I recently had the pleasure of hearing Reverend Russell McCollough preach a message at Impact Church titled “The Lion, The Snow and The Pit.” It made me laugh quite a bit and, honestly, I was in need of a good laugh. He preached from 2 Samuel 23:20, “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.” After reading this verse, he opened his sermon with this admonition: “If you have to kill a lion, don’t do it in a pit and, definitely, don’t do it on a snowy day.” Now, call me corny, but I thought that was pretty funny. He shared during this message that he is a veteran of the Korean War, so I took this message to heart even more, realizing that this man knows a little something about a battlefield. The Reverend went on to say that when conflict comes, it is always unequal, unavoidable and untimely.
There were two things he said that really struck me. First of all, he said that when God told Gideon to take the 300 men who lapped water by bringing their hands and to send home those who had lapped with their tongues (click here if you haven’t the faintest idea what I’m talking about), God was looking for men who were alert on the battle field. A war is no place for people who bury their faces in a river to take a drink when your enemy could bear down on you at any second. You need to be aware of what’s going on around you, as is a person who brings water to their mouth with their hands and keeps their eyes watchful as they drink. He then proceeded to say, “You can’t sit and sip your latte in the battle!” Again, I laughed. However, the truth in this is as unavoidable as the battle itself.
Yeshua said in warning His disciples of the coming day of the Lord, “Stay awake!” (Mark 13:35-37). At Gethsemane, He said, “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 14:38) Again, in the parable of the ten virgins, they all fell asleep, but only those who had oil in their lamps were able to meet the bridegroom (Matthew 25:1-13). Peter says, “Be sober-minded and watchful,” (1 Peter 5:8-9). Most importantly, as we are so close to the Glorious Day of Yeshua’s return, in Revelations 3:1-3, Yeshua says to the Church of Sardis, “Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die.” Finally, in Revelations 16:15, as the evil armies are being assembled against God, He says, “Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on.” God does not repeat Himself needlessly. Anything He sees fit to say multiple times is of vital importance.
The willing spirit and weak flesh, the virgins with oil in their lamps, they all imply a need for the only One that can keep us awake and alert – The Holy Spirit, the Living Breath of God. Yeshua said that He died so that the Holy Spirit may come to us and He knew that we would be in desperate need of Him (John 16:4-11). Read the book of Acts, the Holy Spirit is busy. If you have a real, day-to-day fellowship with the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 13:14), you will not fall asleep. You might want to because the enemy will bring the battle to your front door every day, but you will be constantly aware of His Presence going before you into battle. He sent the Holy Spirit so that we may not be orphans (John 14:15-18). A Father does not let His children get eaten by the lion. Even still, we allow ourselves to be eaten when we are not vigilantly seeking the Holy Spirit’s direction and allowing His power to work in our lives. The moment you take your eyes off of Yeshua to look at the adversary, he wins. Be alert, be awake, and be watchful. The Holy Spirit is faithful to guide you through the battle. Fellowship with Him is what we were made for and it is the only way to live the life that Yeshua meant for us to have on this earth.
The second thing that Reverend McCollough said, and this was the most encouraging sentence of the entire sermon for me. “When you find yourself in the snowy pit with the lion, there is only one way out: Victory!”
I tell you what, if I hadn’t been working on teaching my 20 month old to sit quietly in my lap during service, I would have shouted one heck of a “Hallelujah!” That’s what I’m talking about! He didn’t say, fight the lion or get out of the pit. He said victory!
Victory is what we are in for if we stick with God. I go again to 1 Peter 5:9-11 – the present anthem of my soul, “Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, Who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To Him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” I totally understand why Peter suddenly broke out into that last sentence. When I read those verses, my spirit yells something like, “Amen times infinity!!!!”
There may be no lattes on the battlefield, but I’ll tell you what there is: There is victory. Even unto death, the worst that this world can do to us, there is eternal victory for those whose hearts belong to Messiah Yeshua. TO HIM BE THE GLORY, HONOR AND POWER FOREVER AND EVER, AMEN!