Saturday, May 4, 2013

Being a Benaiah, Part 1

Men that are real men – that’s what we desperately need! Just because a man can slam dunk a basketball, outrun everyone else on the field, and bench press more weight than a building crane it does NOT make him a real man, just a physically fit one.  I’ve seen athletes with these characteristics but they are selfish, conceited, emotional babies that cry anytime someone else looks at them sideways. If they don't get their way, well, honor is NOT the word that describes them.  What we need are more men like Benaiah. Read this short passage. 

Benaiah was the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man from Kabzeel, who had done many deeds. He had killed two lion-like heroes of Moab. He also had gone down and killed a lion in the midst of a pit on a snowy day. And he killed an Egyptian, a spectacular man (the Chronicles account states the Egyptian was 5 cubits in height and his spear was the size of a weaver’s beam). The Egyptian had a spear in his hand; so he went down to him with a staff, wrested the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand, and killed him with his own spear. These things Benaiah the son of Jehoiada did, and won a name among the three mighty men. He was more honorable than the thirty, but he did not attain to the first three. And David appointed him over his guard.  (2 Samuel 23:20-23 and 1 Chronicles 11:22-23)
Benaiah was “more honorable than the thirty.” Now, friends, that’s saying something! Those thirty were the “best of the best of the best, yes, sir!” and to say that this man was more honorable is staggering. The character quality of honor has become a rarity in our culture, making this study timely. Let’s tear open the wrappings around this fascinating man and observe the components of an honorable hero. Honor is doing the right thing at all times regardless of the cost or unexpected circumstances. Though our world has lowered the bar regarding honor (as well as the definition of what is “right”) this was also the case in Benaiah’s day. Remember, they had just emerged from the time of the Judges, an era where “every man did what was right in his own eyes.” Sound familiar? See, just as before, we need a generation of men that desire to be “more honorable!”

The characteristics that gave Benaiah the mantle of honor starts with the subtle explanation of the three battles that are listed twice in the Scriptures (noted above). He fought an Egyptian, a couple of Moabites, and a lion. Interestingly, Egypt is always a picture of “the world,” the cultural norms and pinnacle of human achievements. The Moabites started out through vile immorality and are constantly guilty of sensual, lascivious actions that were a perverse and unfortunately strong influence on Israel; this is a picture of “the flesh.” (Note: Rahab was the ONLY bright spot in Moab’s history, and an encouragement for us all.) The third battle Benaiah fought was with a lion, an obvious picture that the Apostle Peter described of our most dreadful enemy, “the devil.” So there you have the story in a nutshell – Benaiah overcame the “world,” the “flesh,” and the “devil,” key ingredients of a man of honor. We all face these three enemies on a daily basis, some more often than others, but the man of honor learns how to defeat them all. It’s no surprise that all of our armed forces use the word, “honor,” to describe the caliber of warrior they desire to inspire.
Take notice this week of the number of encounters you face with these three enemies. Mentally record the battles you win and the ones you lose. (Don't pretend you can't do that - we're men, we always keep score!) Go for the gold, my fellow heroic protege', and make the score an annihilation of the adversary, a complete victory, and give no ground over to these 'life-eaters.' This is a choice, a conscious decision. Make it, and make it again, and again. Be a Benaiah.

1 comment:

  1. Alan,

    another good post!

    I think the other side of being a real man is facing who we are and the reality that at times we will fail; intentionally, unintentionally, stupidly, and sometimes sinfully. Accepting who we are allows us to fully depend on Jesus. We have no righteousness except for the righteousness of Jesus. We can do no good thing except for the power of the Holy Spirit in us.

    What if Adam, instead of blame shifting, had fallen on his needs and cried out, "Forgive me Father!"

    Peter's response to Jesus' prophetic statement of the denials to come was full of pride. Peter wanted to win the battle, He wanted to be Jesus' man, but he was trying to do it in his own strength.

    We need to move forward in Christ and we need to do it solely in the power of the Holy Spirit.

    Recognizing our own weakness and propensity for failure and sin also prepares us mentally to accept the failures of those around us. A critical element of fighting the good fight is to use the powerful weapon of forgiveness. Jesus thwarted the schemes of the devil by allowing Himself to be the sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins... while we were yet dead in our trespasses!

    Jesus' demonstrated this in His life also when He was bitterly betrayed by His close associate, Peter. Jesus did not cut Peter off relationally, He did not condemn Peter to eternal hell, but instead said, "...I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." Lk 22:32

    Is there any sin greater than to deny Christ and yet Christ had prayed for Peter with a vision for him to return to ministry. Powerful!

    May we diminish so that Christ may reign supreme in our lives and shine forth brightly to the whole world.

    blessings, Matt