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Lost in the Lions  

His king was vanquished, his country conquered, and Daniel's future seemed dim.  Captured and then carted off to a strange land, he had no idea what lay before him.  What could he have been thinking as passed through the gates of Nebuchadnezzar's palace, its walls adorned with artwork in relief?

Large segments of those very walls are on display today at the Istanbul museum in Turkey. Recently I gawked at several sections of them featuring beautifully preserved images of lions and dragons.   Gorgeously carved and colorfully painted, these panels are about four foot by six foot— and stunning. It's hard to believe these pieces date back 2,600 years. 

Staring at these treasures, I tried to process that these are the very same images—the very same walls with the very same lions--that Daniel would have seen once pressed into palace duty.  Perhaps his hand reached out to trace one of those same lion's paws that caught my attention.

Remember that as Daniel took in the exotic palace imagery, he did so without benefit from any previous perspective such as Discovery Channel, books, Blue Ray or even a county zoo.

I continued to stare at the walls Daniel stared at.  What thoughts raced through his mind as he pondered the lion with the blue background I was photographing?  It must have been jolting—terrifying: lions everywhere!

But most of all, I wonder if Daniel connected the painted palace creatures with the real lions in the pit into which Nebuchadnezzar eventually placed him.  Did he tremble at the smell of these beasts?  Quiver at the feel of their hot breath on his skin?

Someday, I shall ask Daniel myself.

Meanwhile, Daniel has a question for me—and you: Is the power of the living God a thing that we merely archive between the leather covers of our Bibles—a sort of museum for heroes long past?  Or is it a force that moves us and motivates us on a daily basis?

Staring into the eyes of the painted lions is haunting.  But what will it be like to one day lock eyes with the Lion of Judah?


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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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Jon Gauger Media 2016