Recently I've been pondering the fact that christians often talk about God being like a lion and a shepherd. They seem quite contrasting images, so what do they reveal to us about God?
When you think of a lion, what do you think of?
I am reminded of an animal with great power, the 'king' of beasts, majestic. An animal which has ferocious loyalty, and will protect it's family at any cost.
How about a shepherd?
A shepherd usually conjures up images of fluffy sheep on beautiful green fields. However, the reality of being a shepherd is quite different. David told us that he, 'used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bear' (1 Samuel 17:34).
Being a shepherd is a serious job, and seriously dangerous! A shepherd has to be a strong and fearless protector. To do what David describes, he must really love those sheep! If he didn't - would he put his own life at risk?
Both of these images - the lion and the shepherd show how fiercely God loves us.
We are his family, we are his 'sheep'. He fights for you. He is a strong and fearless protector. He put his life at risk for you.
When Jesus died on the cross he showed how precious his sheep are to him. He put his life on the line, and he lost it. Why? So that we don't have to be destroyed by our enemy, the devil, any more. Jesus fought the greatest enemy we could ever face, and he won. He is on the look out and will protect us if we decide to come into his family. He will love and protect us as fiercely as a lion or a shepherd. You will be safe. Life will still bring battles, but you'll have the king on your side.