Jesus in the Lion’s Den



We were camping on the veldt in Tsavo National Park in Kenya.  Our long line of tents was set up facing an elephant watering hole about fifty yards away.  As we turned in for the night, a sentry armed with a rifle paced between the campfires burning to ward off the animals.

After 11:00 PM a solitary male lion approached our camp on his way to the waterhole. We were an unexpected barrier blocking his access; the fires and the sight of the guard all very intimidating.  So the big cat began to roar as he skulked along the rear line of our tents, first one direction and then the other, back and forth. I fell asleep to the distinctive lullaby of a snarling lion, the king of beasts expressing his violent displeasure.

It called to mind 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”  And it struck me, lions don’t roar when they’re hunting.  They roar when they’re angry or threatened.   When Peter warns us to be alert because Satan is like a roaring lion, he’s also tipping us off: all that racket means our adversary is angry and frustrated. It doesn’t sound like a successful hunt, does it?

That’s why we in the Kingdom continue to hear the same old snarling cliches and tired slogans recycled from Hell again and again. Don’t the enemies of Christ ever come up with new material?  If it doesn’t work the first time, then roar louder the next time, right?

Just this morning, a friend asked how to answer an insult hurled endlessly in print and conversation.  How can Christians be offended by Islamist terrorism when we did the very same things during the Crusades?  I just smiled.  In the first place, the Crusades happened a thousand years ago. How is it that people who cannot remember 9/11/01 have such vivid memories of 1095 AD?  But more importantly, the Crusades were launched as a defensive measure to resist the unrelenting slaughter and kidnapping of peaceful pilgrims hoping to visit the Holy Land and walk where Jesus walked.  The motivation was never about claiming new nations for Christ or forcing anyone to convert. The Crusaders were always a last ditch response to foreign aggression. Quite notably, the Christian pilgrims were not being killed and kidnapped by offended atheists.  (For details, read God’s Battalions, Rodney Stark’s highly acclaimed defense of the Crusades.)

Earlier this week, I found myself offering encouragement to a frustrated professional who came by my office. He had fallen away from another church years ago and was attempting to explain his rationale for rejecting the faith.  Along the way he assured me that all religions are the same: “Islamic extremists kill people but so do all those Christians who bomb abortion clinics.” I didn’t lose my smile, but I did politely interrupt.

“Which evangelical abortion clinic bombers do you have in mind?” I asked.  Abortion clinic bombings are so incredibly rare that death by falling into vats of chocolate must surely be more numerous.  And just because we know a bomber hated abortionists, doesn’t mean we know he loved Jesus.  In fact, killing innocent people is compelling evidence he didn’t know Jesus Christ and was simply deranged or just mean.  That’s a far cry from the armies of suicide bombers and masked executioners who carry the Koran and shout “Allahu Akbar,” as they wage bloody war on civilians.  The man in my office sighed as he conceded the point.

With all due respect to the sincerity of Islamic State killers and Boko Haram rapists, you don’t have to be a sociologist to recognize those kinds of activities are ghastly and unthinkable to followers of Jesus Christ! There are no Christian majority nations where angry mobs stand in the streets chanting for death to any other nation or even another religious group. Nothing could be more unlike Jesus.

Angry, snarling pagans are still trying to toss Jesus into the lions’ den.  But their arguments are toothless.  Their facts are just fake news.  And even a spoonful of Truth seasoned with gentleness and respect can often shut the mouths of the lions- or at least enlighten the spectators watching from the gallery.  Don’t be ashamed of the Gospel, and don’t let mindless slogans and bogus history lessons lie there unanswered.  But speak the truth in love, with all gentleness and respect.

And lift up the Cross!



9 thoughts on “Jesus in the Lion’s Den

  1. Everything i’ve read was very insightful and interesting and helpful! We don’t have to be offended or intimidated but be sober minded and vigilant and know the (Word) and respond with Love and kindness. You gave excellent examples that I will be pondering on! Thank you and God Bless

    1. Thanks, John. It seems like a lot of us noticed the biblical references to “spiritual warfare” but overlooked all those references to “gentleness and respect.” Let’s never stop learning, my friend.

  2. Like so many things in life…”if you are catching Flack it means your over your target ”

    The Lions Den?
    When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house, fell upon his knees and Prayed, giving Thanks before his God. He knew that document stated any one who petitioned any god other than the king, would be cast into a den of hungry lions. Yet Daniel did it anyway…Why? Was he challenging the king for the sake of his honor? No, nor did he ask for trouble. “Why do the nations conspire against Him and why do the peoples plot in vain?” Daniel was lead straight into temptation. Daniel would go to his house and pray three times a day, every day and this day would be no different despite his knowledge. It was Daniel who was being challenged..on behalf of his God. The enemy’s of God set a trap for him and what did God do? He did what he did for Job, nothing. That’s the thing about God all He has to do is nothing.
    “The lion crouches at the door ( There’s a hunting stance for ya ) His desire is for you but you must master it”
    The lesson is…what would I do under the same circumstances.
    In these times a peoples who are conspiring against the Lords anointed are pulling down the institutions of Christianity where ever they can. No prayer in Schools, No crosses symbolizing our fallen hero’s “No greater Love has a man than this: That he lay down his life for his fellows” They want to get rid of “in God we trust” and every institution of American exceptionalism. They challenge and intimidate any resistance to their cause. That cause is Rage. “When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord”.

    They claim a separation of Church and state. In the mean time we are told to embrace the religion of Peace. To be tolerant of others. Yet tolerance is not an exercise the opposition is willing to consider toward the Christian believer.
    I often tell people that if I were a baker of wedding cakes and a militant gay couple asked me to bake their wedding cake I would refuse. I would do so not in the name of Christianity for that would not be tolerated but if I said I refuse in the name of Allah and the danger of offending my Muslim neighbors I’m sure they would choose to harass some other baker.
    We all must be willing to enter into that Den of Lions. Who knows perhaps God will send his angles to stop the mouths of Lions, never the less “Father Glorify thy name”
    Know this: The world will hate you but before it hated you it hated Him and it hates you because of Him.

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