Thursday, March 3, 2011

Lions and Their Meaning in Holy Writ: Part 3

2 Sam 17:10 And he also [that is] valiant, whose heart [is] as the heart of a lion, shall utterly melt: for all Israel knoweth that thy father [is] a mighty man, and [they] which [be] with him [are] valiant men.

This passage deals with Absalom and his rebellion against, and his coup attempt against his father King David. This passage paints a classic picture of a young lion challenging the elder lion king of the pride.

“Heart of a lion” is referring to the fearless albeit sometimes foolish courage a young virile, strong lion. A young lion at his peak is obviously more feared than a cub and more feared than even an elder lion that is king of the pride.

There is a hidden warning in this passage. It hints that through young lions are virile and strong, they can be foolhardy and that wisdom and experience, brains wins over youthful strength and brawn because ultimately Absalom failed in his attempt to dethrone his father David who was a more experience strategists and warrior than he, though he was older and weaker.

2 Sam. 23:20 And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lion-like men of Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow:

1 Chron. 11:22 Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel, who had done many acts; he slew two lion-like men of Moab: also he went down and slew a lion in a pit in a snowy day.

This passage identical passages is speaking of the amazing and heroic exploits of one of David’s Mighty Men. It says Benaiah (YHWH has built) son of Jehoiada (YHWH knows) slew two lion-like warriors which may have been referring to Nephilim, like Goliath was, a hybrid of fallen angel (demon) and human women, who had supernatural size, strength and abilities. It also records that this warrior of David killed a strong young lion in a confined space in adverse weather. This verse implies that Benaiah in order to slay these two giant warriors and a lion was more lion-like than all three of them put together!

Lions do not give up or back down, even against all odds; they fight for what is theirs and take what they want without mercy nor apology, even at times to the death.

Job 4:10-11 The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the fierce lion, and the teeth of the young lions, are broken. The old lion perisheth for lack of prey, and the stout lion's whelps are scattered abroad.

Here Job uses the analogy of the lion to describe those who rebel and find themselves enemies against YHWH. They are no match for YHWH. Job is saying the enemy tries to pawn itself off as a young ferocious, fearsome virile lion but in reality is as weak as an old decrepit lion past its prime which can no longer hunt, fight, keep or rule a pride. YHWH here is like an older, more skilled and experienced lion putting the foolish you upstart in its place and if it won’t submit and keeps fighting, it dies by the maul of the great lion.

Job 10:16 …Thou huntest me as a fierce lion: and again thou shewest thyself marvellous upon me.

Job, at this point assuming his suffering is possibly due to some hidden wickedness in him, likens YHWH to a young lion at its peek that patiently stalks its prey, silent and stealthily though the fields. The Hebrew implies that often the lion is right beside the prey, but the prey cannot see him even to save his life. The prey is terrified, knowing it is being hunted but cannot see the hunter. This stealth and prowess is what is marvelous to Job. Like a ghost or an invisible man G-d peruses Job and he cannot get away no matter how fast, hard or far he runs in an attempt to escape; this is what amazes Job. Every where Job turns to run, there is G-d.

Job 28:8 The lion's whelps have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed by it.

This passage taken in context with the previous and latter verses, Job speaks of the superiority of YHWH and His knowledge of hidden things and control and subjection of all things that even the mightiest of His creations have not control or authority over. The verse in questions in the Hebrew speaks of the prideful stature of a lion and the strong dynastic youthful progeny he produces and that they do not have dominion over that which YHWH has hidden from them as well as man; the hidden glories of YHWH that the mighty ferocious roaring lions pass over it and don’t even perceive it. This hints at the strength and weakness of a lion. That the virility and authoritative strength is an asset, but its pride in his strength is his ignorance and downfall.

Job 38:39-40 Wilt thou hunt the prey for the lion? Or fill the appetite of the young lions, When they couch in their dens, and abide in the covert to lie in wait?

The Lion is seen as a majestic and powerful creature. In this passage Job describes the might and all powerful self sufficiency of YHWH and if you cannot provide for, or satiate lions and do what they do on and in the heart of their turf, how can you contend against or even please G-d in your own power? It is a futile thing to try and fight against YHWH or appease Him in and of yourself.

This passage hints that lions in Mesopotamian wilderness were known for using entangled boughs, rocks and caves as dens and lairs.

Psa. 7:2 Lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending [it] in pieces, while [there is] none to deliver.

King David likens YHWH to a lion whom a pride can fully trust and rely upon but whom you do not doubt or disrespect with out grave irreparable consequences. You do not want to challenge or get on G-d’s bad side.

“Tear” refers again to the mighty paws and claws of the lion and just as a lion and subdues, or kills its prey with them, G-d can do similar to ones soul and either deliver or cut off as the Hebrew word “pieces” implies.  And just as no one is able to take prey away from the clutches of a lions teeth and claws, so to, no one, neither man or devil can take away from YHWH what He has firmly within His grasp.

So we see, dependant upon context, that a lion in Scripture can represent a friend or foe, G-d or satan.

Psa. 10:9-10 He lieth in wait secretly as a lion in his den: he lieth in wait to catch the poor: he doth catch the poor, when he draweth him into his net. He croucheth, and humbleth himself, that the poor may fall by his strong ones.

This passage is comparing wicked men to lions. David tells us a lions den can be hidden right under ones nose and not even be aware of it until it is too late. Lions travel their territory and can have several minor dens scattered through out their territory. Sort of like some people have a main home and a few vacation homes scattered about the United States. From such a hidden place of a den the lion can patiently wait for unsuspecting prey. By crouching and sinking into the ground a lion stays hidden in the brush until the time is right to strike. The word “humble” in this passage does not refer to ones ego, but ones stature and emphasis the crouching. It simply means to bend or bow low, which is what lions do when they stalk prey. They become one with the grass and ground. They have thick pads on their retractable clawed paws which are like silencers on a lethal gun. They stay hidden and out of sight and move with out a sound until the prey is within pouncing or chasing range where they use short bursts of speed to surprise and over take a victim.

Psa. 17:12 Like as a lion [that] is greedy of his prey, and as it were a young lion lurking in secret places.

This passage also, David likens the wicked to stealthy, ravenous lions who are hungry and lust for a fresh kill, but is patient to quietly wait in hiding till the time is right to spring into action for the kill.

Though this passage is speaking of the wicked we can draw a positive application from this. From this we learn that, like lions, we must be patient and learn to control our desires instead of our desires ruling us and we go about tired and empty handed instead of safe, reclined, satisfied with a full belly.

Many young lions when learning to hunt let their bellies, full of blood lust, rule them and they spring to grab prey too early and the prey out runs them.  They leave defeated, hungry and spent of energy. They obey their lustful desires cry to be satisfied instead of controlling their desires and honing their instinct by patiently watching and waiting for everything to fall into place so one can act with confidence and surety.

Prov. 19:12 The king's wrath [is] as the roaring of a lion; but his favour [is] as dew upon the grass.

Prov. 20:2 The fear of a king [is] as the roaring of a lion: [whoso] provoketh him to anger sinneth [against] his own soul.

Hosea 11:10 They (Ephraim) shall walk after YHWH: He shall roar like a lion: when he shall roar, then the children shall tremble from the west.

Rev. 10:3 And cried with a loud voice, as [when] a lion roareth: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices.

A lion does not roar unless it is provoked, unless it means business. It does so to invoke terror into its enemies of to those who have provoked him. It roars to announce its presence and its ownership of a pride or its occupation of a territory. A lion king’s roar is a comfort to the pride because they know they are safe, but it strikes fear and terror into the enemy. Again, a lion’s roar can be heard by human ears up to 5 miles away! No one can never say they didn’t hear the L-RD speak to them, they just chose not to listen.

The lions roar to an enemy or challenger says, “Really!? You must be a sadist because you’re just asking for a beating. Think twice buddy, do you really want to fight me!? Do you feel lucky punk? Well, do ya!?”

This teaches us to use our power and anger wisely. Be in control of your anger, do not let your anger control you (Eph. 4:26, Prov. 16:32, John 2).

This also teaches us that when we do find it necessary to speak, to speak with surety, confidence, boldness and authority. For we only speak of what we know and we only speak when spoken through by the Spirit of YHWH.

To be continued in Part 4