Devotional: What Was that Idiot, Benaiah, Thinking?

Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, performed great exploits. He struck down Moab’s two mightiest warriors. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. 1 Chronicles 11:22

It’s a cold, snowy mid morning in Colorado – 4 degrees out and 8 inches so far – and I have a men’s devotional to write. So my mind has naturally drifted to that idiot in the Old Testament, Benaiah, who apparently was as bored as I am with being cooped up in the house on a snowy day. But Benaiah did something about it. Benaiah decided he’d just go jump into a pit that happened to have a lion in it and kill it.

What was he thinking? I’m sure his dad, Jehoiada, had a few choice words for him when he got back.

Jehoiada: “Are you crazy, Son?” What were you doing killing a lion on a day like today?”

Benaiah: “The lion fell into a pit. So I killed it.”

Jehoiada: “But why did you have to jump into the pit? Couldn’t you have just speared it from the top, or at least waited until the snow melted?”

Benaiah: “Dad, what’s the thrill in that?”

Jehoiada: “What do you mean, What’s the thrill in that??? What’s the thrill for your mom and I when our son gets killed!!!

Benaiah: “Dad, stop! I’m a warrior. I risk my life all the time. Killing a lion in a pit on a snowy day is just another day at the office for me. And besides, my friends were watching.”

All young men need a cause worth dying for. And when they aren’t dying for a cause, they’ll invent ways to cheat death just to prove to their friends how tough they are. They’ll do wheelies on motorcycles while going 110 on the freeway. They’ll flip snowmobiles backwards in midair. They’ll join gangs. Anything.

Shane Brotherton was one of those youths in our church who loved to cheat death. His mother, Yoshiko, was a member of my first church in Hitchcock, Texas. Yoshiko was Japanese. She lived through WWII and then met her American husband during the occupation following the war. They married and moved to Texas where Shane was born.

Shane was a daredevil, constantly pushing the limits. First it was skateboards. Then it was motorcycles. Then skydiving. The last time I saw Shane, he lived to skydive.

My wife and I lost track of Shane for years until the first anniversary of 9/11. We were watching a 60 Minutes special about the tragedy when it came to President George W. Bush’s flight on Air Force One. The Air Force was randomly flying the President around the country for safety while all commercial flights in America were being grounded. Accompanying President Bush were two F-16 fighter jets. The TV special showed pictures of the planes out of President Bush’s window.

Then they interviewed one of the pilots flying the F-16s and it was Shane Brotherton! We couldn’t get over the irony that the son of a woman who lived through WWII and the American occupation in Japan was now guarding our President. We were so proud.

Yes, all young men need a cause worth dying for. And what greater cause could there possibly be than the cause of Christ?

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12

Discussion Questions

  1. What crazy things did you do to show off when you were young?
  2. Would you do them now?
  3. What has been the most difficult fight of your life?
  4. In what ways have you been fighting “the good fight of the faith”?