"Dread Champion"

Gladiator is one of my favorite movies, a masterfully crafted film with a compelling plot and outstanding performances (proving once more that a well-made movie can make a hero out of an unlikeable actor, but that's another topic for another day). 

The main character, Maximus, is a high-ranking officer in the service of the Roman Empire who refuses to bend a knee to the murderous new Caesar, and is given a death sentence. His family is slaughtered, but he survives and is driven to avenge their deaths by becoming the most feared gladiator in the Empire. Maximus is a guy you'd like to have in front of you in battle - honorable, skilled, fierce, and determined. He's a champion you'd want in your corner.

We all need a champion to help us meet the challenges of life. And wouldn't it be cool to have one at whose mere appearance all enemies quake and flee, unable to withstand even the sight of our protector. Guess what? We've got one, and He's not merely a champion. Here's how the ancient prophet, Jeremiah, describes Him:

But the Lord is with me like a dread champion; therefore my persecutors will stumble and not prevail. They will be utterly ashamed, because they have failed, with an everlasting disgrace that will not be forgotten.
Jeremiah 20:11 (NASB)

Incidentally, in The Message translation of this passage, that last sentence has this pleasingly graphic phrasing: Slapstick buffoons falling all over themselves, a spectacle of humiliation no one will ever forget.

Dread is an adjective that's rarely used nowadays, The Princess Bride and Predator 2 notwithstanding (go watch them again). It's defined as something that's regarded with awe; greatly revered, and also greatly feared. And while other translations of this passage from Jeremiah translate the phrase as mighty warrior or fierce warrior, there's something about dread champion that seems to surpass the mere human characteristics we might ascribe to a particularly skilled and brave fighter...especially knowing that champion implies someone who is not just an advocate for you, but is willing to do whatever it takes to protect you and defeat your enemies.

The next time you're feeling fearful and weak, remember that you have a Dread Champion ready to step in front and conquer the enemy that's attacking you. After all, as another wise writer put it, if God is for us, who can be against us?

How does the term "dread champion" resonate with you? Email me or leave a comment on my Facebook post!

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This page contains a single entry by Eric published on November 2, 2014 3:05 PM.

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