My Shepherd, the Lion
But this is what the Lord told me: "When a strong young lion stands growling over a sheep it has killed, it is not frightened by the shouts and noise of a whole crowd of shepherds. In the same way, the Lord of Heaven's Armies will come down and fight on Mount Zion."
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me. Your rod and Your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows."
Psalm 23: 4-5
I have never encountered a lion in the wild. But I know enough about predators and food chains to realize the supreme power pictured in the verse from Isaiah. The crowd of shepherds may have the lion outnumbered, and they may be making a whole lot of noise. But numbers and noise and a show of force don't matter when the real power lies with the apex predator; the lion.
Sometimes, we'd like to forget that Jesus is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. The image is too visceral, too fierce. We'd prefer to think about the Good Shepherd, leading His sheep beside quiet waters.
But life isn't all quiet waters, and when the green pastures have given way to the valley of the shadow and a crowd of enemies gathers around, it's important to remember that our Good Shepherd is a Lion.
This is peace that passes understanding: the assurance that I'm following the most powerful Shepherd around. I'm with the Lion, so I can sit down and feast in the presence of my enemies, secure in the knowledge that He who is in me has vanquished sin, death and Hell.
I belong to the Lion.
I have nothing to fear.