There are a good many lions mentioned in the Bible. And as we study the situations, and the context, in which these animals are mentioned, we find that God has used them to accomplish many of His purposes. Sometimes the lessons from lions were aimed at demonstrating to the world that He was/is God. This was the case with Daniel, mentioned in Daniel 6, where he was thrown into a den of lions, his enemies anticipating that he would be torn to pieces. But the contrary transpired. God, by closing the mouths of the lions, and delivering Daniel, revealed to King Darius that, “…He (God) is the living God, and steadfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.” (Daniel 6:26) One also must wonder what God was doing in the heart of Daniel before, and during the act, of being thrown in to the den.
Most certainly, in the economy of God, nothing is lost in training His servants in the life of faith, not even in the use of lions.
David met a lion. He declared this to King Saul, just prior to going to battle with Goliath. He said to Saul, (1 Samuel 17:34-37) “…there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: I went after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth…” But then, we get a glimpse of what the Lord was teaching David with the lion, “…Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear….The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine (Goliath).” Now, we know that the key to David’s life was the Spirit of God, for when he was anointed by Samuel, “…the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.” But David needed to learn, and I speak in a very reverent manner, to “use the Spirit of the Lord,” or rather, to learn to be used by the Spirit of the Lord, in facing a very real foe, the lion. It is interesting that the Lord would train him, and prove him, first with the lion, before He would bring him in contact with Goliath. It seems that the lion was to be used to train David in the ways of God, concerning the intervention and sufficiency of the Spirit of God.
The same is true of Samson, who was confronted by a young lion, which “…roared against him.” Scripture tells us (Judges 14:6) that “the Spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him (Samson),” and he simply tore the animal in pieces with his bare hands. Now, we must ask why God, by His Spirit, allowed Samson to be confronted by this lion? Was it not to teach him of the Spirit’s power and strength to deal with this foe? We will find later in the life of Samson that this meeting with the lion, like that of David, was a prelude, a teaching moment, if you will, which would prepare him for a greater challenge, even the confrontation with a thousand-men enemy force, the Philistines. These he would conquer, by the Spirit.
In conclusion, there is another Lion which must be considered, and learned from. We find Him in Revelation 5:5. Scripture calls Him the “…Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, (who) hath prevailed to open the book.” Now, when John looked toward the “Lion of the tribe of Judah,” he saw a Lamb instead, as it had been slain. Why? Most certainly it is because of God’s condescending love and tenderness to win us is so great. Were we to see the Lion first, we might be overwhelmed by the strength and power of the sight, even afraid to draw nigh. Not so with the Lamb. But returning to this Lion, why is He seen as such? The answer has to do with the word, “prevailed,” or “overcome.” As the Lion, Christ overcame by the shear power and authority of the Holy Spirit, at a total cost to Himself, every spiritual, and physical enemy, even death. A slight glimpse of this power and authority was seen by the disciples when Jesus set Himself to go to up to Jerusalem…(Luke 9:51-53) so set, and totally committed in power and strength, to do His Father’s will.
But the fact of the matter is, He overcame every obstacle, and conquered every foe, that we might be forgiven of our sins, and have Life, Life that is eternal, indeed, His Life.
So, what does God teach us with lions? First, that they are used of Him to teach us to prove the grace and power of God. We are to be more than conquerors. But secondly, and perhaps the most important thing, is that our Lion, and King, has gone before us and conquered every foe. And because His conquest has been complete in every manner, we are called to “follow in His train,” to follow in His steps.
We are called by the same Spirit of Daniel, David, Samson, and Christ Himself, to overcome our foes, without and within, and this as a testimony to the grace of God. Then the world will know that He is God, that, as Darius declared, “…He is the living God, and steadfast forever, and His kingdom shall not be destroyed, and His dominion shall be even unto the end.” Amen.
Have a great “Lion-filled” day…with the meekness of the Lamb, but overcoming every foe…