Lion on a Snowy Day
Glory to God! 1Chronicles 11:22 says, "Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel, who had done many acts; he slew two lion–like men of Moab: also he went down and slew a lion in a pit in a snowy day."
Here we have a reference to a man who is a hero because he killed a lion in a pit on a snowy day. What is heroic about this deed? Okay, so it is daring to go toe to toe with a ferocious animal in a small, confined area, but skill in hunting animals was not normally given much attention in the Scriptures.
I suggest that the fact that the lion was killed on a snowy day gives us a clue as to what was so special about the killing of this lion. When the weather is cold and wet, people tend to stay indoors near a warm fire. Benaiah, however, was out and abroad on that day. Why was he not snug indoors doing inside chores and sharing stories around the fire with his pals?
Perhaps this lion was a man–eater or a killer of livestock, a problem to the community. It was a problem that had to be taken care of before it killed again. This fine man put aside his personal comfort to address this situation. Benaiah may have gone out deliberately to look for the animal, or he may have spotted its tracks when he was on a journey. If the latter was the case, he did not hurry on to a warm, cozy destination.
Benaiah followed the lion's tracks in the snow to a pit where the lion was temporarily trapped. It seems that there was a possibility that it could escape the pit, hence the necessity to kill it as quickly as possible. There is a lesson here that we should strike a blow against evil when we can because we might not get another chance, or it might be more difficult later on because circumstances will not be as favourable. Killing this lion could not wait for a more convenient day when the weather improved.
It does not seem that this pit was a man–made trap. Otherwise, the pit would have been embedded with stakes that would have killed the lion when it fell into it. Benaiah had come upon a God–made opportunity to take care of a dangerous nuisance. Perhaps it was for sport that he decided to go into the pit himself, instead of throwing spears or shooting arrows into the beast at a safe distance. There is always that possibility. It seems unwise, however, to risk injury or death when there is no necessity to do so. I think it is more likely that circumstances ordered for someone to enter the pit to kill the animal with a sword. Perhaps a sword was his only weapon.
The lesson here is that it is a heroic thing for one to leave their comfort zone to go to the rescue of others. It may be a quiet, hidden thing like setting aside one's own desires to take time to intercede in prayer on the behalf of another. It might be writing a letter to a newspaper to express a righteous view on a controversial issue, laying oneself open to public criticism.
Leaving the comfort zone might be visiting someone at the prompting of the Spirit on a rainy night when you'd rather snuggle in your armchair with a good book and a cup of cocoa. On the other hand, in a very warm climate, it might entail venturing on a visit when you would prefer to take a siesta or stay indoors where there is air conditioning.
These are small deeds compared to actually killing a lion or modern–day equivalents of daring Christian exploits, but he that is faithful in that which is least is also faithful in that which is much. Responding to the call of heroic deeds, whether small or great, particularly out of love and concern for others, rather than for vainglory, follows God's design for us to be champions.
One time, I felt impressed to go to Richmond to visit a friend, but I felt reluctant to do so. Richmond is a long drive from my home, it is a notoriously easy place to get lost in because of how the roads are laid out and some are not well marked, and it was raining that autumn night. But I remembered a dream I'd had wherein I was travelling by camel to China in hot weather. I thought to myself, "Travelling to Richmond by car on a rainy night is a lot easier than going to China by camel in burning heat. I might have to do that some day, but I won't be ready for it if I balk at this."
It was a good thing that I motivated myself that way because I got lost, as I figured I would because I am not familiar with the area, and went through the Deas Island Tunnel to Ladner instead of getting off at the Richmond exit. But I finally got to my friend's place. On the way home, I couldn't see any signs telling me how to get onto the Alex Fraser Bridge, causing me to get turned around and going all the way back to Richmond, where I took the Knight Street Bridge to Vancouver, then came down the full length of Marine Drive to get back onto the route I needed to take to get home.
Basically, I drove to Richmond twice in one night and used up a lot of gas. If I hadn't girded up the loins of my mind when I set out on that trip, I would have been blowing my stack going through the Deas Island Tunnel and turning purple when I couldn't get off the freeway on the way back to Richmond. Considering how it is much easier to go to Richmond twice on a rainy night in a car than travelling to China by camel helped keep me calm.
Also, though I didn't know it when I set out, my friend was depressed and needed to talk to someone that night. She said that she got depressed every autumn because of traumatic events in her past that had occurred in the autumn. I figure that my double confusion probably merited a double anointing to bless my friend, because God takes all our efforts to do His will into consideration.
Yes, it was a small thing, and it doesn't mark me as a champion, but it is an example of how one can get themself motivated to do good deeds by making comparisons about how much easier it is to do such ordinary acts of compassion than the big stuff that more valiant Christians seem to do routinely. My lion on a snowy day may have just been a cub, but I skewered it. Praise the Lord!
There are others who do far more than my little drive out to Richmond, at great cost to themselves. I read a book called God's Commandos about a missionary in the jungle. There was another missionary who lived days away and he was ill. He needed medicine and this missionary took on the arduous trek to bring it to him, braving many discomforts and dangers, including being surrounded by a herd of wild boars that clacked their tusks at him. Now that was a challenge!
What has God asked you to do that requires you to leave your comfort zone?
Your word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you.