PART 37 – IN A PIT WITH A LION ON A SNOWY DAY (20/2/20)
‘Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, performed great exploits. He struck down Moab’s two mightiest warriors. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. And he struck down a huge Egyptian. Although the Egyptian had a spear in his hand, Benaiah went against him with a club. He snatched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with his own spear. Such were the exploits of Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he too was as famous as the three mighty warriors. He was held in greater honour than any of the Thirty, but he was not included among the Three. And David put him in charge of his bodyguard.’ (2 Samuel 23:20-23)
Becoming a lion-killer
How does one become like this man - a ‘valiant fighter’ - not just a talker? He ‘performed great exploits’ - he didn’t just have great ideas! He ‘went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion’! and the bio continues!
If I saw a lion in a pit, I’d be grateful that it was contained, I certainly wouldn’t jump into the pit! I think I know myself enough to know that to think that I might jump into the Lion’s den is just day-dreaming. And that’s okay; lions in pits aren’t the sorts of challenges that we face, are they. However, we must learn to perceive and jump into the faith-challenging opportunities that God does put in our way. To grow we must confront fear with faith. What pit is God calling you into at the moment? Leading a small group, serving in some way, using your spiritual gifts, a new job, dealing with that challenging relationship, a change of direction, witnessing to that friend, financial giving, going deeper in prayer…?
If we are Jesus’ sheep, He will lead us through ‘the valley of the shadow of death’ - the lion’s pit - in which our faith, character and capacity are developed. So, if you want to be more of a ‘Benaiah’, follow Jesus through the pits that he is leading you down- jump in and fight that lion!
After these events, we read,
‘David put him in charge of his bodyguard.’ (2 Samuel 23:23)
True growth comes through stretching our faith; and faith is stretched by jumping into that pit! Mark Batterson, in his book ‘in a pit with a lion on a snowy day’ wrote,
‘Christian maturity is seeing and seizing God–ordained opportunities’.
May we all grow to jump into every pit that God gifts us with.
Remember the true lion-fighter
Finally, it’s so important that we don’t talk about being courageous, without talking about Jesus and the gospel. This is what makes Christian teaching fundamentally different from self-help! For us to become those who ‘go into a pit with a lion on a snowy day’, we must come to know God, be led by God, be protected by God, and be empowered by God; all this is only available through Jesus. His death on the cross was him going into the pit and fighting our enemies - sin and satan for us! Through Him alone can we achieve anything of any worth.
During this week's devotionals, we are being encouraged to be 'mighty warriors' for Jesus. However, it's important that we understand that doing great things for God is to simply - do all we can, with all we have, where we are, by God's grace. To this end let's meditate on and memorise Philippians 4:13.
TIPS ON MEMORISING SCRIPTURE
We will only do this, and persevere in doing this, if we believe that it's truly important to hide God's word in our heart. So get faith!
Don't disqualify yourself if it's hard - it is hard!
Write the text somewhere that's easy to find and use - a note on your phone, a post-it on the fridge...
Include the reference (book/chapter/verse) throughout the process
Read it slowly and carefully x 10 (Don't rush or dismiss this accurate repetition)
Recall it, without looking as much as possible x10
Do this a few times through the day - a habit is best formed by doing this at the same times, and places each day.
Revise regularly (and revise previously memorised verses)
Make it a habit to learn new verses - skill comes over time
USE IT! Actively use it to pray, worship, counsel, prophecy, and counter temptation and lies by quoting truth - it’s the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17).
TIPS ON BIBLICAL MEDITATION - THE 'COME TO JESUS DAILY METHOD'.
Biblical meditation is to prayerfully read, repeatedly, a section of the bible and pray, worship and respond as God leads. Here are a few tips and questions, what I call the 'come to Jesus daily method', to help you when meditating:
PRAY - Ask for the Spirit to help you and to speak to you. Keep the goal in mind - having a relationship with God!
WRITING- Writing/journaling is often a great help as you answer the questions below. Remember, don't allow worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar, perfection... to stop you from writing - it's between you and God. In meditation, I encourage you to write in the first-person, speaking to God - "I see that you are...I sense you speaking to me about...I pray for...."
GOSPEL- What does God, through this text, say to you about salvation through Jesus?
UP- What does God, through this text, say you about Himself – His worth, character, attributes, will, promises…?
IN- What does God, through this text, say about you, His church and how we are to relate?
OUT- What does God, through this text, say about non-believers and our mission?
RESPONSE – Is there anything else that you want to pray, worship God about, do, ask forgiveness about, ask God to help you to change…?
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY – DAVID'S MIGHTY WARRIORS (FOR THE WEEK OF 17/2/20)
What is the scariest thing you've ever done and why did you do it?
Introduction (Please read this intro to the group)
This week we are finishing our series in the life and times of King David. We finish by looking at his 'mighty warriors'. David was a great man of God, however, he depended on the support of many people. Behind the scenes of any success, there are usually numbers of faithful friends, colleges and family. In the words of the Beatles, we truly do 'get by with a little help from my friends'.
I want to thank every one of you for your love, prayers and sacrificial service that make Community Church what it is and will become.
Please read and discuss 1 Chronicles 11:10
In what ways do you, or could on, seek to give 'strong support' in church, in the home, at work?
How could you, as a group, support one another more effectively?
How do you need support in your life at the moment? Who could you approach about this?
Please read and discuss 2 Samuel 23:20-23
What are the kinds of 'lions, pits and snowy days' that we encounter?
Do you have any past or present examples of taking faith 'jumps' for God?
This story could easily become a 'self-help' message - "face your fears and have a can-do attitude". To keep us from this danger, we want to be 'gospel-centred' - appreciate what Jesus has done for us, how this changes us, before we talk about what we do for Him - He's the hero! How is Benaiah's act (with the lion) a picture what Jesus has done for us? How does knowing Jesus enable us to become more like Benaiah?
PRAY - IN GROUPS OF 3-4
Note - At the moment, please get into smaller groups every week when you meet, and, preferably, in the same groups each week.
Share anything from your life or the bible study that you'd like prayer for.
Share any encouraging things that God has done in your life recently.
Pray for students' mission week (see this week's church news for prayer points)
Pray for provision in the church, specifically for our upcoming gift days on 22, 29th March.
Please look at the church news together.