In The Pits

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.”

1 Chronicles 11:22 NKJV¹

The book In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day² by Mark Batterson was inspired by one of the most obscure yet courageous acts recorded in Scripture. Benaiah, a blessed and audacious warrior, stepped down into the arena that transformed history ever since. The pits were a more brutal, lawless and smaller version of the arena where men could fight or be put to their deaths. It was a place of few rules and no honor. Gladiators thrived in these disgusting places. They’re portrayed in films as archetypal legends that face death on a daily basis. They are fascinating yet incomprehensible. Our world is a pit overwhelmed by beasts with minimal audacious gladiators.

Here is our world in nutshell: The view that some human beings are of less value than others has resulted in environmental degradation, increased appetites and addictions, alienation between generations, tensions in diverse communities and a greater divide between values. Adolf Hitler and the Nazis seduced a nation and bullied a continent in an attempt to exterminate a race. Two hundred years after the slave trade was abolished, slavery is repackaged as forms of human trafficking.³ Migrant workers and refugees are treated with contempt due to the fear of sharing wealth with others. Our media has fueled anger, violence, hate crimes and a deterioration of humankind. We are in the arena. 

Like the gladiators, the early church was a force to reckon with. When society threatened, they responded by taking new territory. Just like us, they were marked and sealed by God’s Spirit and set apart to bring hope to their world amidst persecution. 

How are you working the pits?

¹ The Bible. New King James Version. 

² Batterson, Mark. In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day. Multnomah, 2006. 

³ Butler, Bill. “A Quest to Free the World of Slavery.” Vision, 25 Oct 2007, Accessed 18 Feb 2020. 

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