Tuesday, December 6, 2016

26 Devotions Focusing on Christ in the Nativity Alphabet--the Lion and the Lamb

Nativity Alphabet by Krista Hamrick

Krista Hamrick’s beautiful original art print, Nativity Alphabet, has so inspired me. Each of the 26 words in the Nativity Alphabet are so intricately painted, almost like stained glass windows. My heart has been drawn to write 26 Devotions Focusing on Christ in the Nativity Alphabet.

While pondering the words, “Lion and Lamb,” I was inspired by listening to the powerful new anthem, The Lion and The Lamb by Leeland... He's coming on the clouds, Kings and kingdoms will bow down, Every chain will break, As broken hearts declare His praise, For who can stop the Lord Almighty, Our God is a lion, The Lion of Judah, He's roaring with power, And fighting our battles, Every knee will bow before Him, Our God is a lamb, The lamb that was slain, For the sins of the world, His blood breaks the chains, Every knee will bow before the Lion and the Lamb.

Revelation 5:5-6; 11-14 NIV

Pastor Ray Stedman writes: "None of the leaders of earth have a clue as to how to solve the issues that divide mankind and keep us from loving one another. But then John learns that the problem is already solved. The 24 angels, the heavenly council around the throne of God, know the answer. One of them says to him…Then one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals." (Revelation 5:5-6; 11-14 NIV) "The Lion of the tribe of Judah" and "the Root of David" are both Jewish titles. They refer to prophecies from the Old Testament that predict there would be one from the tribe of Judah and from the family of David who would at last rule over the earth and solve its problems. These titles refer, then, to the King of the Jews—the very title which Pilate inscribed on the Cross of Jesus. The King of the Jews! He is the One who triumphs by his death and is able to bring about God's kingdom on the earth. But, when John turns to see the conquering Lion of Judah, what he sees is the slain Redeemer of the world! Then I saw a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain, standing in the center of the throne, encircled by the four living creatures and the elders. He had seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. (Revelation 5:5-6; 11-14 NIV) He expected to see a Lion but what he saw was a Lamb, with the marks of death still upon him. One of the most moving hymns that blind Fanny Crosby ever wrote says: I shall know Him, I shall know Him, As redeemed by his side I shall stand. I shall know Him, I shall know Him, By the prints of the nails in his hand! Those marks of death are still upon the Lamb, and will be for all eternity. In these two symbols, the Lion of Judah and the Lamb that was slain, John sees the uniting of two themes that run throughout the Bible, Old Testament and New Testament alike. Lions are a symbol of majesty, power, rule and authority. Lions conquer; lambs submit! Lions roar; lambs die! There is introduced to us here the One who conquers by submitting. The symbols tie together the earthly promises of Israel and the heavenly calling of the church."

Pastor Stedman continues: "This uniting of the Lion and the Lamb is the basis for C. S. Lewis' novels for children (and childlike adults), called "The Narnia Chronicles." A great lion, Aslan, rules in majesty and roars in triumph, but he does so because he submits to being put to death by the evil characters controlled by the White Witch, but at last the kingdom of Narnia is freed from its bondage to winter and the springtime of the world arrives. It is a beautiful use of these symbols. As the Lion of Judah, Jesus will rule the world with a rod of iron. So the Second Psalm declares: "Though the nations rage, and the people imagine a vain thing; the kings of the earth take counsel together against the Lord, and against his Anointed ...Yet have I set my Son on my holy hill of Zion." (Psalm 2:1-3, 6). Zion is symbolic for Jerusalem. In it Jesus shall reign with a rod of iron and dash the nations to pieces if they resist that reign. It is all predicted in that great prophetic Psalm. As the Lion of Judah our Lord reigns, but if anyone is weak and faltering, helpless or hopeless, he or she will find a compassionate Savior—because this Lion is also a Lamb! As the Lamb of God he is filled with mercy and grace, but if any should presume upon that grace and begin to live a rebellious or defiant life, let him beware—because this Lamb is also a Lion!"

Pastor Stedman continues: “There comes vividly to my memory a scene from my early manhood, 50 years ago in the city of Chicago. It was an Easter Sunday and I was living in a tiny little room in the North Avenue YMCA. I was up before dawn, getting dressed to attend a great sunrise service in Soldier Field. As I was dressing, my eye fell upon an open hymn book on the dresser before me. It was opened to the hymn, "Beneath the Cross of Jesus." I read to myself the words of the second verse: Upon that cross of Jesus, mine eye at times can see, The very dying form of One who suffered there for me; And from my smitten heart with tears two wonders I confess—The wonder of redeeming love, and my unworthiness! My heart was melted when I read those words. I knew well my own unworthiness. But as I thought of the marvel of redeeming love, I felt as if the walls of that room faded away, and I, too, was standing with this great throng in heaven singing of the wonder of redemption—God's love for mankind, manifest in the cross. As John watches, all the universe is caught up in the wonder of that sacrificial love. He hears a great swelling volume of sound: "Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousand, and ten thousand times ten thousand [Millions, even billions of angels]. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they sang: "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!" (Revelation 5:5-6; 11-14 NIV) This is clearly the basis for Handel's closing choruses in his oratorio The Messiah. It closes with one of the most beautiful musical numbers ever written, "Worthy is the Lamb." At the end of it everyone in the chorus joins in a repeated declaration, "Amen, Amen, Amen." It is a moving presentation, and the closest thing we have on earth to the scene described here. At last the illusions are taken away and all creation acknowledges the Lordship of Christ. John sees this in vision. It has not yet occurred on earth, but it will! When the seven-sealed scroll is fully opened, heaven and earth will join in this acknowledgment. That is the goal of all history. Every historic event for these many centuries is related to and moves toward that final goal of history. It forces the question each must face. Everyone will be involved in this worship, but the question will be, "Which group will you be with?" Will you stand with those who gladly confess the Lordship of Jesus, or will you be with those who reluctantly acknowledge that he is right and they are wrong? Only you can answer that question!"

Sometimes it seems as if the forces of evil are winning and godless rulers and superpowers are dominating our world. These scriptures about the Lion and the Lamb remind us of who is really in charge and calling the shots: the Lord Almighty. The same God who created the world with a word can shatter the plans of the nations and thwart all their schemes. No matter how out of control things may appear, God’s plan remains in place. He is running the show and knows the end from the beginning. No one is higher or mightier than our Lord Jesus Christ—the Lion and the Lamb! He governs our world, His kingdom will come, and His sovereign will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven! God’s intentions can never be shaken, and his plans stand firm forever. His amazing power is at work in the world, and He will carry out his eternal purpose to the last detail.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for the assurance Your Word gives me that You are the Lion and the Lamb, You reign over heaven and earth and that no one can thwart Your plans for my life—and for the whole world. I put my trust in You today. Only You understand everything—even those things that are mysteries to me. Because You have all authority on earth and in heaven, I can rest in You. You are my shield and my eternal protector. When I am in danger or distress, help me trust in You. Lift my gaze and my heart from everything on this earth to You, who reign over all. Thank You for answering me from heaven and acting on my behalf when I cry out to You. May You be glorified in my life. In Your mighty name I pray, amen.

Look Up
—meditate on Revelation 5:5-6; 11-14  … pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

Look In
—as you meditate on Revelation 5:5-6; 11-14 … pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."

Look Out—as you meditate on Revelation 5:5-6; 11-14 …pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.

* If you liked this post, you’ll love this book – 
Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ

Weekly LinkUps…


  1. Our friend C.S. Lewis has given us pages and pages of loveliness to reinforce the beauty of this biblical metaphor. Thank you, Beth, for choosing to open up these images for us throughout this Christmas season.

    1. Thank you, Michele, for always taking time out of your very busy schedule to stop by and leave such kind and encouraging comments on my posts, as well as so many others! Many blessings to you and your sweet family during this joyous Christmas season!


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