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Chapter 6: The Robbers

Chapter 6
The Robbers

 

“Shalom,” I said to the seven men. “How may we be of service to you?”

The men laughed. “We want to borrow your horses, as we have a long way to go,” the leader said.

“If you wish to ride these horses, they must choose you,” I said. “If they do not choose you, it will be impossible to ride them.”

“I am an expert horseman,” the leader said. “These horses will consider it a privilege to be ridden by me and my men.”

The men were all armed with swords, and they obviously intended to steal the horses. “Well, if you are so skilled, you deserve to try,” I said. Sipporah and I dismounted, and I set Samuel on the ground. We stepped aside while the men took the horses into custody. They threw ropes around their necks, but had no bridles. Then the leader swung his leg up and mounted Pegasus, while the second in command mounted Pleiades.

Immediately, both men found themselves flying backwards, hitting the road with heavy thuds.

“I warned you,” I said half apologetically. “These are not ordinary horses. They allow riders with pure hearts only. Your hearts are not pure before God. Perhaps you should pray and fast for some time and purify yourselves at the tabernacle.”

The men’s embarrassment then turned to anger. The leader drew his sword with a threatening gesture. “If these horses will not let us ride, then they are of no use to us, nor will they live another day!”

But his threat was cut short by a loud roar behind him, as two lions leaped from behind the trees near the road. The robbers dropped their swords in terror and raced down the road in fear for their lives. The leader, however, stood petrified in the middle of the road, as if his legs were frozen and he knew that this was his last moment of life.

The lions bounded toward him and then stopped in front of him, glaring at him. Meanwhile, we and our horses stood still. Though Samuel looked at us with wide eyes, we smiled, for we recognized our lion friends—our guardians—from our previous trip to Timnah.

“I think that these lions are telling you to mend your ways,” I said to the petrified robber. “They look hungry, but perhaps they do not want to eat unclean meat. They seem hesitant to taste your leg. You really should cleanse yourself so that you are fit for consumption.”

The robber was speechless with fear, but Sipporah walked over to them and stood between the lions. She then put an arm around each one of them and said, “How are you, my dear friends? It is so good to see you again!”

Now the robber was surprised and shocked. “Th-th-these are your lions?” he asked in a stuttering voice.

“No, of course not,” Sipporah responded quickly. “These are God’s lions. They are just my friends! God has sent them to protect us and to show sinners the way to obtain life. Have they shown you the way? Have they revealed to you the secret of life?”

“I-I-I suppose the secret of life is to repent of my evil ways,” the robber stuttered. His face was filled with broken commandments.

“Marvelous!” Sipporah answered. “You have indeed received a mighty revelation from God through His lions. It is a good beginning. But your confession of faith comes through fear, not from love, so you will need further revelation later so that your relationship with God may grow to full maturity.”

“If you save me from the lions,” he said with fear still in his voice, “I promise to serve God for the rest of my life.”

“You are coerced by fear,” I told him, studying his face. “Your newly-found faith will be tested to see if it is true faith or mere persuasion. When you are no longer in danger of losing your life, then will men know the quality of your faith. Even so, you have made a good beginning. You are not likely to forget this experience. Now go and find your fellow robbers and tell them what great things God has done for you. Then go to Shiloh and offer a sacrifice to the God who has saved you. Remember that truth that is not followed through is only a half truth.”

The robber stepped back slowly, half expecting the lions to leap upon him as soon as he moved. But the lions remained calm, and so, taking courage—so to speak—he turned and ran down the road in the direction that his friends had gone. I then joined Sipporah in hugging the lions, while Samuel looked on in awe.

The lion then took two steps toward Samuel and said in his deep voice, “Shalom, my son. I am the lion of Judah. The God of Israel sends you a message of hope and gladness. The Spirit of Yahweh is upon you to bear witness of the truth, to overthrow the kings of this world, and to crown the Messiah-King of Israel. You have been redeemed for this purpose. When Yahweh speaks to you, let none of His words fall to the ground. 44 Keep a record of all that He tells you, and write an accurate history of Israel’s failings while they are ruled by judges. 45 That way, future generations will know the fallacy of doing what is right in their own eyes and of adopting the gods of the nations around them.”

“But,” Samuel said thoughtfully, “no one will believe me if I write about talking lions and horses.”

“You need not write the whole truth,” the lion said, “but what you write should be the pure truth. There are some things that should be revealed only in parables, and some things should not be revealed at all, until men’s hearts are ready to hear. Truth before its time is foolishness to men. It is enough that men will know that God has revealed Himself to you, and those who perceive this will come to you for guidance. They will respect your knowledge of God, even if they do not know how you received this knowledge.”

“I will ponder your words and do as the Spirit leads me,” Samuel said earnestly.

“That is all that I can ask of you,” the lion said cheerfully. “Remember that love always finds a way to uncover truth at the right time. But our task here is now done, and we must leave once again.”

“Have you any sons yet?” Sipporah asked the lioness.

“I have recently conceived,” she replied. “It will take 120 days from conception to complete the time to full birth.”

Taking the furry head of the lioness in her hands, Sipporah said, “I bless you and your offspring. Perhaps one from this litter will be given that special mission.”

“Thank-you,” she replied. “I believe the special one will indeed be in this litter. I feel it in my heart of hearts.”

After our final farewell, we continued our journey down the road. Samuel rode silently, pondering all that he had seen that day. I had never seen a five-year-old with so great an intellect and understanding. But soon I broke the silence. “What is your mother’s name?” I asked.

“Hannah,” he replied.

“That is a good name,” I said. “How did she get that name?”

“It refers to God’s favor and grace,” he said. “My grandfather knew that she was blessed. But later, when she was unable to bear children, she appealed to God by the promise in her name. He looked upon her with favor, and that is how I was born.”

“That is wonderful,” I said. “Has your mother had any more children?”

“Yes,” Samuel said. “A year after I was born, she had another son, my brother Kohath.”

“No doubt you will have more brothers and sisters soon,” I said. “In my country we sing a song about grace in honor of the grace shown to your mother.”

“Really?” Samuel said with surprise. “Do the people of your country know of my mother?”

“Yes, they do,” I said confidently. “The name of the song is Amazing Grace.” It was written by a slave ship captain who repented and was forgiven by God’s grace. He was a slave to sin until God redeemed him from bondage.”

“Just like me?” Samuel asked.

“Just like you,” I said.

“Teach me the song,” he implored. “Please teach it to me.”

“Well, my voice is not so good, but my wife can sing it for you,” I said.

“Is she like Moses’ sister?” he asked. “She sang a song, too!”

“Yes, she is like Miriam,” I said.

As we rode down the road, Sipporah sang all six verses of Amazing Grace. Sippore accompanied her. By the end of the song, Samuel had learned the music and was enthralled with the lyrics as well.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me;
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

T'was Grace that taught
my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
the hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
we have already come.
T'was Grace that brought us safe thus far,
and Grace will lead us home.

The Lord has promised good to me;
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be
as long as life endures.

When we've been here ten thousand years,
bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise
than when we've first begun.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me;
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

“Your mother,” I said to Samuel, “has taught you to fear the Lord and then to love Him. It was God’s grace that brought you safe thus far, and His grace now leads you home. God has promised good to you and has secured your hope by His word. He will continue to protect and provide for you as long as you live. Someday, when your face shines like the face of Moses for ten thousand years, you will have no less time to sing God’s praise. You have been blessed by grace, for most people remain blind to this revelation, but now you see.”

But as the sun sank lower in the west, a mist arose, and we found ourselves transported to a new place that Samuel recognized.


Footnotes

  1. 1 Samuel 3:19 KJV
  2. Samuel wrote the books bearing his name, as well as Judges and Ruth.