Have you seen those documentaries about the animal kingdom where lions eat just about anything they think is tasty? Except for elephants and rhinos of course.
We kind of get protective about the odds, don't we? It makes us want to defend the trapped and dying animals from the lions. We think, “what a brutal way to live!” Our emotions rise and we want to step in and save the prey.
Do you see any peace in that way of life? If you happen to be one of the more vulnerable creatures you’d always be on edge, on high alert, living on adrenaline.
The saying “The lion lays down with the lamb” is attributed to the Bible. Despite it sounding biblical and bringing feelings of a life we think is only a dream, it's actually not in there. However, there are scriptures which have a similar tone and speak of a time when the eternal war between predators and their prey might cease.
Isaiah 11:6-7 state, "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.
7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
Q. How do a wolf and lamb, or a leopard and baby goat, or a young lion and a calf, or a bear and a cow, dwell in peace together? It is against the natures of both the predator and the prey.
Q. How do a predator's tastes change so dramatically?
We have all fallen prey to predators at some time. Whether it’s getting beaten up or being sold a dodgy car, house, or something of value that ends up being a cheap replica after all. There are always predators saying “never give a sucker an even break.” They think nothing of taking from you what they want. From the prey’s perspective, to lie down in peace with a predator is against its own self-protective nature. It's asking a lot, isn't it? The prey needs a lot of forgiveness to do that; sometimes more than it has to give.
Besides that, how does the predator cease from thinking and doing evil? Proverbs 4:16 says, “For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall.”
It's unnatural for predators to have any peace until they have first enjoyed some prey. Helping themselves to someone else's goods, livelihoods or bodies is what they do.
We have heard testimonies of those who have fallen prey to sexual predators. The depth of pain, the feeling of being robbed of life, the turmoil their minds and hearts find themselves wrestling with, and the medications and counselling required, all lead to a very difficult time ever forgiving the predator. Yet, our passage says there is a time when this can happen?
The unnatural peace of God
Jesus brings with Him an unnatural peace; unnatural for the fact that it changes our nature. That peace defies all feelings and emotions, it soothes and replaces all hatreds and fears, it surpasses ALL understanding.
With Christ, both the predator and prey no longer need to be driven by instinct. Those natural characteristics are replaced by the especially restful nature of Jesus Christ. Jesus was neither a predator nor prey, except for His voluntary slaughtering when the wolves, the leopards, the young lions, and the bears of His day, normally at war with each other, gathered around as a Satanic community of predators, to feast themselves on His carcase.
Little did those predators know they released His blood into the world which can save all who believe in its power of Salvation, and even them if they so desired, as we saw with Nicodemus.
Have you fallen prey to a predator? You may be that predator?
Either way, if you allow the precious blood of Jesus Christ to wash you clean of your nature and let His own essence of love, peace and joy grow in you, you will no longer be at the mercy of your instincts, but elevated to a place where even your desires become like His.
Today's prayer: Dear Lord, I want my nature changed to be like yours. I want the peace and confidence of a restored life it brings. Please pour your love into me as I struggle with the pain of my past.
Photo by Jean Wimmerlin