God bless you and greetings in the name of Jesus Christ who was tempted by the roar of the lion yet never gave succumbed (Hebrews 4:15; I Peter 5:8).
II Samuel 23:20 highlights one of the most obscure yet courageous acts recorded in Scripture. Hidden in one verse in II Samuel is an account of Benaiah, whose name means, “built up by Jehovah.” That’s a good reputation to live up to, isn’t it? It provides a wonderful analogy I want to use on how to approach life.
II Samuel 23:20: NLT
There was also Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant warrior from Kabzeel. He did many heroic deeds, which included killing two of Moab’s mightiest warriors [The KJV calls them “two lionlike men.”] Another time he chased a lion down into a pit. Then, despite the snow and slippery ground, he caught the lion and killed it.
Scripture doesn’t tell us what Benaiah was doing or where he was going when he encountered this lion. We don’t know Benaiah’s frame of mind, but Scripture does tell us what he did. He entered personal combat with a lion. This wasn’t a tamed one from Barnum and Bailey, either. This was a ferocious lion, which was trapped in a pit with no way out. He was cornered and dangerous.
Perhaps Benaiah reflected on the account of Samson, who, when a young lion roared against him, rent the lion as he would have rent a kid, and he had nothing in his hand. He did it bare-handedly. But even more importantly, Samson did it (as the Scripture says) because the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him.
Perhaps he heard David tell his story of the lion that took a lamb out of his flock. How David went out after the lamb, and smote the lion, and delivered the lamb out of its mouth. How when it arose against him, David caught it by its beard, and smote it, and slew it. David derived great confidence from how God saved him, as David calls it, from the paw of the lion. So much so that he had no fear to face Goliath later in his life. Perhaps Benaiah wanted to have his own similar story to tell.
Although it doesn’t say how Benaiah did it. It was gutsy. Why not just shoot arrows at it or throw spears at it from afar? No, not Benaiah, he climbs down into the pit to meet him face to face on slippery ground. This must rank as one of the most improbable reactions recorded in Scripture.
When the image of a man-eating beast travels through the optical nerve and registers in the visual cortex, the brain usually has one over-whelming message: RUN! That is what normal people do, but lion-chasers are wired differently. They don’t see five-hundred-pound problems. They see God-ordained opportunities.
For most of us, finding ourselves in a pit, with a lion, on a snowy day would pose a substantial problem, but you’ve got to admit something: “I killed a lion in a pit on a snowy day” looks pretty impressive on your résumé. Especially if you’re applying for a bodyguard position with the King of Israel! Not only does Benaiah land a job as David’s chief bodyguard, he climbs all the way up the military chain-of-command to become Commander-in-Chief of Israel’s army under Solomon (I Kings 2:25, 29, 30, 34, 35; 4:4). Benaiah was the second most powerful person in the kingdom of Israel, but his genealogy of success can be traced all the way back to a life-and-death encounter with a man-eating lion. It was fight or flight. Benaiah was faced with a choice that would determine his destiny: run away or give chase. He chose to face his enemy.
We face similar situations. If we run away, we’ll always wonder “what if.” We have to learn to face our fears. The devil, as a roaring lion, walks about seeking to devour us. He’s there, roaring all the time. He wants to destroy us… destroy our dreams, our vision, our excitement, our enthusiasm for life. I John 4:18 declares that “…perfect love casts out all fear.” As we grow in a love relationship with God, our love dispels our fear, and we’ll begin to unlearn the fears that keep us from living by faith. The end result is fearlessness! To love is to be fearless. When we love we are fearless.
Don’t let mental lions keep you from experiencing everything God has to offer. Our greatest experiences may often double as the scariest experiences. The defining moments of our lives will often double as the scariest decisions we’ll ever make.
Benaiah conquered his sudden fear. He must have been scared spitless when he encountered that lion. But he didn’t run away. In fact, it was the adrenaline rush from the sudden fear he felt that made his “in a pit with a lion on a snowy day” story all the more fun to tell afterward.
Imagine the bedtime stories Benaiah must have told his children! I can hear his kids: “Tell us the lion story one more time!” I think we owe it to our kids and grandkids to live our lives in a way that is worth telling stories about. And more importantly, we owe it to God. So here is my question: Are you living your life in a way that is worth telling stories about?
What stories have you passed down to your children about God’s goodness in your life? Have you told your family and friends about how you were born-again? Have you told your family and friends about the first time you spoke in tongues or ministered healing or worked a miracle? No one will know how good your God has been to you if you do not tell them. We ought to be versed with family histories of God’s mighty hand of deliverance. They are so important to have and to speak and to keep, and we should be adding more and more as we continue to live and move and have our being in Him.
I remember so vividly sitting one night with the fellowlaborers and John Shroyer, as his manner was, was telling stories. He shared story after story of deliverance, of moving the Word, of helping people in the middle of the night, of operating manifestations. The fellowlaborers were electrified, and hung on his every word. I will never forget their enthusiasm. When he finished, they responded so excitedly. “We want things like this to tell and share. We want our own stories that communicate the greatness of our God.” At the end of their year of training, during the Family Reunion, they shared plenty of them.
What fear has been roaring in our ears? Maybe it’s time to apply for your dream job; to grab a guitar and sing at fellowship; to admit your addictions and end them; to witness to your boss or coworker. Well, what are we waiting for? Minister to your friend with some so-called incurable disease; reconcile a broken relationship; ask her out; take the test; go to a Weekend in the Word; mentor someone; stop attending fellowship and start participating; add a stamp to your passport; take an evening class; start a business; write the manuscript; become a fellowlaborer. Don’t let fear cause you to sacrifice your God-given opportunities.
There is an old aphorism: no guts no glory. When we don’t have the guts to believe to step out and chase lions, then God is robbed of the glory that rightfully belongs to Him! So, chase the lions!