I have been trying to wrap my mind around this phenomenon with Benaiah and the lion. By the way, Mark Batterson’s book In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day has been some the best encouragement I have ever read. The book itself, has taught me that all my fears are only excuses. It is a must read.

I tend to make things more difficult and complicated than they really are. I am too analytical. And honestly, as I was breaking down these short statements about Benaiah, I thought “this is way out of context.” I mean cmon’ there is no preface or sequel. I don’t think I can legitimately say that God wanted Benaiah to risk his life by attempting to kill a lion. Maybe details were lost in translation. I don’t know. This week as I attempted to lead our life group through a portion of this story, I left shaking my head. I felt like I did the lesson no justice. I bombed. I concluded that I expect God to be literal with me and learned that this has been a mistake that I have been making for a long time.

No God doesn’t want me to jump into a hole and fight off Africanized wild beasts. But I do believe He wants me to take risks. Not risks in light of dictionary.com’s definition. Yes the definition applies but only partly. Where I don’t agree with this definition is the part about loss or failure. If I am truly taking a risk for God and I fail, God still receives glory because I chased the lion. I wouldn’t fail because I still put Him first. The scenario with Benaiah’s lion ordeal, I believe, was part of his routine. I am not saying that this routine was commonplace within this era but that for some reason Benaiah needed to kill this lion. I don’t think he was legally insane, maybe dangerously crazy, but not coo koo. Otherwise David wouldn’t have put him in a position of leadership, right? Of course these are just assumptions from a rookishly wannabe theologian, made thousands of years after the fact.

Just as if I am studying the Bible, Batterson’s entire book should be read to learn of the common thread within all the characters portrayed. That common thread, I believe, is that all the people spoken of had a fear of God.

Benaiah killed the lion despite the obvious odds in the lions favor. I think it is healthy to say that he trusted in his God given ability. This is the principal that I have been missing. Somewhere within the Bible I have read that God will give me the desires of my heart. And I think it is safe to assume, as long as these desires relate to making Him famous, I am good to go. Benaiah’s battle with the lion had to have God’s involvement. Logically, the lion wins every time in this situation. But not this time. Actually this isn’t the only guy in the Bible who could be labeled as roid user. Other men in the Bible have taken out large animals and outnumbered armies. These men were juiced with a fear of God.

I could go on and on about what this “fear of God” is. But I can’t. I would just ramble. Personally I can only attempt to describe MY fear of God. I believe my “lion” is to follow Him completely while living within a “routine”. I hope this is as easily understood for you as well. Check out Proverbs 19:23 MSG. Try to follow along with the latter because what is in my head doesn’t always come out very well through my finger tips.

Because I know Him, I have learned that I have been commanded to follow Him. As I attempt to follow Him, I screw up. My fear of God, thankfully brings my screw ups to my attention. This fear also convicts me to continue to follow and screw up less often. I have found through trial and error that the less I follow, the more I screw up. To follow Him, is when I put Him first in absolutely EVERYTHING I do. This is what I would describe as my routine. That is, everyone was created to worship Him by serving others first and then give Him the glory. No that wasn’t backwards. Serve Him by putting others first and then give Him the glory. This is where I believe I have failed. I have been putting Him first before others (in that I try to learn and gain from Him for my personal benefit by gaining insight that will help my problems) and honestly most of the time I have cut in line before God. To follow Him, or live my life like Him, I must put everyone else first just as Christ did. Again this is just my rationale. Wouldn’t you say that Christ put others first, even before Himself? If this raises hairs, think about it logically, it is all just a simple cycle that in the end glorifies God. All of the above is just my routine.

My “lion” on the other hand, is my dream. You may label your “lion” as calling. I believe my dream/calling is to take my family and our routine into Latin America. This lion/dream/calling, I believe is the point of Batterson’s book. God even wants our dreams as stated in Psalms 20:4. I think a better way to describe this is, adventure. These adventures are the circumstances that are presented to us within our routines. Good or bad. God wants us to let go of our reasoning and make Him famous by attempting to chase our dreams. If we trust Him and continue to live out our routine, God will do what God does.