesus, Lion of Judah, I find comfort in Your roar. Your strength flows into me with the sound of it. My fear morphs into courage the way medieval sorcerers dreamed of making gold out of iron. The same roar of Your truth that comforts and strengthens me terrifies my enemies. You are the Master of All. No puny pride of predators can get through to me for You guard me with angel herdsmen watching all sides with spirit-swords drawn. You are on my side; whom shall I fear! Let us take this day in strength and victory! Amen!
The Lion of Judah
Traditional Youth Camp Song
(Sung to the tune of “The Bells of St. Mary’s”)
The Lion of Judah shall break every chain
And give to us the victory again and again.
The Lion of Judah shall break every chain
And give to us the victory again and again!
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved