One of the most cinematic moments of Scripture is when David tells Saul how God prepared him to defy the Giant who was defying the armies of the Living God. David tells Saul that as a shepherd boy, he had chased down lions and bears, grappled with them with his bare hands, and delivered the prey from the predator’s jaw.
One commentator points out that in Mark’s description of Jesus being led into the wilderness after His baptism, his likeness to David is alluded to in this way “And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts (Mar 1:13a).” Jesus, like His forefather David, endured without fear the wild beasts.
This becomes just one example of how Jesus came in defiance of all the dangers which had come to fill this fallen world of sin. But this isn’t just interesting Biblical observation, this is highly practical.
The Spirit of Christ now dwells in you. Christ-likeness then isn’t adopting a mousy & timid disposition. Instead, you spot the wild beasts who would harm the flock, and sprint toward them. Is there a good thing you’ve been putting off? Wait no more. Is there a sin weighing on your conscience which you need to confess? Don’t delay. That evangelistic opportunity you’ve been too insecure to try, go for it. That wickedness which you’ve been trying to turn a blind eye to, chase it down & break its jaws.
This is the family trait of those born of God, from David down to us, all because of David’s greater son Jesus. The power of God is at work in you. So then, by faith seek out righteousness & root up wickedness in your own heart, and in the world around you.
The mighty men of old were not daunted by the wild beasts. The Lord God endued them with the grace of His Spirit that they might win the victory. It is a great folly to treat those Old Testament stories as if they were quaint fables, when God gave them to us to instruct us in righteousness. God sent forth the Spirit to embolden and strengthen us to fight against all internal and external unrighteousness. Where we’ve permitted packs of wolves to roam free in our hearts, may God forgive us. Where we’ve been apathetic about the pride of lions devouring our families, may God forgive us. He trains our hands for war, even as we bend our knees to confess our sins to Him.
In all this remember that the Lord Jesus, great David’s greater Son, sent His Spirit to dwell in you and assure you that by His blood, and His blood alone you might be washed clean, and equipped to boldly face whatever fearful beast you may find either in your own heart or in this world.