Benaiah, son of Jehoiada, was a valiant warrior from Kabzeel, a man of many exploits. He struck down two champions of Moab, and on a snowy day, he went down into a pit and killed a lion.
2 Samuel 23:20
Benaiah must have been the picture of a hero for many in the kingdom. He was one of David’s 30 mighty men and, according to 2 Samuel, he was the most honored of all of them. We might look at him as an example of how we wish we all were in our work for the kingdom, fearless, strong and victorious.
We, like Benaiah, are servants of the king and we are all involved in kingdom work no matter where God leads us. Considering that, we want to focus on the snowy day incident and see it as a metaphor for cross-cultural life and ministry. There may be days when we rush down into a pit, despite the snow, and take on a lion winning the day; but most days it may be a different story.
Living in a culture other than where you were raised can sometimes feel like being in a pit. It is lonely, and you feel trapped. Benaiah’s pit had probably been created to trap the lion in it. It couldn’t escape, and neither can you. You are stuck where you are, and hopelessness can quickly become a reality.
Cross-cultural living can also make life feel like a bad weather day. Snow can be beautiful, but it is cold, wet and treacherous too. Trying to do anything in the snow is more laborious than without it. Since different cultures go about life differently, just going about daily life can be a challenge, much less trying to fight a lion.
Oh, yes, the lion. As if the pit and the snow were not bad enough, we also face our enemy in cross-cultural kingdom work. It’s not that the enemy is not present in daily life in our home culture; he is, but we rarely are aware of him. He fits into the normalness of every day, and his work against us is much subtler. Also, we have significant support in our healthy, home-culture lives. We don’t feel like we are facing him alone. In cross-cultural settings, we are not at home. We often don’t have that support, and we are already dealing with the pit and the snow. The lion, prowling about, looking for someone to devour now feels very real and very threatening.
However, we aren’t alone, and like Benaiah, we can have victory over the lion if we rest in Jesus who has already defeated him.
In repentance and rest is your salvation. In quietness and trust, your strength.
So, prepare well and realize that in time the pit will not seem so hopeless and the snow will not last forever. And the lion … though he is dangerous, powerful and scary and may win a battle or two along the way, his defeat is inevitable and the stinger of his most potent weapon, death, has been removed by Jesus. We have nothing to fear from him.
Follow your king with confidence wherever he leads you!