The Lion, the Bear, and the Giant
Paul L. Garlington

“And David said to Saul, ‘Let no man’s heart fail on account of him (the giant); your servant will go and fight with this Philistine.’ Then Saul said to David, ‘You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth while he has been a warrior from his youth.’ But David said to Saul, ‘Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine (the giant) will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.’ And David said, ‘The Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.’ And Saul said to David, ‘Go, and may the Lord be with you.’” (1 Sam 17:32-37)

Sooner or later, everyone will have to beard the lion in his den; confront the bear or bear the burden; face the giant who exalts himself against the One, besides whom, there is none other, and expose the nothingness of “the lie”.

After Saul said to David, “You are not able,” David demurs and establishes why he is more than adequate to handle the giant. “I have killed both the lion and the bear...” Notice the circumstances that led to the ultimate confrontation with the giant. “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb...” Now in the book of Genesis, we read, “Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.” (Gen 2:15) When we think of the garden of Eden, we think of paradise, God consciousness, the consciousness of oneness, awareness of omnipresent good, the conviction that the whole earth is full of His glory. Moreover, Adam is told to do two things in relationship to the garden: cultivate and keep it. To cultivate means to promote and provide an atmosphere that is conducive to growth. Tending the garden of Eden is analogous to caring for sheep. The sheep or lamb always represents purity, innocence and guilelessness.

This is obviously not the definition of innocence found in our American system of jurisprudence. In truth, you see, innocence is the pure heart that sees God. It is single, undivided and committed to the truth that there is eternally one power existing unopposed, and it is only good. Innocence, in a sense, has to do with a certain lack of knowledge. Namely, the innocent one does not know good or evil, only God. The incurious state of the innocent is one of joy, peace, contentment and guilelessness. Hence, keeping the father’s sheep is synonymous with God’s instruction to Adam concerning the garden of Eden. The garden is your heart. Keep it with all diligence for out of it flow the issues of life. It is the place where the miracle seed that contains the truth that God is one and besides Him, there is none other, is planted, and where miracle growth is a common place occurrence. Why is this so? Because in the eternal now of the great I Am, “...he who sows and he who reaps rejoice together.” (Jn 4:36) Do you get it? As you abide in the eternal now of omnipresent good, past and future collapse into and are absorbed by the glorious “isness” of it is all good. We then water this garden with joy, praise and thanksgiving.

Who is this lion that we will all encounter in our journey of no distance? Is it not the same one that Peter refers to when he says, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary the devil prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”? (1 Pet 5:8) In this context, the lion is the adversary, the devil or slanderer. How does the devil slander? “God (the conceiver, creator of all things) saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” (Gen 1:31) Nevertheless, the slanderer insists on seeing something that is not good. But how can this be? There is only one power and that power is eternally good. There is only one infinite being who is the self of every identity. Therefore the devil/slanderer must be the false, illusory self, the ego that knows something God doesn’t know. Do you see it? The slanderer is totally devoid of innocence through this “knowledge” of something that is not good. I ask you, does God know evil? Is there any beside Him?

It is this false self, with its mind filled with the knowledge of good and evil, that is a lie and the father of lies. Its illusion of power is through intimidation. Those who have no power betray that fact in their roar. The goal of the intimidator is to induce fear in the one who would be intimidated. As we persist in our journey, there will be times that the lion’s roar will seem to shake us to our very foundation and cause us to fear eminent heart failure. Nevertheless, I can assure you that if you, like Daniel, with the boldness of a lion, will dare to enter the lion’s den, you will discover to your never-ending joy that God has locked the lion’s jaw. He can’t roar if he can’t open his mouth. In other words, you will be in a place where “never is heard a discouraging word”. The lion’s den will literally be transformed into the house of God where everything in God’s temple says glory.

To run FROM the roar implies that there is another power, presence and intelligence besides the One that is evil. It is a denial of God’s omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence. It is absolute failure to love the one God with all one’s heart, soul, mind and strength. Contrariwise, to run TO the roar with your own roar of praise, glorifies the One. In the ghetto, we called it, “talking trash” to the bully. That is, we speak the truth in our hearts and the roaring lion is exposed as a fraud.

What about the bear? Remember, you must either face the bear, or bear the burden. According to the dictionary definition, “The bear is any large, stocky, omnivorous mammal of the carnivore family Ursidae with thick, coarse fur and a very short tail, and a plantigrade gait.” Isn’t it interesting that the first thing we observe about the bear is that it eats everything? But guess what? So does man. We also know that the bear is a mammal. Just like man. In addition, the bear has a plantigrade gait, i.e., it walks on the entire sole of the foot with the heel touching the ground. Here again, so also does man. The word bear is often used to describe a gruff, sullen, rude clumsy person, i.e., man. A bear in the market place is one who sells securities in expectation of a price decline. Again, man. One Bible example of somebody who sold out in a “bear market” is Esau. Merely because of hunger (appearance of lack), Esau sold his birthright for a mess of pottage, saying “What is this birthright to me if I perish with hunger?” How foolish we become when we judge by appearances; we forget that the birthright includes life itself. Therefore on Wall Street, a bear is a pessimist. When you say, “It’s all good,” the bear says, “O yeah!?” Too often while insisting it’s all good, in a similar fashion, we have heard that bear within us growling its pessimistic point of view.

In the book of the prophet Daniel, he sees in a vision the organized rebellion of the nations against God in a multifaceted expression of the beast, described thusly. “And behold, another beast, a second one, resembling a bear. And it was raised up on one side, and three ribs were in its mouth between its teeth; and thus they said to it, ‘Arise, devour much meat!’” (Dan 7:5) The bear is a predator. In this context, the bear is any man or group of men committed to oppose the truth that God is One, and besides Him, there is none other.

And finally, the bear is called forth because of the curse. “Then he (Elisha) went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up by the way, young lads came out from the city and mocked him and said to him, ‘Go up, you baldhead; go up, you baldhead!’” The reference is to Elijah who was caught up to Heaven (translated), but what they are showing in the derisive remark is that they had no respect for the God of Israel or for Elisha. “When he looked behind him and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two female bears came out of the woods and tore up forty-two lads of their number.” (2 Kgs 2:23,24) You cannot separate the bear and the curse.

In short, the bear you will have to face and subdue is man and the fear of man which brings a snare. Isaiah says, “Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in his nostrils; for why should he be esteemed?” (Is 2:22) Before you face the giant, you will have to beard the lion in his den (face the adversary who roars out lies) and subdue the bear (the fear of man). Please notice, you do not conquer man, but the fear of man. How is this accomplished? Through the knowledge of the Lord. “And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them. Also the cow and the bear will graze; “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.” Do you get it? It was God who delivered him from the paw of the lion and the bear because he wholly trusted the Lord, who would also deliver the giant into this hand. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil; for Thou art with me...”

Having dispatched the lion and the bear, we are now ready to confront the giant. According to the dictionary, a giant is: 1) In folklore, a being with human form, but super human in size and strength; 2) A person or thing of extraordinary power, achievement and importance; and 3) A bully, tyrant. As we reclaim the promised land, what is our armor, weapon and strength? Moses sums it up in a song, “...Proclaim the name of the Lord; ascribe greatness to our God!” Or put another way, in words, songs, and celebration, ascribe greatness to God alone.

It is time for everyone to recognize that the only reason we have giants in our lives in the first place is because we have failed to ascribe greatness exclusively to God. Could we be rattled by the roar of the lion if there wasn’t something within us which still entertained the belief in a power called evil? “Who is deaf like My servant?” Would we fear man in any way if we were utterly convinced that apart from God, he can do nothing? By the same token, the more we celebrate the allness of God’s power, the sooner we will expose the lie called a giant.

The giant IS A LIE of our own creation. It originates in nothing and will return to the nothingness from whence it came when we ascribe greatness exclusively to God. So David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted. This day the Lord will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s and He will give you into our hands.’ Then it happened when the Philistine rose and came and drew near to meet David, that David ran quickly (ran to the roar) toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. And David put his hand into his bag and took from it a stone and slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead. And the stone sank into his forehead, so that he fell on his face to the ground. Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck the Philistine and killed him; but there was no sword in David’s hand. Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his (Goliath’s) sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they (all the other enemies, i.e., the lack of all things) fled.” (1 Sam 17:45-51)

One final note: The giant was killed by his own sword. Those who live by the sword, die by the sword. In other words, the lie destroys itself when it no longer has a believer. All those who see God here, there, and everywhere cannot see giants anywhere. All those who hear the still small voice that causes the earth to melt, will be joyfully oblivious to the roar of the lion. All those who are in awe of God alone have ceased from man whose breath is in his nostrils. And all those who have confronted the lion, the bear and the giant have reclaimed their birthright. It’s all good!


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