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How Are the Righteous as Bold as a Lion?

Like a lion, the righteous are unfettered by their conscience. Their conscience is clear and pure, and they can proceed with peace and rest knowing they are guided and cared for by God Almighty.

Award-winning Christian Novelist and Journalist
Apr 01, 2022
How Are the Righteous as Bold as a Lion?

Picture a lion — stalking unafraid through the savannah, majestic and courageous, strong, and commanding. Other animals flee when she approaches and cower at her mighty roar, for they know she is fierce and powerful, sovereign among animals.

In the Book of Proverbs, this is the image we are provided to represent the righteous. Proverbs 28:1 proclaims, “The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.”

Yet how is this so? Often it is the wicked who are known for their strength and dominance, while the righteous are considered “good,” kind, and merciful. How are the righteous as bold as a lion?

What Does it Mean to Be Righteous?

Generally, righteousness means being morally correct, one who lives in an upright way according to the Lord.

In the Bible, people who are righteous are those who embrace the commands of God, who turn from fleshly desires and strive to live in the way of Christ Jesus, our model of perfection.

But Christ hadn’t yet come at the time King Solomon wrote Proverbs. Solomon would have been referring to an Old Testament concept of righteousness, one rooted in promise-keeping, holy living, and purity.

The word used in that Scripture is tsaddiq, which Strong’s Hebrew concordance translates as “just” and “righteous.” It’s the same word used to describe Noah in Genesis 6:9 — the lone man God deemed worthy of saving from the flood — and God Himself when Nehemiah praised him during the people’s great confession after the Jerusalem wall was rebuilt (Nehemiah 9:8).

The NKJV Open Bible defines this sort of righteousness as “that which is upright.”

What Does it Mean to Be ‘Bold as a Lion’?

According to Strong’s Hebrew concordance, the original Hebrew uses the word yibtah, from the root batach — meaning the state of being bold and trusting, confident — and kephir, meaning a young lion.

In this sense, the verse is saying those who are morally upright and just, those who are “righteous,” have the trusting, secure confidence of a young lion, one who walks assured of his victory.

Elsewhere in Proverbs, Solomon refers to the lion as “mighty among beasts, who retreats before nothing” and moves with “stately bearing” (Proverbs 30:29-30).

One who is bold as a lion does not worry. This person is confident that he or she is protected by the Lord and walks with Him. All they do is guaranteed, blessed, and certain to triumph in the end.

What Is the Context Behind This Verse?

In Proverbs 28, Solomon is explaining what sort of leader he wishes his son to be: one who is strong, mighty, courageous, and good, not the sort who’s so unstable, brash, and haunted by his evil deeds that he would flinch at phantom pursuers.

Keeping in mind that Solomon asked the Lord for wisdom, this book is just that: nuggets of God-inspired wisdom on how to live and lead well in order to please the Lord and receive His blessing.

Throughout this chapter of the book, Solomon contrasts the wicked with the wise, indicating how the wise walk with God and behave in a controlled manner filled with good judgment and discernment.

They don’t need to be a roaring immature lion, consumed with foolish emotion and wrath. Rather, they lead with their heads and the providence of God. They can be a young lion, a lion in his prime.

And like this young lion, they can live with confidence — that is, boldly, like a lion — because they are unfettered by their conscience. Their conscience is clear and pure, and they can proceed with peace and rest knowing they are guided and cared for by God Almighty.

Why Does Righteousness Make a Person Bold?

When we are righteous, we fear God. We live our lives in respect and awe of the gifts He gives us, and we do our best to please Him. The wicked do not fear God but rather concern themselves with the ways of this world and the people.

Because the righteous have their sights set on the Lord, they don’t have to worry about other people in the same way, for they worry about their master.

This provides great freedom, for they are liberated from the shackles of people-pleasing and politics. They can move about their days with courage and confidence, knowing they are secure.

It’s the same kind of security and confidence Jesus refers to in John 16:33 when He tells His disciples that in Him, they have peace.

What Are Some Other Verses That Include the Power of a Lion?

God Almighty has complete and absolute power over all things. Indeed, He created the universe, and all rightfully bow to Him. Righteousness is living in line with that truth. To remind us of God’s authoritative position, here are some other Bible verses that refer to God as a lion:

Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals” (Revelation 5:5).

Like a lion coming up from Jordan’s thickets to a rich pastureland, I will chase Edom from its land in an instant. Who is the chosen one I will appoint for this? Who is like me and who can challenge me? And what shepherd can stand against me? (Jeremiah 49:19).

They will follow the Lord; he will roar like a lion. When he roars, his children will come trembling from the west (Hosea 11:10).

For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, like a great lion to Judah. I will tear them to pieces and go away; I will carry them off, with no one to rescue them (Hosea 5:14).

The lion has roared — who will not fear? The Sovereign Lord has spoken — who can but prophesy?” (Amos 3:8).

This is what the Lord says to me: “As a lion growls, a great lion over its prey — and though a whole band of shepherds is called together against it, it is not frightened by their shouts or disturbed by their clamor — so the Lord Almighty will come down to do battle on Mount Zion and on its heights” (Isaiah 31:4).

A king’s rage is like the roar of a lion, but his favor is like dew on the grass (Proverbs 19:12).

What Does This Mean?

There is no question that lions are perceived as powerful. “King of the jungle” is among their titles, even though lions don’t actually live in the jungle. Other creatures freeze and run in fear for their lives at the sight of the lion. The lion is formidable and dominant.

It’s the same way with God, our Father. Revelation 22:13 calls God “the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”

In the Book of Daniel, the seemingly mighty King Nebuchadnezzar had this to say when God leveled him and thus displayed His full authority:

His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?” (Daniel 4:34-35).

God is like a lion, only far more powerful. And when we are righteous — that is, when we walk in alignment with Him — we can have the courage and boldness of a lion, too.

For further reading:

How Is Jesus the 'Lamb of God' and the 'Lion of the Tribe of Judah'?

Why Does the Lord Send Rain on the Righteous and the Unrighteous?

Why Are Believers to Have Boldness in the Christian Life?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/patrick verhoef

Jessica Brodie author photo headshotJessica Brodie is an award-winning Christian novelist, journalist, editor, blogger, and writing coach and the recipient of the 2018 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Award for her novel, The Memory Garden. She is also the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism. Learn more about her fiction and read her faith blog at She has a weekly YouTube devotional, too. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and more. She’s also produced a free eBook, A God-Centered Life: 10 Faith-Based Practices When You’re Feeling Anxious, Grumpy, or Stressed.

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These verses serve as a source of renewal for the mind and restoration for the heart by reinforcing the notion that, while human weakness is inevitable, God's strength is always available to uplift, guide, and empower us.

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