Prayerful RetreatHow often do you have a “prayerful retreat” with God?
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The Strong Lion
The Lord of heaven’s armies will hover over Jerusalem and protect it (v.5).
Ethiopia suffers an alarmingly high rate of marriages by abduction (some estimates say 70 percent of marriages happen this way). Earlier this year, seven men abducted a 12-year-old girl, beating her and intending to force her to marry one of them. She somehow escaped, and when the men tracked her down they discovered serious trouble. Several lions had gathered round the girl, chasing off her abusers and protecting her for half a day. The police said, “[The lions] stood guard until we found her and then just left her like a gift and went back into the forest.”
God describes Himself as a lion, bold and tenacious, watching over His people. Courageous lions are “not frightened” by “shouts and noise” or by whatever forces are arrayed against them. “In the same way,” God said, “the Lord . . . hover[s] over” His people. God “will defend and save . . . and rescue” (Isaiah 31:4). In contrast to our certain protection under God’s powerful care, Isaiah reminded God’s people how “sorrow awaits those who look to Egypt for help, trusting their horses, chariots, and charioteers.” Sorrow and ruin await any of us who depend “on the strength of human armies instead of looking to the Lord” (v.1).
So long as we cling to the authorities and powers of this world for our well-being, we are destined to experience upheaval and precarious vulnerability. God assures us, however, that He watches over us and protects us. This doesn’t mean that we’ll never encounter harm. But it does mean that the God of the universe holds us under His attentive care and will not allow any force or creature to overwhelm us. God is our strong lion, and we’re under His strong, loving, and careful protection.
Read Isaiah 31:1 a second time. What other image from nature does God use to reveal His care over us? Which image do you most identify with? Why?
Where are you in need of God’s strong protection? Where else (other than to God) are you tempted to look for it?
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