Until Lambs Become Lions

Rise and rise again until lambs become lions1

There is a line in the movie, Robin Hood (2010), starring Russell Crowe (as Robin Longstride a.k.a. Robin Hood) and Cate Blanchett (as Lady Marion) that is etched in Robin’s memory from childhood. Thinking that his father had deserted him as a very young child, he learns as the movie unfolds that the line was said by his father, who also carved it into a stone. Eventually Robin learns from one of his father’s now elderly friends, Sir Walter Loxley (father-in-law to Lady Marion) that his father was actually beheaded when Robin was a child of about six years old. This scene is available on YouTube at the following link. In the clip, Robin learns that his father was not only a stonemason, but a visionary, who believed that “kings have a need of their subjects, no less than subjects have a need of kings” (quote from YouTube clip). He believed in the rights of all ranks from baron to serf, and thousands took up his cause. A charter was created by his father with the signatures of many barons who believed in his cause; however, the king did not. When the king’s men showed up to get the charter with the names of the barons from him, he refused to give it to them, and he was beheaded. The following line stated by his father became the rally cry of the movement and was carved in stone:

Rise and rise again until lambs become lions.

When later asked by his comrades what it meant, Robin said that it meant “Never give up.”

As background information, a plot of the movie follows (Source: Wikipedia):

In 1199 A.D., Robin Longstride (Russell Crowe) is a common archer in the army of King Richard the Lionheart (Danny Huston). A veteran of Richard’s crusade, he now takes part in the siege of Chalus Castle. Disillusioned and war-weary, he believes the King when invited to give an honest view of the war; after Robin gives a frank but unflattering appraisal of the King’s conduct, Robin and his comrades – archers Allan A’Dayle (Alan Doyle) and Will Scarlett (Scott Grimes) and soldier Little John (Kevin Durand) – find themselves in the stocks.

When the King is slain during an attack on the castle, Robin and his men decide to free themselves and desert. They come across an ambush of the English royal guard by Godfrey (Mark Strong), an English knight who has conspired with King Philip of France to assassinate Richard. After chasing off Godfrey, Robin decides to take advantage of the situation by having his men impersonate the dead English knights to return to England. As they depart, Robin promises one of the dying knights, Sir Robert Loxley (Douglas Hodge), to return his sword to his father (Sir Walter Loxley) in Nottingham.

Upon arriving in London, Robin assumes the identity of the slain Loxley to inform the royal family of the King’s death. He witnesses the coronation of King John (Oscar Isaac), who orders harsh new taxes to be collected, dispatching Sir Godfrey to the North to do so – unaware that Godfrey will instead use French troops to stir up unrest and create an opening for Philip to invade England.

Robin and his companions head to Nottingham, where Loxley’s elderly and blind father, Sir Walter (Max von Sydow), asks him to continue impersonating his son, to prevent the family lands being taken by the Crown. Loxley’s widow, Lady Marion (Cate Blanchett), is initially cold toward Robin, but warms to him, when he and his men merrily recover tithed grain for the townsfolk to plant.

Godfrey’s actions have incited the northern barons, who march to meet King John. Speaking now for Sir Walter, Robin proposes the King agree to a charter of rights to ensure the rights of every Englishman and unite his country. Having realized Godfrey’s deception, and knowing he must meet the French invasion with an army, the King agrees. Meanwhile, the French marauders plunder Nottingham. Robin and the northern barons arrive and stop Godfrey’s men, but not before Godfrey has slain the blind Sir Walter.

As the French begin their invasion on the beach below the Cliffs of Dover, Robin leads the united English army against them. In the midst of the battle, Robin duels with Godfrey, who attempts to kill Marion and flees before Robin finally pierces him with an arrow from afar. Philip realizes his plan to divide England has failed and calls off his invasion. When King John sees the French surrender to Robin instead of himself, he senses a threat to his power. In London John reneges on his promise to sign the charter, instead declaring Robin an outlaw to be hunted throughout the kingdom. The Sheriff of Nottingham (Matthew Macfadyen) announces the decree as Robin and his men flee to Sherwood Forest with the orphans of Nottingham. Marion narrates their new life in the greenwood, noting that they live in equality as they right the many wrongs in the kingdom of King John. (Quote source here.)

There is also one other character not noted in the plot above by the name of William Marshall (William Hurt). “When King Richard died childless in 1189, William (part of the regency appointed by King Richard to govern in his absence) supported the succession of John, and once again was welcomed to the court of a one-time adversary and new king. William soon had a falling out with the new king, but in spite of this he would advocate on the side of John against the other barons in the issuance of Magna Carta in 1215.” (Quote source here.) He was also a friend of Robin’s father and was witness to his father’s beheading.

When Robin told his comrades that the saying, “Rise and rise again until lambs become lions,” meant that they should “never give up,” it immediately brought to mind what Jesus told his disciples in the Parable of the Persistent Widow in Luke 18:1-8, specifically in verse 1 which is a lead-in to the parable:

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

I found the following comment that was posted on Bibleornot.org,” from a guy (“stevec828”) who watched the movie and stated the following:

I just saw the Russell Crowe, Ridley Scott movie Robin Hood, and this quote was a transforming saying that Robin Longstride, a.k.a. Robin of the Hood, learned as a boy and remembered as a man.

“Rise and rise again until lambs become lions.” – Robin Hood the Movie, 2010

When asked by Little John and Will Scarlet what this saying meant, Robin Hood explained something akin to Winston Churchhill, and to our American founding fathers. It means never give up for the cause of liberty, never, ever give up. Rise, and rise again, until the docile lambs become conquering lions.

While this is not a quote from the Bible, there are some spriritual overtones about perseverance, and fighting the good fight. Get a little deeper and you could think about the cause of liberty and how it is worthy for one to lay down his life for it. In the movie, Robin Hood’s father died in defense of it. In the Bible, Jesus Christ lays down his life so that all mankind could be set free, i.e., set at liberty (Isaiah 61:1).

Go even deeper, and we can connect this to the salvation process of being born again, and how God remolds us and reshapes us over and over again until we become what he has intended us to be. This is especially true for those He has called into the ministry and positions of leadership within the Church. Consider the Apostles, starting out as fishermen, tax collectors, etc., little lambs following Christ for 3 years but after the infusion of the Holy Ghost, they become lions for the Gospel.

Go even deeper, yes we could go on and on, and consider Jesus Christ Himself. He was a Lamb led to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7), who laid down His life, only to rise on the 3rd day. One day he will come again, in essence, rising again out of Heaven to bring judgment upon the earth. And in this second coming He is coming as the Lion of Judah. Rise, and rise again until the Lamb becomes the Lion (Revelation 5:5, Revelation 19:11-16).

OK. Reality check. It’s just a quote from a movie. So what’s the point? The point is that within many inspirational quotes we can find, or be inspired to find, truth from the Word of God. Even in the simplest of things, like a blade of grass, or ant walking across a sidewalk, or a line from a movie, we can find lessons out of the Word of God.

The Word of God is all around us, if we merely open our eyes to see it. (Quote source here.)

sacredseculardivideThis statement is something that I, too, have discovered especially in these past six and a half years since I lost my job in Houston. We often tend to put what we think of God inside a box of our own making. We have a great tendency to separate the sacred from the secular and while there is definitely a sacred sphere to our worship of God, He is, indeed, not limited by our own thinking and can be found, as the author of the comment above stated, “even in the simplest of things.” And in the most profound of things, too.

One of the areas that seems to rankle a number of Christians is when supposedly “secular” things are equated, or brought alongside, with things that they consider to be “sacred.” The “secular” things just don’t seem to fit in with their world of “sacred.” In other words, they divide their lives into “sacred” and “secular,” and never the twain shall meet.”  A.W. Tozer (1897-1963) wrote about this very dilemma in his classic book, The Pursuit of God,” Chapter 10:

One of the greatest hindrances to internal peace which the Christian encounters is the common habit of dividing our lives into two areas, the sacred and the secular. As these areas are conceived to exist apart from each other and to be morally and spiritually incompatible, and as we are compelled by the necessities of living to be always crossing back and forth from the one to the other, our inner lives tend to break up so that we live a divided instead of a unified life.

Our trouble springs from the fact that we who follow Christ inhabit at once two worlds, the spiritual and the natural. As children of Adam we live our lives on earth subject to the limitations of the flesh and the weaknesses and ills to which human nature is heir.

Merely to live among men requires of us years of hard toil and much care and attention to the things of this world. In sharp contrast to this is our life in the Spirit. There we enjoy another and higher kind of life; we are children of God; we possess heavenly status and enjoy intimate fellowship with Christ.

This tends to divide our total life into two departments. We come unconsciously to recognize two sets of actions. The first are performed with a feeling of satisfaction and a firm assurance that they are pleasing to God. These are the sacred acts and they are usually thought to be prayer, Bible reading, hymn singing, church attendance and such other acts as spring directly from faith. They may be known by the fact that they have no direct relation to this world, and would have no meaning whatever except as faith shows us another world, “a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

Over against these sacred acts are the secular ones. They include all of the ordinary activities of life which we share with the sons and daughters of Adam: eating, sleeping, working, looking after the needs of the body and performing our dull and prosaic duties here on earth. These we often do reluctantly and with many misgivings, often apologizing to God for what we consider a waste of time and strength. The upshot of this is that we are uneasy most of the time. We go about our common tasks with a feeling of deep frustration, telling ourselves pensively that there’s a better day coming when we shall slough off this earthly shell and be bothered no more with the affairs of this world.

This is the old sacred-secular antithesis. Most Christians are caught in its trap. They cannot get a satisfactory adjustment between the claims of the two worlds. They try to walk the tight rope between two kingdoms and they find no peace in either. Their strength is reduced, their outlook confused and their joy taken from them.

I believe this state of affairs to be wholly unnecessary. We have gotten ourselves on the horns of a dilemma, true enough, but the dilemma is not real. It is a creature of misunderstanding. The sacred-secular antithesis has no foundation in the New Testament. Without doubt a more perfect understanding of Christian truth will deliver us from it.

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is our perfect example, and He knew no divided life. In the Presence of His Father He lived on earth without strain from babyhood to His death on the cross. God accepted the offering of His total life, and made no distinction between one act and another act. “I do always the things that please him,” was His brief summary of His own life as it related to the Father. As He moved among men He was poised and restful. What pressure and suffering He endured grew out of His position as the world’s sin bearer; they were never the result of moral uncertainty or spiritual maladjustment.

Paul’s exhortation to “do all to the glory of God” (I Cor. 10:31) is more than pious idealism. It is an integral part of the sacred revelation and is to be accepted as the very Word of Truth. It opens before us the possibility of making every act of our lives contribute to the glory of God. Lest we should be too timid to include everything, Paul mentions specifically eating and drinking. This humble privilege we share with the beasts that perish. If these lowly animal acts can be so performed as to honor God, then it becomes difficult to conceive of one that cannot. . . . (Quote source and complete chapter are available at this link.)

Tell the World LacraeTozer, of course, died before Postmodernism (see blog post titled, Say What? As in Postmodernism) when it’s “truth is relative” message came into full swing, but his words still ring true. In an article titled, ‘Sacred-Secular Divide’ Hinders Christians From Impacting Culture, Says Lecrae (2012), published in CP Church and Ministry, Christian hip-hop singer Lecrae (Lacrae Moore) talks “about the subject of engaging American culture in a non-typical, yet Christian way in order to further the Gospel.” Here is what he had to say:

“I think we don’t engage culture because we’re scared. We don’t want it corrupting our kids. I think we’re scared because ultimately we’re still caught up in a sacred-secular divide,” said Lecrae, who is also a ministry leader, to a crowd of more than 2,000 church leaders Thursday at the Resurgence Conference (in 2012) at Mariners Church in Irvine, Calif.

“We are still caught up in the reality that everything is broken up in two and if you go too far here you are going to get messed up,” he said. “There is a sacred-secular divide that hinders us from impacting culture.”. . . . 

“We (Christians) are great at talking about salvation and sanctification. We are clueless when it comes to art, ethics, science, and culture. Christianity is the whole truth about everything. It’s how we deal with politics. It’s how we deal with science. It’s how we deal with TV and art. We can’t leave people to their own devices,” Lecrae said during his talk at the conference.

“We just demonize everything. If it doesn’t fit in the category of sanctification or salvation it’s just evil.”

Lecrae said that society in the U.S. is moving away from “this traditional, evangelical, conservative America.”

“Relativism and secular humanism permeates the world that we live in.” He asked, “How do we engage this culture? How do we raise up people to engage this culture?”

Lecrae said that in the area he lives in there are a lot of people, who because of the activity they are engaged in, many Christians would avoid altogether.

“There’s homosexuality rampant. There’s crime and all kinds of things going on around me. I take my kids to the park and there’s two men kissing, people selling drugs, and I’m grateful,” he said. “I’m not trying to escape. I want to be in the midst of that because I need to be. That’s where I need to be.”

He added, “I believe that the reason why the church typically doesn’t engage culture is because we are scared of it. We’re scared it’s going to somehow jump on us and corrupt us. We’re scared it’s going to somehow mess up our good thing. So we consistently move further and further away from the corruption, further and further away from the crime, further and further away from the post-modernity, further and further away from the relativism and secular humanism and we want to go to a safe place with people just like you. We want to be comfortable.”

Lecrae emphasized that God created many things in this world that were intended for good, but have been misused.

“I’m talking about using things that are typically used for evil and showing how they can be used for God’s glory,” he explained. “Things are not of themselves evil. It’s [about] structure and direction. God has structured things for His glory and His goodness and humanity is directing it in evil or good ways.

“If you are going to engage culture it’s about taking the things, and the things you are skilled at, and asking ‘How can I direct them in a good way?’

“I’m not saying let’s redeem the world and create this utopian planet,” Lecrae continued. “I’m saying let’s demonstrate what Jesus had done in us so the world may see a new way, God’s way, Jesus’ way–the picture of redemption that Jesus has done in us. So Jesus redeems us and we desire to go to the world and demonstrate that so that others can see what redemption looks like.” (Quote source here).

The point, of course, is that we need to look beyond our own tendencies to be short-sighted when it comes to what God is doing in our world and how He is going about accomplishing it. As stated in Isaiah 55:8-9:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

And Proverbs 16:4 reminds us that:

The Lord works out everything to its proper end—
    even the wicked for a day of disaster.

And since God can even keep track of the wicked, He can certainly keep track of what we as Christians do in accomplishing His will in this world of ours (if we will follow His lead and not our own). There really is no dividing the sacred from the secular. It all belongs to Him.

Getting back to the original message of this post, I’ll end it with these words from Jesus that should always be embedded in our minds and hearts no matter what situation or circumstances we find ourselves in, which are found in Luke 18:1:

Always pray . . . 

And never give up . . . .

YouTube Video: “Tell the World” by Lecrae:

Photo #1 credit here
Photo #2 credit here
Photo #3 credit here

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