I don't have experience with lions. But I know if I were walking through the bushland of Africa, unprotected by fence or guide, and heard that unmistakable sound—I'd be terrified.
I live in a part of the world isolated from such terrors, but Australia has its own apex predators to worry about. Granted, most of the wildlife that can kill and maim here are small enough to hide under a bit of timber in your backyard, but travel into our northern regions, and you're bound to bump into our own prehistoric monster.
I grew up in the crocodile's backyard. We grew up with an inherent fear pulsing through our veins. The rustle in the undergrowth beside the river, the sudden swirl of water, the ripple that ran across the still pond on a windless day—each a foreboding sign that quickened the heartbeat of the most seasoned bushman.
When a crocodile surfaces, when a bear charges, when a lion roars—we cower with fear. It's natural. Despite man's dominance over the face of the earth, we know, in the face of an apex predator like one of these, we are little more than a slow-moving meal.
Life is filled with these 'cause and effect' relationships.
Consider the Word of the Lord as it came through his servant Amos:
The lion has roared;
who will not fear?
The Lord GOD has spoken;
who can but prophesy? — Amos 3:8 ESV
The lion has roared; who will not fear?
Who indeed? Did you notice it doesn't just say, "A lion has roared"—instead, it says, "The lion has roared!"
It reminds me of the scene in CS Lewis' classic novel, 'The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe', where the Pevensie children are eating with Mr. and Mrs. Beaver. Wise old Mr. Beaver leans forward, and in a manner that stirs the hearts of the children, utters the ancient prophecy:
“Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.”
The lion has indeed bared his teeth and roared. The world will never be the same again. The Lion of the tribe of Judah has conquered! Jesus has overcome!
But notice now how Amos completes his couplet:
The Lord GOD has spoken;
who can but prophesy?
Just as it is an expected 'cause and effect' relationship to fear when the lion roars. So too is it expected that when God speaks, men will stand up to proclaim it.
The Lord has spoken; who can but prophesy?
God has spoken. As for that truth, there can be no doubt.
And when God speaks, just as a lion's roar provokes fear, the Word of the Lord provokes prophecy. Now I'm not talking about the prophecy so many are clambering after today, the type that is little more than divination dressed up in Biblical language. I'm talking about men of God willing to stand in their generation and declare, "Thus sayeth the Lord!", men who confidently stand on the authority of Scripture and declare that it truly is the unshakable, unbreakable, untameable, Living Word of the Living God.
Pray for another generation of men and women like this. Those who have heard the lion roar, whose blood is set on fire by the all-consuming Word of God, who feel they cannot but speak. Men and women, who like Jeremiah of old, would say:
If I say, “I will not mention him,
or speak any more in his name,”
there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones,
and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot. — Jeremiah 20:9 ESV