Every year, some friends and I make a plan to work through the Bible in a very short time. We read through the Bible so we can see the whole story of God at once. It’s a very eye-opening time. We work through Genesis and the Torah (the first five books). We work through the history books, then to the poetry books and then the books of the prophets. Then, finally to the New Testament.

I’m always amazed that, as I’m moving through all of it, there’s something new that I’ve never seen and insights that I’ve never had before.

This year, I came across a man I am sure I’ve heard of before but never paid much attention to. His name is Benaiah. His name means “Yahweh builds up” or “built by God.”  Most of what we know about him is found in 2 Samuel, 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles. He was known as a mighty man of valor and a great warrior. He was placed in charge of King Solomon’s armies and was one of his closest advisors. His military accomplishments were amazing and well documented.

It is a small comment that intrigues me the most when I think about Benaiah’s life. Found in 2 Samuel 23:20 and 1 Chronicles 11:22, we find a story that has nothing to do with his military prowess or his service to the king or God. It says, “He also went down and killed a lion in the middle of a pit on a snowy day.” That mind-blowing sentence is found in both accounts.

What I’m reading is that this man would spend his off time in dark uncomfortable places in the midst of danger. The point to all this, and what I think God is telling us, is how often do we prepare in dangerous places for the battles? God wants us to fight.

Honestly, everything about that sentence is not something that I consistently want to do. “He went down” doesn’t seem very difficult. However, most of us are perfectly content with not moving. We may be on our phones, in front of a TV, taking a nap, or just doing nothing. Movement of any kind has to be worth it to us. Sometimes, God just wants us to go.

Benaiah went down out of his comfort zone. Where did he go? He went into “the middle of a pit.” He didn’t go to the beach or to the lake. He found himself in the middle of a pit. Now we could guess that he got lost, but this was a man of intentionality. This was a high functioning, successful man. He found himself in a pit because he wasn’t afraid to go there.

How many times do we not go somewhere because it’s just too inconvenient or maybe even just a little scary? Not only was the place inconvenient and possibly scary for Benaiah, it was uncomfortable. It was “on a snowy day”. In his day, they didn’t have waterproof anything. It was a snowy day. It was cold. It was wet and this is how he was spending his time.

This was a man who was not afraid of inconvenience, but also not afraid of the uncomfortable. Benaiah went down into an uncomfortable place that was inconvenient and possibly dangerous and ‘killed a lion”. The danger came in the form of something that could actually kill him without remorse. We don’t know if he almost lost his life in the battle against this lion. The fact is that he won. He was victorious because of who he was.

So, what does all of this mean? If we are going to be successful in the call of God – winning battles, taking land, seeing victory – our time off should be made up of things that prep us for that. Benaiah was successful in the Lord, because of the way he prepped himself to be in the service of God. I’m not saying you should put yourself in danger, but I think we can use this as a motivation to do things that make us stronger.

Do we find ourselves being lazy and not wanting to move? Do we have a pit that we go to that might just be a little inconvenient and yet, we go there for the opportunity? Maybe it is inconvenient and maybe when we get there it’s even uncomfortable, but we have faith that God is with us wherever we go.

If we face danger in the preparation, we will not fear the danger in the battle. Each of our battles are unique, but the preparation is the same. God calls to be close to Him, even when we’re not in trouble so that we know Him.

This story is not meant to bring judgment, but possibly conviction, and hopefully encouragement, that doing difficult things prepares you to be successful in God’s kingdom. Be like Benaiah; be “built by God”!


Rene Solis is Director of Koinonia School of Ministry, a ministry of Koinonia Church in Hanford, CA. He can be reached at ksm@kchanford.com or by calling 559-582-1528.