Why a lion?

(Photo: Getty/iStock)

"Lion" was a special Easter performance by my church's worship team and choir at our Easter Resurrection Sunday. You can view it here along with the introductory video that introduced it.

"Lion" is a powerful song by Elevation Worship that speaks to the strength and might of God, portraying him as the Lion of Judah.

The song is a reminder of God's unwavering power and sovereignty over all things. The lyrics of the song encourage listeners to put their trust in God and to have faith in his abilities to protect and provide.

The song begins with the powerful opening lines:

God of Jacob, Great I Am
King of angels, Son of Man
Voice of many waters
Song of Heaven's throne
Louder than the thunder
Make Your glory known.

These words are declarative and powerfully emphatic.

The opening lines of the song declare the greatness of God. These lines establish the song's focus on God's power and authority over all creation, as well as his status as both divine and human.

The phrase "God of Jacob, Great I Am" is a reference to two different names for God in the Bible. The first part of the phrase, "God of Jacob", refers to a name that God revealed to Jacob in the book of Genesis.

In Genesis 32:28, God tells Jacob, "Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed."

The second part of the phrase, "Great I Am," is a reference to another name for God that is revealed in the book of Exodus.

In Exodus 3:14, God tells Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." This name emphasises God's eternal nature and his self-sufficiency. God exists in and of himself, without the need for anything or anyone else to sustain him.

Hail, hail Lion of Judah, Let the Lion roar!

The chorus of the song is perhaps its most memorable and impactful section.

"The Lion of Judah" is a title given to Jesus and describes him as a powerful and victorious ruler. This powerful declaration invokes the image of a roaring lion, symbolising God's strength and power.

The phrase "Let the Lion roar!" is a call to worship and praise Jesus for his power and authority. It is a reminder that Jesus is not just a gentle lamb, as he is often depicted in art and literature, but also the powerful and mighty ruler who can overcome any obstacle or challenge.

The roar of a lion is a symbol of strength and courage, and the phrase encourages us to acknowledge and celebrate the power and authority of Jesus.

We can have faith in Jesus as the one who saves and delivers us, and to trust in his strength and power to see us through difficult times.

Pride of Zion, prophets spoke
Our Messiah flesh and bone
You alone are worthy to open up the scroll
Like a lamb, You suffered, but the Lion has arose

Jesus is the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament prophets who spoke of a coming Messiah who would save his people.

"Pride of Zion" is a reference to Jerusalem, also known as Zion. Use of this title emphasises Jesus's Jewish heritage and his coming as the fulfillment of Jewish prophecy.

"Our Messiah flesh and bone" is a reference to the humanity of Jesus Christ. Jesus was not just a spiritual being, but is also fully human with a physical body.

In Revelation, the scroll sealed with seven seals is presented to Jesus. The scroll contains the future events of the world, and only Jesus is worthy to open it and reveal its contents.

This reminds us of Jesus' divine authority and power.

"Like a lamb, You suffered, but the Lion has arose" refers to Jesus's death and resurrection. The phrase "like a lamb" is a reference to Jesus's sacrificial death on the cross, where he was described as the "Lamb of God" who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29).

Jesus was willing to lay down his life for the salvation of humanity.

Prepare the way.
Prepare the way of the Lord

This lyric is directly quoting Isaiah chapter 40, verse 3. The bridge of the song is a call to action, urging listeners to indeed, prepare the way of the Lord.

We can actively participate in bringing about God's will here on earth, by preparing our hearts and minds for his presence.

We should always be prepared for the second coming of Christ, living in a state of repentance and holiness.

"Prepare the way" is also a call to prepare our hearts and minds for a deeper relationship with God. It is a call to remove any obstacles or distractions that may hinder our spiritual growth and to create space in our lives for God to work.

O valley, be raised up
O mountain, be made low

The repetition of the phrase "O valley, be raised up, O mountain, be made low" is also significant, as it is a reference to a prophecy from the book of Isaiah, which speaks of preparing the way for the Lord.

God's ways are higher than ours.

When we see valleys or mountains, God's perspective is uniquely in a whole higher paradigm of thinking where the highs and lows become irrelevant.