Today’s carvings for our Bible reading show The Lion, a great contrast to the lowly patience lesson of last Sunday, The Ox. “Bold as a lion,” (his chief characteristic) would be more truly translated as “fearless as a lion.” And fearless he is as he stalks his prey only to get within sight of it, when he rushes upon it, not with stealth as the tiger or the panther, but with a roar of victory. “The lion roaring for his prey” is one of his marks of old.
Another characteristic is that he fights to win. It was told Israel in this very context, in Baalim’s vision of the victory over the Land, of a promise that he should be as the lion who would not lie down til he would eat the prey and drink of the blood of the slain.
A rich beautiful fearlessness comes from drinking in the spirit of Jesus, for all through His life he is setting it forth, as in:
- The high standard set by the Sermon on the Mount.
- The fearless way He dealt with His disciples, never bribing followers with promises of an easy path.
- In His dealings with those whom He had to reprove and rebuke.
- The fearless looking forward to Gethsemane and Calvary, knowing what was coming, and going straight on to the very end.
He can pour that into our spirits. All through the first chapters of Joshua they were told to go fearlessly, and go on they did as appointed, though they must have been scoffed at and laughed to scorn by the inhabitants watching them go round and round Jericho their stronghold in this apparently aimless way. The same at Pentecost after the disciples had once more come into full touch with their Lord and his Spirit poured upon them. At once poor old Peter, who awhile back had “stood without” and “followed afar,” dashed into the middle of that hostile crowd, with so powerful a message that the result was – 3000!
It seems as if we had a great deal to learn in this, whether fearlessness comes naturally to us or not. Fear, like courage, is infectious, and it is most necessary in a Moslem land that we should learn to master it, for one of the greatest hindrances of these people is their fearfulness. It takes some time to realize what a huge part fear plays in their lives, but they are just riddled with every kind of terror and superstition.
If there is anything from which we shrink, anything that we feel we cannot face, just have it quietly out with God. Come to our Lord and ask Him that just there His Spirit may come into our spirit and His fearlessness flow into our fearfulness.
The disciples may not have known the significance of what the angel said “as ye have seen Him go up into heaven.” (Acts 1) But just as Elisha’s request for Elijah’s spirit was granted because he saw his departure into heaven, and his mantle was allowed to fall on him so Christ’s mantle fell on them after ten days. And it is just so in our own souls: It is as we see Jesus, as He gets absolutely revealed by the Holy Spirit, as we look up to Him and Him alone, that we shall be able to drink in His Spirit without effort, and have confidence about God, about His Word, about the path by which He leads us. So we don’t need to work ourselves up into any emotional state, but just simply look straight up to Him.
“Jesus is Master of the impossible.”
“I will fear no evil for Thou art with me.”
~ Lilias Trotter (May 19, 1928)