In like a Lion, Out like a Lamb

I’m backdating this post to March 1 so it will reside where I want it in the timeline of this blog, but my devotional post for this month is late, late, late–and even that fits with what I have to say. I couldn’t have written it without some tumult.

 “Orchid Flower In Rain With Sunlight.” Image courtesy of Praisaeng at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Orchid Flower In Rain With Sunlight.” Image courtesy of Praisaeng at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We’ve all heard the saying, if March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb. Where I live, we had a big snow two weeks ago, which quickly melted. Ever since, the weather’s been all over the place. Mild and rainy. Suddenly warm. A quick dusting of morning snow a week ago, and evening temperatures in the high sixties last night.

Weather is unpredictable. We know this, even while lamenting the forecasters’ attempts to get it right.

I used to complain about snow and cold–and still do, if I’m honest. I’m a sunflower. I always joke that I live where I do for a reason, but it’s not a joke, not really.

Everyone complains about the weather, but no one does anything about it.

However, I learned something that made me desire to learn to change my attitude about turbulent weather.

I’ve blogged on this, one of my favorite Bible verses, several times before:

“Have you understood all these things?” They said to Him, “Yes.”

And Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”

-Matthew 13:51-52

This verse has grown important to me in the last several years. The question of treasure is one I enjoy coming back to–mining deeper, if you will–and at some point I started to think about things like treasure in heaven and spiritual storehouses. I dug into the Word and found precious gems in Deuteronomy 28:12, Job 38: 22-23, and Jeremiah 10:13–all of them showing examples of what we see here:

He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth;
Who makes lightnings for the rain,
Who brings forth the wind from His treasuries.

-Psalm 135:7

As it turns out, the weather comes from the treasuries of God, which made me feel pretty much not-okay about bitterly complaining when it didn’t suit me. Both lionesque and lamb-like weather come as God wills, and there’s little to be done about either.

And of course, lion and lamb imagery is familiar in another context, as well.

The Lion

Throughout Scripture, lions signify boldness occasionally and destruction often. There are literal lions (think Daniel in the lions’ den) and figurative lions (Psalm 22:12-14, for example).

And there are passages that describe the Lord as a lion. Isaiah 38:12-14 is one. Here is another:

He has blocked my ways with hewn stone;
He has made my paths crooked.
He is to me like a bear lying in wait,
Like a lion in secret places.
He has turned aside my ways and torn me to pieces;
He has made me desolate.”

“For the Lord will not reject forever,
For if He causes grief,
Then He will have compassion
According to His abundant lovingkindness.”

-Lamentations 3:9-11, 31-32

To be sure, there are times when the Lord will bring, or allow, pain into our lives. Destruction. Tumult. Stormy weather (literally and figuratively). Yet we see that His mercies aren’t far removed from these lion times.

We can’t predict them, and oftentimes we can’t prepare for them, at least not in a tangible sense. Those times send us falling back on the Romans 8:28 promise…

But what if the lion times also come straight from the treasuries of our God? Could it deepen the believer’s faith to look on discipline, hardship, and loss, difficult as they are, the way the Word of God refers to lightning and wind, as coming from His treasuries?

The Lamb

And then, eventually, the skies clear.

Most of the time, particularly in the Old Testament, lambs were discussed in the context of sacrifices, but they can also convey gentleness, as in Psalm 78:70-72 and Isaiah 11:6.

At times, both senses are evident:

He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.

-Isaiah 53:7

The sacrifice of Jesus for the salvation of mankind was certainly His greatest gift to us–an unsurpassed treasure. That He went to the cross in acquiescence, obedience, and gentleness gives His followers a model to emulate. Even when we have tough stuff to face.

It’s an example that also has the value of great treasure, in the same way that we delight in the gift and respite of a perfect spring day.

That is one of the awesome facets of the character of Jesus: that He is both Lion and Lamb (as in Revelation 5:4-6), and He will use everything at His disposal (which is literally everything) to draw us to Him–destruction and gentleness, storms and sunshine.

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