Saturday, June 8, 2013

The War of the Lions....

I'm reading a book for a group I am leading called In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. It is based on an obscure little Scripture in 2 Samuel 23 about a man named Benaiah, a warrior who "once went down into a pit and killed a lion on a snowy day" (verse 20). The following verse goes on to say that he also killed an Egyptian giant who had a spear in his hand by grabbing the spear and killing the giant with it. David then placed him in command of his own bodyguards. That's all we know about him. But the story got me to thinking about lions.

Benaiah's enemy was a lion. Peter tells us to "Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8). However, Revelation 5:5 calls Jesus the "Lion of the tribe of Judah".

So how can Jesus and the devil both be lions?

The other night I made mention to my seventeen year old daughter that I had never seen the movie The Lion King from start to finish; I had seen little pieces of it, but not the entire movie. She was appalled and insistent that we have a movie night and watch it together. Well, that didn't happen due to our schedules. But the next night as I was reading this book and pondering this question about Jesus and the devil being lions, my mind went to the movie. I knew there was a good lion and a bad one, but I couldn't remember their names.. It was about 11 pm and everyone had gone to bed. Rebecca had my laptop in her room, so I couldn't just Google it.. I sent her a text message (yes, even though she was just down the hall) and asked her who the lions were. Instead of returning my text, she came down the hall all excited that I wanted to know something about it and insisting I watch the movie. So, today I did...

(Please do not think I am creating a "theology" from this movie...just a few thoughts).

Mufasa  is the King of the Jungle; the Pride of the lions. He has a brother named Scar who is extremely jealous of Mufasa and his new son, Simba.

Mufasa is strong, confident, wise, proud and bold; yet cares deeply for his family and the rest of the pride of lions.

Scar is selfish, jealous, bitter, and power-hungry; he will do whatever is necessary to get what he wants....the throne.

Mufasa is teaching his son to be brave. One scene shows Simba standing in the footprint of his father, at which point he realizes just how much bigger and stronger his father is than he. Simba has just done something foolish and his father has rescued him from some hyenas.

"Those hyenas were scared!" says Simba.
Mufasa grins and says, "Cause no one messes with your Dad!"

As I listened to this dialogue, I thought how we as Christians were created in the image of God to  be like Him. And yet, how often do we do something foolish and end up needing to be rescued? And the enemy, the devil, who is Satan (Revelation 12:9) runs scared when God shows up, because "No one messes with your Dad!" One of the hyenas is later heard saying, "I just shudder when I hear that name!"

Scar soon causes a stampede of all the animals and then tells Mufasa that his son, Simba, is in danger of being trampled to death. In the end, Mufasa is killed by his brother, Simba leaves the pride having been convinced by Scar that it is his fault, and Scar has achieved his purpose... he is now the king. As time passes, he has destroyed the lands and let the hyenas take over.

In the meantime, Simba is growing into a strong and mighty lion. Rafiki is a monkey who was adviser to Mufasa. He finds Simba, who wishes he could see his father again. Rafiki tells him to look into a pool of water; Simba sees only a reflection of himself, but Rafiki says, "Look deeper; your Father is in  you." (James 1:23-25). In the end, Simba returns to the pride, and overcomes Scar; after falling from the same rock Mufasa fell from, Scar is attacked and killed by the hyenas.  (Cue the "Circle of Life".)

I told this long story to paint a picture of two lions...

Jesus, the Son of God, the Lion of Judah... 
strong, mighty, brave, wise, teacher, protector, guide, 

the jealous one, selfish, liar, deceiver, manipulator, destroyer, 

Let's return to Benaiah... as he is chasing this lion through the snow, the lion falls into a pit. Now it seems to me, that would be enough; the lion is trapped, Benaiah is safe. But no... he is determined to finish the fight. He jumps into the pit, slays the lion and conquers the enemy.

Paul told the elders of the church in Ephesus, 
"My only aim is to finish the race and 
complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me." 
(Acts 20:24)

Later, he wrote to Timothy, 
"I have fought the good fight, 
I have finished the race,
I have kept the faith." 
(2 Timothy 4:7)

We have an enemy, a roaring lion who would seek to destroy us; however, our Father is the King of the Lions, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and no one messes with His kids! Take up your armor, stand on His promises and don't just face your enemy, but chase him down with all the Authority given unto us. If you doubt your own abilities, look deeper...for the Father is in you! And just like Benaiah, let's not just trap the enemy, but slay him and finish the task set before us.

Fight the fight...
Finish the race...
Keep the faith!

©Be Still and Know

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