His roar reverberates through the atmosphere. It pierces the silence and immediate attention is paid to it. How very powerful can be a cry, a call an utterance. It does not cause me to rise, but I listen intently. It is not a sound of victory that I hear. Not at all. I hear a much deeper, a desperate roar. ‘I’m not able to be who I was created to be. I long to roam freely and I want to be able to conquer. I’m confined by my forced boundaries, created by man. I’m made to have freedom and to live in harmony with my surroundings. I’m meant to be king of my jungle, but I’m penned with electric wires and a man-made cave with pre-destined, regular intervals I’m fed a diet not of my choosing and not made possible by my own skill. I’m confined and incarcerated. My roar groans my longing for a life lived free, oh to be free, to fulfil my potential, to lead my pride and to earn the respect due to me. I cannot. Will I ever be unrestricted? Even for a day or perhaps a week? My roar should pierce your heart and let me go. You snap and you gaze for a moment and you move on. I remain.’
Visiting the second poorest country in the world and my fellow travellers from the richest country in the world, the roar causes swift action to view this magnificent and largest cat of Africa. Now enclosed and gated and supposedly protected. Cameras are flashing and excited voices delight in seeing him ‘for real’ and not just on screen or a page. He is but one of five in his ‘generous’ enclosure.
My heart aches as he roars. It penetrates my soul. At a later stage we drive past him and the vehicle stops so that we might stare. I gaze deep into his eyes. They hold no hope and display no victory. His gaze is intent and brings tears quickly. Oh, I am so sorry, so very sorry I whisper. We have done you a great wrong. This is not your portion. On behalf of humankind, I am so very sorry. I too long for that glorious day when all of creation is set free by the One through whom all things were and are brought into being.
Reduced to a mere tourist attraction, to generate an income, his role is diminished to a minute scale of what should have been.
Later, the Lion of Judah Himself whispers to me. That was a true reflection that you needed to see and then write down. As you have incarcerated this majestic beast to a small area of the vast land, just so My people do to Me. You decide where you want me to fit into your lives. You choose which boundary to erect and where your boundary will give me room or restraint. You give me a minute area in which I can reside. Yet, major areas you dominate with your own ways and to your own choosing, you welcome Me not and shut Me out. You decide on the Scriptures, parables and teachings you will feed on and ignore the ones that don’t please you. You have decided to re-create Me into your images. You have decided which Scriptures are no-go areas and which ones you prefer to ignore. I have become too dangerous and too intimidating and you have decided to confine me like you incarcerate this beast. And yet, I AM not a beast. I AM the everlasting King and I always will be.
I AM the Lion of Judah and I will establish My Kingdom.
As the lion of Africa roars to be heard and roars to be free and roars to touch the soul of man, so I roar through My Word and My Spirit. Oh that you would break down the barriers and the barbed and electric fences of your own making and allow me free reign.
You weep for this beast, you weep also for the lost, the luke-warm, the double-minded and the arrogant. As this lion is used to generate an income and bring in the crowds from near and far – so too I AM being used for generating an income and creating a crowd not of My making.
I AM the Lion of Judah and I desire not the coins in your pockets, but your hearts and your hands and your feet and your eyes to represent Me to the poor, the lost, the widows, the fatherless and the lonely and the suffering.
I AM the Lion of Judah and yet you hide Me in small spaces and incarcerate me to your plush buildings and build not My Kingdom. Repent and turn and go where I AM needed, not where I AM a money-spinner.
I AM the Lion of Judah and I will judge. I will separate and I will reward. I roar not like the great cat of Africa. I roar through the cries of the oppressed, the hungry and the rejected. I roar through the piercing cry of the child dying of hunger and the one longing for a life of security and love.
I AM the Lion of Judah and I roar through the tears of the disabled and the aged. Do you not see them? Do you not seek them out? Do you not walk the extra mile to reach down? No, you do not. You pass by quickly. The coins in your pocket must multiply and you must call yourself blessed. You are not. The weight of your coins drag you down, down into the miry clay. And there you get stuck. Yet, I AM the Lion of Judah and I AM mercy and grace. Take My hand that I might pull you out and place you firmly on The Rock.
I AM the Lion of Judah, will you be still? Will you listen intently? Will you hear Me? Will you trust me? Will you obey Me? You will – but only if you love Me.
I AM the Lion of Judah, the only One who can set you free indeed. Enter not the wide gate, get on the narrow path – even if it seems unlikely and less comfortable. Settle, seek and find – then follow Me.
I AM the Lion of Judah, I came to destroy the work of the enemy. Yet, you co-operate not. It is I that give you life, abundant life and yet you stand by and watch as the enemy kills and steals and destroys. ‘The poor are not my problem’ you say. ‘The poor are a product of their own making’ you say. You look the other way. You look only to yourself and your own little group. Shame on you. You heed not My Word. Your light will not shine until you stoop for the lowly.
I AM the Lion of Judah – The Lamb who takes away the sins of the world. Sit awhile and allow Me to be present with you, in you and through you.
“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. Revelation 22:21