Lions have a dual nature. Most of us are familiar with their majesty, strength and bravery. We often ascribe to the connotation that we are like lions – strong, powerful, kingly. This is due to the fact that lions are the most powerful of all carnivorous animals and are commonly referred to as King of the Jungle. However, there is another side that we hear little of and that is rarely referenced. This is the ferocious and destructive nature of lions that are as much a part of their character as their strength, courage and majesty.
The Easton Bible Dictionary revealed that there are six different words used for lions within the Old Testament or the Torah:
– Gor: a “suckling” – the lion’s whelp
– Kephir: “shaggy” – the young lion, a term which is also used figuratively of cruel enemies
– Ari: the “puller” in pieces – denoting the lion in general , without reference to age or sex
– Shahal: the “roarer” – the mature lion
– Laish: so called from its strength and bravery
– Labi: from a root meaning “to roar” – a grown lion or lioness
We will only reference here two of the six words used to discuss the dual nature of the lion – laish (symbolising strength and bravery) and kephir (meaning the young lion and symbolizing cruel enemies). As we take a look within us, we can either identify with the strength, courage and kingship of lions or we can have the nature that identifies us as cruel enemies.
According to the Easton Bible Dictionary, the lion of Palestine was of the Asiatic variety. In Biblical times, lions not only attacked flocks in the presence of the shepherd, but they also laid waste towns and villages, and devoured men. This gives us an idea of the characteristics of the cruel enemy. Now, let us take a look at what will be done to people of this nature.
Psalm 19:13 CJB “You will tread down lions and snakes, young lions and serpents you will trample underfoot.”
I recently read that scripture and, for the first time, I realized that reference was made to not only trampling and treading down snakes but lions as well. There is an alluding to the destruction of the destructive nature of the lion. You see, we can either display the majesty and conquering strength of the lion as did Messiah Yeshua – the Lion of Judah or we can act like cruel enemies with brazen ferocity and destruction.
Galatians 5:14-16 WEB states,
“For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, in this: ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another, be careful that you don’t consume one another. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you won’t fulfill the lust of the flesh.”
When we display kephir, instead of loving others we bite and devour, we malign and slander. We do not walk in love or by the Spirit. In so doing, we not only destroy individuals, but families and communities as well. We sow discord and ruin relationships. We become cruel enemies to others. These things are detestable to YHVH and should never mark our lives. As a result, destruction will be meted out to us.
Proverb 6:16, 19 declares
CJB “There are six things [YHVH] hates, seven which He detests: … him who sows strife (discord) among brothers.”
NET “There are six things that the LORD hates, even seven things that are an abomination to Him: … a person who spreads discord among family members.”
NIV “There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to Him: … a person who stirs up conflict in the community.”
So I ask,
“Which side of the coin are you? Which character do you reflect?”
Let us examine ourselves to see what nature of the lion is evident in our lives. If we find that we portray the nature of cruel enemies who brazenly wreak havoc, lay waste and devour others may we repent, realign ourselves with Holy Spirit and give way to Him to transform us lest we are given over to be destroyed.