Thursday, March 3, 2011

Lions and Their Meaning in Holy Writ: Part 4

Prov. 28:1b … the righteous are bold as a lion.

The word “righteous” here means one who is lawful, or in others words obeys and lives by the Torah. “Bold” in the Hebrew means to be confident and sure of oneself and abilities in that when you face an opponent, believe in yourself and your G-d given abilities and gifts and do not back down. So if you are obedient to Torah, you should have no fear of facing an enemy or a challenge, you can have the confidence in knowing you will be the victor.

Prov. 30:30 A lion [which is] strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any;

Lions, when challenged do not back down from a fight. Sometimes all they have to do is roar and the enemy or challenger flees. Other times it stands its ground and fights till it wins or dies. When in combat the world melts away and all the lions focus, attention and energies is to fight, conquer and win. Lions are not quitters; they never give up and always finish what they start. Lions do not waste their time or energies, they fight when they have to, but if all they have to do is roar to end a conflict it will do what the situation demands without hype or over kill.

Isa. 31:4 For thus hath the LORD spoken unto me, Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, when a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, [he] will not be afraid of their voice, nor abase himself for the noise of them: so shall the LORD of hosts come down to fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof.

The only predator lions have is man (though hyenas have been know to kill a singled out lion and thus can be seen as a type of predator) and even when facing a man, or a group of men (shepherds) a lion will not run away, he will not be dissuaded or fearful. Man represents something unnatural, strange and unknown and a lion is not fearful or will not back down in the face of the unknown because a lion knows its ability and believe in himself. Fear manifests itself in with an embarrassing loss of control. Humans, when they are scared out of their wits will become incapacitated, loose control of their bodily functions and urinate or defecate all over themselves, lions will not do this. So lions, in the face of the unknown will never wet themselves or tuck their tails and run. We can take note and apply this to our lives when facing satan, his hordes and the spiritually unknown we all must and will face in life.

Look, we are made in the image of the Lion of Judah (Yeshua) and we do not have to be afraid of anything! Satan or man can do nothing to or against us (Rev. 5:5, Gen. 1:27, 2 Tim. 1:7, Rom. 8:31).

Hosea 5:14-15 For I [will be] unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, [even] I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue [him].  I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.

When the kingdom was divided into two houses/kingdoms; Judah and Israel (sometimes referred to as Ephraim) YHWH said that when they, in exile are fallen away in sin and rebellion that He will pursue and overtake them as a lion does its prey until they acknowledge the error of their ways and repent. There is no getting away from the reprimand of G-d, as there is no escape from a prey that finds itself under the claw and teeth of a lion in its youthful prime.

Hosea 13:7 Therefore I will be unto them as a lion: as a leopard by the way will I observe [them]:

This verse is speaking of Israel’s rebellion and the inevitable consequence that will occur if Israel does not repent (Deut. 26-27). This verse is drawing upon one of the hunting techniques of a lion and the primary technique of a leopard which is by stalking. When a predator stalks it is only for one reason… to kill. They may stalk, lurking silently in the shadows for hours, as long as it takes until just the right time to strike presents itself. The only way Israel is to avert this gruesome fate is, like a deer, jerking up from its grazing, perking its ears and hear the almost non-existent moves of a predator watching from the shadows. Once a prey knows a predator is around, even though the prey still cannot see them, the predators cover is blown and they must leave and return to stalk an hunt another day. So G-d is telling Israel to stop gorging themselves on their sin, realize that because of their un-repentance and apathy they will be caught off guard like a grazing deer when divine judgment falls upon them. Like a deer, they must listen, stop feeding and take notice that they are in danger. Once Israel acknowledges their sin and start to repent YHWH will stop stalking them and call off the hunt.

Hosea 13:8 I will meet them as a bear [that is] bereaved [of her whelps], and will rend the caul of their heart, and there will I devour them like a lion: the wild beast shall tear them.

Even a bear NOT bereaved of her cubs is not an animal you would want to meet in a dark alley, regardless she will pop your chest open like a car hood and eat your heart out.

Now what does it mean to devour them like a lion? As mentioned earlier a lion with its mouth of 30 teeth, among them 4 large canines and with a biting forces of 1000 psi, will either kill by snapping the spinal cord or collapsing the wind pipe, the latter is the most common way, and after the animal is dead the lion will tear into the abdomen and eat out the heart, liver and kidneys first; the richest and most nutrient filled of the vital of organs. A lion will only eat the most beneficial morsels of the kill first to regain its strength. Spiritually speaking we are lions who need to eat rich meat; we are not cubs still suckling on our mothers teats full of milk, or are we (I Cor. 3:2, Heb. 5:12)? We must consume spiritually that which is most beneficial to us and not waste our pallets on fluff.

Joel 1:6 For a nation is come up upon my land, strong, and without number, whose teeth [are] the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion.

Joel by the word of YHWH warns his people of an impending attack by nations such as Phoenicians, Philistines, Egyptians and Edomites. These nations were known for their lion like characteristics, their cunning and prowess in warfare. They were known for their ruthless cruelty upon their enemies. The edges of their swords and the tips of their spears and javelins were as forceful and deadly as lion’s teeth. Some of these nations admired or even worshiped the lion, some of their gods were lion-like.

A lion’s mouth and the psi of its bite differ according to what part of then mouth it uses. A lion will use the front of its mouth where the 4 great canines are for grabbing and holding and the psi is significantly less than the teeth that are in the cheek area of the mouth which is used for ripping, and tearing flesh and crushing bone.

Amos 3:4 Will a lion roar in the forest, when he hath no prey? will a young lion cry out of his den, if he have taken nothing?

Amos 3:8 The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord GOD hath spoken, who can but prophesy?

The context of the verse, and to answer the question it poses is, no, a lion will not roar if it has no prey. The roar is bragging rights, telling of a successful kill. A lions roar alerts enemies to stay away and announces to the pride that dinner is on the table. If a lion roars prematurely or for no reason it can scare away a potential meal. When lions roar in the presence of man, it is usually a warning to back off and go away, for man is not usually seen as a meal, but as a threat. Sometimes, when a lion has a prey right where he wants it, the lions roar brings fear to the prey, and so as it says in Amos 3:8, "The lion hath roared, who will not fear?" The roaring of the lion when he has prey causes fear in the prey and this fear makes escaping harder for the prey, the fear causing confusion and thus aids the lion in capturing his food. "Their roaring shall be like a lion, they shall roar like young lions: yea, they shall roar, and lay hold of the prey, and shall carry it away safe, and none shall deliver it" Isa 5:29.

Usually, a lion will employ great stealth when hunting prey, but sometimes it will actually do the opposite. For example, when hunting at night, when a lioness hunting party has a herd of gazelle surrounded they will purposely paw the ground, growl and make noises to psych out their prey, to strike terror and confusion in their hearts so as to make an easier kill. When a prey is utterly psyched out like this when they run, it matters not where they go, for they are surrounded so any direction they dart will land them in the mauls of a lion.

We can applicably learn from Amos’ example of lions to use logic, common sense, instinct as well as wisdom and strategy in spiritual warfare.

Amos 3:12 Thus saith the LORD; As the shepherd taketh out of the mouth of the lion two legs, or a piece of an ear; so shall the children of Israel be taken out that dwell in Samaria in the corner of a bed, and in Damascus [in] a couch.

This verse reveals a lions eating habits. Amos likens Israel’s Kings to a shepherd. We have already read how King David, as a boy would fight off lions and bears from taking his fathers sheep. It is easier to prevent or ward off a lion attack than it is to save a lamb snatched up by a lion. The chance of a shepherd rescuing a sheep from a lion’s mouth is slim to none. They will only manage to pull a limb from out of a lion’s gaping maul. G-d is saying to Israel’s leaders that if they refuse to repent and lead the nation into repentance that lion-like nations will come against them without mercy and carry them off like a lion does its prey and their efforts to rescue them will only grant them a small injured remnant.

After a lion is done with a meal remnants are left behind for scavengers to find, such as limbs and the head. Limbs are only eaten when the food supply is dangerously low and a lion is desperately hungry. So Amos is saying that Israel in her unrepentant state will be attacked and carted off into captivity and only a small remnant will manage to escape, and the remnant that survives, what good will it be? What good is a limb or an ear with out the body to employ their use?

Micah 5:8 And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the Gentiles in the midst of many people as a lion among the beasts of the forest, as a young lion among the flocks of sheep: who, if he go through, both treadeth down, and teareth in pieces, and none can deliver.

This verse is a picture of the nation of Israel today. It occupies a strip of land about the size of the state of New Jersey and is surrounded by unfriendly gentile nations bigger than them and yet numbers do not matter to lions. What is a flock of sheep against a hunting part of lions? Lions excel at beating the odds. Think of all the wars Israel had with the surrounding nations since 1948, logically, by the sheer numbers of people and the abundance of fire power these enemy nations had, they should have wiped the floor with Israel. But the enemy nations, though great in number and fire power were as a flock of sheep in the midst of lions, they didn’t stand a chance! 

To be continued on Part 5