In both I Chronicles 11 and II Samuel 23 are nearly identical passages describing the mighty men of David. The descriptions of their courage in battle are absolutely astounding. And although Jashobeam, Eleazar, and Shammah were the top three of the mighties, we’re going to take a look here at the next man below them, Benaiah.
Benaiah had a long career in Israel’s military history, beginning as a chief in David’s guard and eventually becoming the commander of Israel’s army during the reign of Solomon. His exploits as written in I Chr. 11:22-23 explain to us why he was so honored. “he slew two lion-like men of Moab; also he went down and slew a lion in a pit in a snowy day. And he slew an Egyptian, a man of great stature, five cubits high: and in the Egyptian’s hand was a spear like a weaver’s beam; and he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand, and slew him with his own spear.” No doubt about it, Benaiah was a pretty bold fellow, but what does he have to do with us, since we haven’t had to face any lions or giants in the course of our lives recently? Where it relates to us is that as Christians we daily face parallel enemies to those Benaiah dispatched, only our enemies are the world, the flesh, and the devil.
We can compare our battle with the flesh to the two lion-like men of Moab. If you know your OT history, Moab was the son of Lot and his oldest daughter, and the tribe of Moab grew into a fierce, wicked, idolatrous people who relentlessly persecuted the Israelites. Likewise, our own flesh is not easy to subdue; it fights tenaciously like a lion, and just when we think we have it tamed it rears up again. It sometimes seems as if we are fighting more than one opponent. Fighting against the world or the devil is a different kind of battle than the one we wage against our own fleshly desires.
The lion in the pit makes a good analogy to Satan. I Peter warns us that Satan is a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. It doesn’t say so, but I believe Benaiah didn’t just come upon the lion; I think he was probably tracking it, and when he found it, jumped right in. II Samuel says he slew it in the midst of the pit. He wasn’t backed up to a wall; Benaiah was the aggressor. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7) Are you a bold enough believer to meet Satan head on?
Lastly is the Egyptian, and in Scripture, Egypt is always a representation of the world. To the Christian, the world is also like a giant, seemingly too large to overcome. May I ask, who has the most influence in your community; the world’s media or your local churches? Benaiah had only a staff he carried into battle but believers have the Sword of the Spirit and prayer. The world is big but so is our God.
Different methods for different times. Are you as bold a Christian as Benaiah was a mighty man? We should be even bolder in this age of Jesus Christ and the gift of His Holy Spirit. Have you done battle against the world, the flesh, and he devil? You can fight them one at a time if you’re able, but however you face them, fight them like a mighty man of David.