Make the decision to kill a lion

Sunday, October 25, 2009

In any given day we make a thousand decisions: Wear the blue tie or the orange. Black shoes or brown. Decaf, regular or stop off at the coffee shop and pick up a latte. Thousands of decisions, and that's before we walk out the door. When the day-to-day decisions become paralyzing, how in the world do we rise to challenge of making the life-altering ones?

Benaiah was the personal bodyguard to the king. His character was trustworthy, his bravery unquestionable and his honor impenetrable. Yet reading of his adventures, one has to wonder if he had the best decision-making ability.

Second Samuel records that he killed a lion. Not that big of a deal. Before lions became an endangered and protected species, many men killed lions. Yet none has killed a lion the way Benaiah had. "He killed a lion in a pit on a day when snow had fallen."

What prompted the decision to chase a lion slipping and sliding into a pit? A lion can shred a man to pieces without even straining itself. Benaiah willingly stepped into the pit where the beast waited.

Not only was the danger imminent and potentially life-threatening, but the conditions were not ideal. Fresh snow lined the path to the beast. He entered into a slick environment with unknown conditions and hidden surprises. One would think that when backing a lion into a corner, having solid footing would be important so that as the lion lunges, your feet will not slip out from under you.

The danger is real. The conditions are not ideal and could be life-altering. Yet that day, he killed a lion.

We put off making decisions as we wait for the ideal conditions to emerge. If this happens, then I could do that. When I finally get this in place in my life, then my real life will begin.

Unfortunately, conditions are never ideal. The Lord isn't looking for perfection but faithfulness. Benaiah reminds us that the conditions are never ideal, but the decisions must be made and action must be taken. Be faithful to the one who is faithful to you. The Lord works out all things good for those who love him.

Rob Hurtgen is a husband, father, minister and writer. Read more from him at

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