“The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.” (Proverbs 28:1)
The lion is a symbol of strength, majesty, and courage in the Bible. God is portrayed as a lion in the protection of His people (Hosea 5:14, 11:10), and Jesus is called the Lion of Judah (Revelation 5:5). When the imagery is applied to human beings, it conveys a sense of dominance and authority (Genesis 49:9). In this proverb, however, the concept of boldness is front and center. How can we stand “bold as a lion” in our everyday lives?
#1 Strong and Courageous
God is the source of our strength and our courage. Joshua, the leader of the Israelites after Moses, was likely afraid that he could not measure up to his predecessor, or that he was inadequate to lead God’s chosen people. But God reminded him that he would be cared for and protected, and scolded him to be strong and courageous (Joshua 1:9). David gave a similar encouragement to his son, Solomon, as he ascended to the throne of Israel (1 Chronicles 28:20).
The Hebrew words here point to strength and security, a sense that we cannot be shaken or removed from our place. And that is exactly what God promises to His children: protection from fear, release from anxiety, and a steady place within His hand (Isaiah 41:10).
#2 Security and Confusion
It is always important to remember that God is never the source of our fears (2 Timothy 1:7). The love of God can remove any fear from our hearts if we yield to His peace (1 John 4:18). Even though we may not feel it, we should remember that God is always with us.
Satan, on the other hand, is the author of all fear and doubt. He is also painted as a lion, but not one that cares for us – instead, he is a predator on the hunt for his next victim (1 Peter 5:8). Jesus warned us that any words that come from the devil’s mouth are lies (John 8:44), and the greatest lie Satan can tell us is that God cannot save us.
#3 Separation and Corruption
The root cause of fear in our lives is sin. When Adam and Eve did not follow God’s command in the garden of Eden, their first expression was one of fear (Genesis 3:10). Because they had separated themselves from obedience to God, they had no security or safety from their own sin, and so they had good reason to be afraid. From then on, mankind has been doomed to an existence marred by anxiety and worry, which is shown in countless examples throughout Scripture.
One more unfortunate side effect is that we can be afraid even without cause. Faithful men and women feared real persecution throughout the Old and New Testaments, but a state of constant unease was seen as a sign of wickedness. In the book of Job, Job’s friends warned against this state of evil, saying that the unrighteous were constantly looking over their shoulder, never feeling safe (Job 15:20-24).
When we let sin consume us, we can sometimes feel like the world is against us. As the first part of Proverbs 28:1 states, we end up running when no one is pursuing us. This is because, like Adam and Eve, we know that we cannot stand covered or excused before God; our sin is exposed, and we cannot hide from Him (Psalm 139:7-12).
#4 Salvation and Communion
The beauty of divine grace is that we can be saved from our sins and made right with God again. When we accept the atoning sacrifice of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, we can gain the free gift of redemption (Isaiah 54:4). We can go through any storm in our lives and never fear because we know that God is holding us safely in His hands (Psalm 23:4).
The psalms express many instances of fear and worry, but they always circle back to acknowledging and praising God for His protection and provision. He will deliver us from what makes us afraid (Psalm 34:4); he will console us when our worries threaten to consume us (Psalm 94:19); we can have confidence that He is sufficient for us (Psalm 118:6).
This stability can also give us boldness. When we remember that we serve an almighty Savior and that He has gone before us (Matthew 28:18), we can fulfill His will without being paralyzed by the storms around us. We can also enter God’s holy presence with boldness (Hebrews 4:16), not out of misplaced pride but because we know that our place is secure in God’s eyes. He has restored our broken relationship, and we do not have to fall prey to Satan’s lies. Instead, we can call out to God when we need Him (Romans 8:15).
A lion takes his strides in confidence, knowing that no other creature can challenge him. We can claim that same boldness by remembering that the Lion of Judah has redeemed us and called us by name. There is no cause for fear, but only peace, when we walk in God’s righteousness.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Masters Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.