From a Bloodthirsty Lion to a Blood-shedding Lamb

Faith neither fights nor flies but rather repents and casts all on the Savior’s mercy.

This glimmer of comfort enables you to lift your eyes heavenward. And there you sense the root cause of all your troubles—the face of your God, justly angered by your backsliding and compromising. Eyes meet. Time stands still. Fight or flight? Or faith?

 

I will go and return to my place till they acknowledge their offense, and seek my face. — Hosea 5:15

In the previous verse, Israel is ravaged by the divine Lion. The nation is torn and taken away, and none can rescue. Now the angry Lion is portrayed as returning to His lair with its prey in His mouth. He drops the faintly breathing body and lies down in His place. His fury is partly assuaged; His prey is barely alive. And He says, “I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offense, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.”

After some time, the body begins to groan and stir; the eyes open and slowly and fearfully focus on the angry adversary. Eyes meet. Time stands still.

“I’m so sorry,” stutters and stammers the aching body. “I provoked your anger. I understand and accept your just response. Thank you for sparing my life. Please pity me. Please help me.”

The Lion slowly rises and walks round the pitiful sight. He moves towards the face, pauses, opens His mouth, and…begins to lick the wounds and warm the fear-frozen limbs. The eyes open in wonder and, instead of seeing a bloodthirsty lion, behold a blood-shedding lamb!

Wounded, bleeding, barely breathing believer, has the Lord ravaged you? You provoked and provoked until His anger was justly roused. He tore you and took you away. Bodily disease, family disaster, business failure, or dark depression has left you barely alive. But you sense there is now a lull in the storm, some welcome days of relative peace.

This glimmer of comfort enables you to lift your eyes heavenward. And there you sense the root cause of all your troubles—the face of your God, justly angered by your backsliding and compromising. Eyes meet. Time stands still. Fight or flight? Or faith?

Faith neither fights nor flies but rather repents and casts all on the Savior’s mercy. Such faith and repentance transforms the bloodthirsty Lion into a bloodshedding Lamb. Look at the very next verse, “Come, and let us return to the Lord: for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up” (Hos. 6:1).

David Murray is Professor of Old Testament & Practical Theology at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. This article first appeared on his blog, Head Heart Hand, and is used with permission.