In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day

Series:  Pit People!

SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON FOR AUGUST 5-11, 2020

Aim:   After studying this lesson and series, students will understand that we may have our ups and downs; we may fall, get thrown or slip into a pit.  But God. . .

INTRODUCTION:

Encountering a lion (problem) is typically a bad day.  Depending on the problem it can be a really bad day!  Finding yourself in a pit with a will certainly qualify for a terrible day!  And then. . .it is a snowy day!!  WOW! That is a terrible, horrible, no good, very, very bad day!  This kind of day will take you out!!  Why? Because the odds are against you!  But the good news is (if there is any good news), God loves impossible odds!  Okay, okay!  So you go with the favorites.  But, The odd thing about the odds is God loves IMPOSSIBLE odds. He is omnipotent and when the odds are against us. . .He shows His omnipotence!

Here is one of the most obscure, overlooked passages in the bible. But in spite of its obscurity, it is one of the most inspirational stories in the Bible. Verse 22 lets us know that “Beniaiah went down in a pit with a lion on a snowy day.”  I don’t know about you. . .but, my money would be on the lion!   Pit. . .lion. . .snowy day!  No way Jose! But check it out. . .  

The setting is the early reign of King David. His first order of business is to assemble a cabinet who will assist him in the task of running the nation.

David is entertaining resumes. . .

  • worked security for an armored brinks chariot.
  • majored in espionage at the University of Jerusalem

He reads all the resumes but they do not impress him. Until he picks up Benaniah’s resume.

He did three things:

  • Killed two Moabite warriors
  • Defeated a giant with a spear
  • Went into a pit a fought a lion on a snowy day.

1 Chronicles 11:22-25 NIV

22 Benaiah son of Jehoiada was a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, who performed great exploits. He struck down two of Moab’s best men. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion.

23 And he struck down an Egyptian who was seven and a half feet tall. Although the Egyptian had a spear like a weaver’s rod in his hand, Benaiah went against him with a club. He snatched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with his own spear.

24 Such were the exploits of Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he too was as famous as the three mighty men.

25 He was held in greater honor than any of the Thirty, but he was not included among the Three. And David put him in charge of his bodyguard.

I. The FOE

  1. Problems
  2. Problems can be defined as a matter or situation regarded as
  3. Unwelcomed
  4. Uninvited
  5. And brings uncertainty

                          They are harmful and need to be dealt  with.

  • Many of our problems don’t come shooting blanks!
  • They don’t fire bulletins but sadness
  • They don’t take lives but smiles
  • They don’t inflict flesh wounds but faith wounds
  • Problems often are blessings in disguise

Psalm 119:67 HCSB – Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Your word.

2 Corinthians 4:17 NIV – For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

Hebrews 12:11 NIV – No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

4)    Problems are allowed by God to discipline us.

Deuteronomy 8:5 NIV – Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.

5)    True believers do not faint under the pressure of problems

2 Corinthians 4:16 NIV – Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

  • Problems are like lions –
  • Stronger than us
    • Lions are 500 pounds
    • Lions can run 35 miles per hour
    • Lions eyesight is five times better
    • Lion claws can rip you open
  • We fight stuffed animals.
  • Stuffed animal: lost your job
  • Lion: lost your child to violence
  • Stuffed animal: house needs repair and don’t have money
  • Lion: living on the streets or in a shelter
  • Stuffed animal: can’t wear mask. . .too uncomfortable
  • Lion: dealing with radiation or chemotherapy
  • Stuffed animal: can’t go on vacation due to covid-19
  • Lion: can’t go to work or can’t see your love one because in nursing home/hospital
  • Problems are like the Moab warriors
  • They can come in pairs and we feel. . .
  • overwhelmed
  • overmatched
  • overpowered

Job 1:13-19 HCSB

13 One day when Job’s sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 14 a messenger came to Job and reported: “While the oxen were plowing and the donkeys grazing nearby, 15 the Sabeans swooped down and took them away. They struck down the servants with the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you!” 16 He was still speaking when another messenger came and reported: “A lightning storm struck from heaven. It burned up the sheep and the servants and devoured them, and I alone have escaped to tell you!” 17 That messenger was still speaking when yet another came and reported: “The Chaldeans formed three bands, made a raid on the camels, and took them away. They struck down the servants with the sword, and I alone have escaped to tell you!” 18 He was still speaking when another messenger came and reported: “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house. 19 Suddenly a powerful wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on the young people so that they died, and I alone have escaped to tell you!”

  • Problems are like Giants
  • they . . . 
  • taller than us
  • taunt us
  • terrify us
  • are you. . .
  • giant focus
  • God focus

Point to Ponder:  When we look at our problems they look larger, but when we look at God, they look smaller. What, or who, are you looking at? 

II. The Focus

  1. He didn’t focus on his disadvantages
  2. He didn’t make excuses
  3. He didn’t try to avoid situations where the odds were against him.
    • We know that God is bigger and more powerful than any problem we face.
  4. Benaniah, which means “God Helps” thrived in the toughest circumstances because he knew that impossible odds set the stage for amazing miracles.
  5. The odds were against:
  • David in his battle with Goliath
  • Gideon and his 300
  • Joshua at Jericho
  • Jehoshaphat against the Moabites, Ammonites, and Meunites
  • Jesus at calvary

1 Samuel 17:32-33 NIV – 32 David said to Saul, “Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.” 33 Saul replied, “You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.”

Judges 7:2-7 NIV – 2 The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’ 3 Now announce to the army, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained. 4 But the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.” 5 So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the Lord told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues as a dog laps from those who kneel down to drink.” 6 Three hundred of them drank from cupped hands, lapping like dogs. All the rest got down on their knees to drink. 7 The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.”

Joshua 6:1 NIV – Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in.

Chronicles 20:1-2 NIV1 After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunitescame to wage war against Jehoshaphat. 2 Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Dead Sea. It is already in Hazezon Tamar” (that is, En Gedi).

Matthew 27:42-44 NIV42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

III. THE FAITH

Hebrews 11:1-2 NIV – 1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. 2 This is what the ancients were commended for.

  1. Faith is a declaration that we are willing  to ride or die with God!
  2. Faith means that no matter what people think, say or do, we are sticking with God!
  3. It means that we may never be able to explain things but we will TRUST Him!
  4. It is saying I believe God is able!
  5. It is trusting  God in spite of circumstances that suggest that He has abandoned us!

Hebrews 11:6 NIV – And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Without faith it is impossible to please God!

By faith Joshua fought the battle of Jericho,

By faith Sarah conceived even though she was too old.

By faith Abraham looked for a city whose builder and maker was God,

By faith Moses faced Pharaoh with no weapon – just a rod.

By faith Moses and the children of Israel crossed a dry sea,

By faith the child David defeated a giant much bigger than he.

By faith Samson defeated the Philistines – though unarmed,

By faith the Hebrew boys came out of the fiery furnace unharmed.

By faith Paul and Silas was saved from the Roman jail,

By faith Elijah defeated 450 prophets and their god Baal.

By faith Ezekiel prophesied to a valley of dry bones,

By faith  Isaiah saw Him coming – treading the winepress alone.

By faith Job served Him when everything was lost,

By faith a thief was saved while drying on the cross.

By faith Daniel was saved from the lions while in the den,

By faith a woman was healed just by touching His hem.

By faith Noah build the ark and was saved from the flood,

By faith we are saved through the redemption of His blood.

By faith there is nothing in that we can’t succeed,

All it takes is a little faith no bigger than a mustard seed.

Faith will see you through, yes faith will see you through,

Just believe in Him is all He ask of you.

For without faith you cannot please the Lord,

Just keep on believing and gain your just reward.

                                         Geneva Nelson, 1975

IV. The Fight

  1. Fixed Fight
  2. Predetermined and not able to change
  3. The outcome is already decided
  4. The winner just needs to show up!
  5. We are already declared winners!  We just need to show up and rise our hands.

Genesis 3:15 NCV – I will make you and the woman enemies to each other. Your descendants and her descendants will be enemies. One of her descendants will crush your head, and you will bite his heel.”

John 10:17-18 KJV – 17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

John 16:33 KJV – These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

John 14:27 KJV – Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

John 11:25-26 NKJV – 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

  • The Finish
  • More than conquerors

We are more than conquerors

Through Him that loved us so,

The Christ that dwells within us

Is the Greatest Power we know.

He will fight beside us

Though the enemy is great;

Who can stand against us?

He’s the Captain of our fate.

Then we will conquer, never fear,

So let the battle rage;

He has promised to be near,

Until the end of the age.

We are more than conquerors

Through Him that loved us so,

The Christ that dwells within us

Is the Greatest Power we know.

Ralph Carmichael

Romans 8:31-37 KJV – 31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. 34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

2 Timothy 4:6-8 KJV – 6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

When we are in a pit – remember we are never alone!

Never Alone!

  1. I’ve seen the lightning flashing,
    And heard the thunder roll,
    I’ve felt sin’s breakers dashing,
    Trying to conquer my soul;
    I’ve heard the voice of my Savior,
    Telling me still to fight on,
    He promised never to leave me,
    Never to leave me alone.
    1. Refrain:
      No, never alone,
      No, never alone;
      He promised never to leave me,
      Never to leave me alone.
  2. The world’s fierce winds are blowing,
    Temptation’s sharp and keen,
    I have a peace in knowing
    My Savior stands between—
    He stands to shield me from danger,
    When earthly friends are gone,
    He promised never to leave me,
    Never to leave me alone.
  3. When in affliction’s valley
    I’m treading the road of care,
    My Savior helps me to carry
    My cross when heavy to bear,
    Though all around me is darkness,
    Earthly joys all flown;
    My Savior whispers His promise,
    “I never will leave thee alone.”
  4. He died for me on the mountain,
    For me they pierced His side,
    For me He opened the fountain,
    The crimson, cleansing tide;
    For me He’s waiting in glory,
    Seated upon His throne,
    He promised never to leave me,
    Never to leave me alone.

Lyrics Ludie D. Pickett; Music by B. B. McKinney – 1892

PRAYER PRINCIPLE:                     Thank God for the problems that arise to show us the power of God that can be manifest in our life.

SOCIAL JUSTICE PRINCIPLE:       Encourage others by sharing the pits you have been able to overcome.

EVANGELISM PRINCIPLE:            Let others know of the power that God exhibits for those he loves; remind them He loves us all and how it was shown by dying on the cross.

STEWARDSHIP PRINCIPLE:            Ourgiving benefits others.

DISCIPLESHIP PRINCIPLE:            Although it may not seem like it, remember that God will never leave you in your pit experience and is ready to aid, comfort and cheer.

NEXT WEEK’S TITLE: Peace in the Midst of a Storm

SERIES:          Stormy Weather

NEXT WEEK’S READING ASSIGNMENT:  Psalm 4:8; Psalm 29:11; John 14:27; John 16:33; Hebrews 11:1, 6; Matthew 17:20; Luke 17:5; 2 Corinthians 5:7; Matthew 8:23-24; Genesis 6:17; Jonah 1:12; Matthew 8:25-26; Mark 4:35-41

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