- Dig a pit for your Lion
I’m excited about today’s study, because it is about traps:
Stick with me, and I think that you’ll enjoy the journey we have for today in God’s Word…
Let go back… way back…
The Word of God first warns Cain to “beware of sin that crouches at the door” in the old testament book of Genesis:
And in the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground. But Abel brought [an offering of] the [finest] firstborn of his flock and the fat portions. And the Lord had respect (regard) for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and his offering He had no respect. So Cain became extremely angry (indignant), and he looked annoyed and hostile. And the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you so angry? And why do you look annoyed? If you do well [believing Me and doing what is acceptable and pleasing to Me], will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well [but ignore My instruction], sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you [to overpower you], but you must master it.” Cain talked with Abel his brother [about what God had said]. And when they were [alone, working] in the field, Cain attacked Abel his brother and killed him.
GENESIS 4:3-8 AMP
So we are talking about a “hidden danger” of which Cain was ignorant and unaware of — a trap.
And we see Peter speaking of this Age old enemy again in the new testament:
Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour. But resist him, be firm in your faith [against his attack–rooted, established, immovable], knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being experienced by your brothers and sisters throughout the world. [You do not suffer alone.] After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace [who imparts His blessing and favor], who called you to His own eternal glory in Christ, will Himself complete, confirm, strengthen, and establish you [making you what you ought to be]. To Him be dominion (power, authority, sovereignty) forever and ever. Amen.
1 PETER 5:8-11 AMP
But we see two different results described in these two passages. In the first, we see an example where the truth of the Word of God hardened Cain even more in rebellion because of his pride, his wanting his own will and way to reign supreme. And when Cain fed that lion of pride, it resulted in murder, death, the spilling of innocent blood. In the second, we see a promise of what is possible through the work of the Holy Spirit, imparted by the innocent blood that was spilled by Jesus Christ on the cross.
Let’s chase a rabbit for a moment… Or better yet, a lion…
Genesis mentions sin as crouching by a door, and 1 Peter speaks of it as a lion prowling. There is another story of lions we also see in the old testament about Daniel and we see two very differing results there as well:
It seemed good to Darius [who became king after Belshazzar] to appoint over the kingdom 120 satraps who would be in charge throughout the kingdom, and over them three chief commissioners (of whom Daniel was one), that these satraps might be accountable to them, so that the king would have no loss [from disloyalty or mismanagement]. Then this Daniel, because of the extraordinary spirit within him, began distinguishing himself among the commissioners and the satraps, and the king planned to appoint him over the entire realm. Then the [other two] commissioners and the satraps began trying to find a reason to bring a complaint against Daniel concerning the [administration of the] kingdom; but they could find no reason for an accusation or evidence of corruption, because he was faithful [a man of high moral character and personal integrity], and no negligence or corruption [of any kind] was found in him. Then these men said, “We will not find any basis for an accusation against this Daniel unless we find something against him in connection with the law of his God.”
Then these commissioners and satraps agreed to approach the king and said to him, “King Darius, live forever! All the commissioners of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors have consulted and agreed together that the king should establish a royal statute and enforce an injunction that anyone who petitions (prays to) any god or man besides you, O king, during the next thirty days, shall be thrown into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document so that it may not be changed, in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which [insures that it] may not be altered or revoked.” So King Darius signed the document, that is, the injunction. Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he went into his house (now in his roof chamber his windows were open toward Jerusalem); he continued to get down on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously.
Then, by agreement, these men came [together] and found Daniel praying and making requests before his God. Then they approached and spoke before the king regarding his injunction, “Have you not signed an injunction that anyone who petitions (prays to) any god or man except you, O king, within the designated thirty days, is to be thrown into the den of lions?” The king answered, “The statement is true, in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be altered or revoked.” Then they answered and said before the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, does not pay any attention to you, O king, or to the injunction which you have signed, but keeps praying [to his God] three times a day.” Then, as soon as the king heard these words, he was deeply distressed [over what he had done] and set his mind on rescuing Daniel; and he struggled until the sun went down [trying to work out a way] to save him. Then, by agreement, these same men came to the king and said, “Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or statute which the king establishes may be altered or revoked.” Then the king gave a command, and Daniel was brought and thrown into the den of lions. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you constantly serve, rescue you Himself!”
A stone was brought and laid over the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signet rings of his nobles, so that nothing would be changed concerning Daniel. Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night fasting; and no music or entertainment was brought before him, and he remained unable to sleep. Then the king arose at dawn, at the break of day, and hurried to the den of lions. When he had come near the den, he called out to Daniel with a troubled voice. The king said to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to rescue you from the lions?”
Then Daniel spoke to the king, “O king, live forever! My God has sent His angel and has shut the mouths of the lions so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also before you, O king, I have committed no crime.” Then the king was greatly pleased and ordered that Daniel be taken out of the den. So Daniel was taken out of the den, and no injury whatever was found on him, because he believed in and relied on and trusted in his God. The king then gave a command, and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and thrown into the den of lions, they, their children and their wives; and before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.
Then Darius the king wrote to all the peoples, nations, and speakers of every language who were living in all the land: “May peace abound to you! I issue a decree that in all the dominion of my kingdom men are to [reverently] fear and tremble before the God of Daniel, For He is the living God, enduring and steadfast forever, And His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed, And His dominion will be forever. “He rescues and saves and performs signs and wonders In heaven and on earth– He who has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.” So this [man] Daniel prospered and enjoyed success in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
DANIEL 6:1-28 AMP
And we can see Peter’s exhortation that we should “be firm in [our] faith” –girded up, supported by, and proven by this example of a moment in the life of Daniel. Yes, Daniel and the Lion’s Den is a familiar tale of man and lion that many will have heard of in the Bible. A wonderful story of how God is faithful to protect those who trust and obey Him, and how He is just to punish the wicked and rebellious and conniving.
But what have you heard of the story of Benaiah?
Have you heard that you do not have to be powerless against sin, but that you can see the lion slain?
Do you realize that Yahweh is “building you up” — just like in the name Benaiah, and in the promise Peter spoke of in the end of that passage we looked at earlier:
After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace [who imparts His blessing and favor], who called you to His own eternal glory in Christ, will Himself complete, confirm, strengthen, and establish you [making you what you ought to be].
1 PETER 5:10 AMP
So who is this Benaiah that I’m talking about?
I suggest you check out this article on Benaiah for a fuller grasp: https://overviewbible.com/benaiah-facts/
The most important point in this discussion of Benaiah:
“Benaiah killed a lion in a pit on a snowy day”
We see it twice in the Old Testament:
Then Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man of Kabzeel, who had done many notable acts, killed two [famous] warriors of Moab. He also went down and killed a lion in the middle of a pit on a snowy day.
2 SAMUEL 23:20 AMP
Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a courageous man of Kabzeel who had done great things, killed the two sons of Ariel of Moab. Also he went down and killed a lion in a pit on a snowy day.
1 CHRONICLES 11:22 AMP
It would not be notable to have dug a pit, caught a lion, and then killed it from standing safely above shooting arrows or throwing spears — but he went down and killed this lion himself, in the middle of the pit, lion against man, man against lion.
I wonder how many of us foolishly cower and hide from our sinful temptations (or needlessly fall victim to them) instead of standing firm against them, resisting them to either see them flee powerless, or be slain by the power of the Holy Spirit that abides in us?
What demon needs to be slain in your life?
What temptation needs to be overcome, what addiction needs deliverance, what sickness needs healing so that it can no longer return at its leisure to attack you?
Have we been content being tossed to and fro by our desires, like we are a little mouse that the cat plays with but has not yet killed?
We are not mice, but we are Men of God — unless we indeed have failed the test and do not truly believe! So let’s remember who we are in Christ.
And let’s remember that Jesus Christ has already gone down into the pit with that enemy and secured victory over sin and death:
When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as though dead. And He placed His right hand on me and said, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last [absolute Deity, the Son of God], and the Ever-living One [living in and beyond all time and space]. I died, but see, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of [absolute control and victory over] death and of Hades (the realm of the dead).
REVELATION 1:17-18 AMP
O death , where is your victory ? O death , where is your sting ?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin [by which it brings death] is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory [as conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord [always doing your best and doing more than is needed], being continually aware that your labor [even to the point of exhaustion] in the Lord is not futile nor wasted [it is never without purpose].
1 CORINTHIANS 15:55-58 AMP
If we’ve allowed that lion to hang around — it is not just attacking us, but is attacking and impacting those around us as well. Benaiah didn’t just resist that lion, scare it enough so that it wouldn’t come after him anymore. No, he didn’t just leave it alive so that it could slay and devour his brothers and sisters or the little helpless and defenseless ones in the camp.
No, he slayed it.
And furthermore, that is both the example Christ has given us to follow, and the instruction the Word of God gives us in how to live our renewed lives.
For you, my brothers, were called to freedom; only do not let your freedom become an opportunity for the sinful nature (worldliness, selfishness), but through love serve and seek the best for one another. For the whole Law [concerning human relationships] is fulfilled in one precept, “Y ou shall love your neighbor as yourself [that is, you shall have an unselfish concern for others and do things for their benefit].” But if you bite and devour one another [in bickering and strife], watch out that you [along with your entire fellowship] are not consumed by one another. But I say, walk habitually in the [Holy] Spirit [seek Him and be responsive to His guidance], and then you will certainly not carry out the desire of the sinful nature [which responds impulsively without regard for God and His precepts]. For the sinful nature has its desire which is opposed to the Spirit, and the [desire of the] Spirit opposes the sinful nature; for these [two, the sinful nature and the Spirit] are in direct opposition to each other [continually in conflict], so that you [as believers] do not [always] do whatever [good things] you want to do. But if you are guided and led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the Law. Now the practices of the sinful nature are clearly evident: they are sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality (total irresponsibility, lack of self-control), idolatry, sorcery, hostility, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions [that promote heresies], envy, drunkenness, riotous behavior, and other things like these. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit [the result of His presence within us] is love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature together with its passions and appetites. If we [claim to] live by the [Holy] Spirit, we must also walk by the Spirit [with personal integrity, godly character, and moral courage–our conduct empowered by the Holy Spirit]. We must not become conceited, challenging or provoking one another, envying one another.
GALATIANS 5:13-26 AMP
What pit do you need to dig to see your lion slain?
What faith do you need to have stirred up, maybe even awakened for the first time, into true deep and passionate belief that goes beyond your own comfortable understanding of the do’s and don’ts and steps into trusting the Lord to prove Himself powerful and victorious in your life?
Today is the day.
Is anyone among you suffering? He must pray. Is anyone joyful? He is to sing praises [to God]. Is anyone among you sick? He must call for the elders (spiritual leaders) of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another [your false steps, your offenses], and pray for one another, that you may be healed and restored. The heartfelt and persistent prayer of a righteous man (believer) can accomplish much [when put into action and made effective by God–it is dynamic and can have tremendous power]. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours [with the same physical, mental, and spiritual limitations and shortcomings], and he prayed intensely for it not to rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the land produced its crops [as usual]. My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you strays from the truth and falls into error and [another] one turns him back [to God], let the [latter] one know that the one who has turned a sinner from the error of his way will save that one’s soul from death and cover a multitude of sins [that is, obtain the pardon of the many sins committed by the one who has been restored].
JAMES 5:13-20 AMP