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Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

I read an old, yet very familiar section of Scripture today—the Old Testament story of young David in his shepherding days. When King Saul accuses David of being too puny to confront the giant Goliath who has been hanging around and taunting the Israelite army, David calmly sticks up for himself:

“Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep. When a lion

or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed

both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be

like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living

God. The LORD who rescued me from the paw of the lion and

the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”

(1 Samuel 17:34-37, NIV, italics mine for emphasis)

Lions and bears are large, dangerous, wild animals. We usually watch lions contained within safe enclosures in zoos, and we generally view bears out in nature from a reasonable distance.