Summary: Over the next seven weeks we’ll look at II Samuel 23:20-23 from seven different angles. This week I want to look at it through the eyes of an odds maker.

Chase the Lion: Defying Odds

November 7, 2006

Mark Batterson

This evotional begins a new series titled: Chase the Lion. Check out the series trailer @ Or watch the webcast @

Over the next seven weeks, this series will explore seven lion chasing skills: defying odd, facing fears, overcoming adversity, embracing uncertainty, taking risks, seizing opportunities, and looking foolish.

How big is God?

Last week I took Josiah, my four year-old, out to Cox Farm in Northern Virginia and they have a huge King Kong hanging on a tower right by the entrance. And when Josiah saw it he said, “There’s Kingdom Come.”

I have no idea why, but Josiah thinks that King Kong is Kingdom Come. So we actually asked Josiah if he knew the Lord’s Prayer and he recited part of it: Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come thy will be done.

And I’m thinking to myself: what is going through his head? Does he think he’s praying for King Kong to come? And why in the world would you pray that?

If I know anything as a parent I know this: a four year-old mind is on the great unsolved mysteries of life. You never know what they’re thinking or what they’re going to say.

Josiah is going through a fascinating phase in his neurological development right now. He keeps asking us how big God is.

We were driving up the George Washington Parkway this week and Josiah said, “Dad, God is bigger than the cars right?” I said, “Yup.” He said, “Dad, God is bigger than the trees right?” I said, “Yup.” But my all-time favorite is the question he asked Lora: “Mom, God is bigger than Target right?” Of course, Lora said, “Josiah, do you mean Target or SuperTarget?”

I find this absolutely fascinating. Josiah is literally trying to figure out how big God is. My four year-old is on a quantum quest to measure the transcendence of God. Must be a pastor’s kid!

Now here’s the thing. That question—how big is God—may be the most important question you ever ask! Your answer to that question will determine your spiritual future.

I think A.W. Tozer said it best: “A low view of God is the cause of a hundred lesser evils.” But a person with a “high view” of God “is relieved of ten thousand temporal problems.”

A small god is the cause of a hundred lesser evils. A big God is the solution to ten thousand temporal problems!

It is also the difference between scaredy-cats and lion chasers! If your god is smaller than a 500 pound lion you’ll run away! But if you’re God is bigger than a 500 pound lion you might just muster the moral courage to chase lions!

Impossible Odds

Over the next seven weeks we’ll look at II Samuel 23:20-23 from seven different angles. This week I want to look at it through the eyes of an odds maker.

There was also Benaiah son of Jehoiada, a valiant warrior from Kabzeel. He did many heroic deeds, which included killing two of Moab’s mightiest warriors. Another time he chased a lion down into a pit. Then, despite the snow and slippery ground, he caught the lion and killed it. Another time, armed only with a club, he killed a great Egyptian warrior who was armed with a spear. Benaiah wrenched the spear from the Egyptian’s hand and killed him with it. These are some of the deeds that made Benaiah almost as famous as the Three. He was more honored than the other members of the Thirty, though he was not one of the Three. And David made him commander of his bodyguard.

II Samuel 23:20-23

Let me state the obvious: Benaiah was not the odds on favorite in any of these encounters. He was doubled-teamed by two mighty Moabites. He had to be a two-to-one underdog. If I’m placing bets on an average size Israelite with a club or a giant Egyptian with a spear I’m going to put my money on the sharp pointy thing! And I don’t even know how you begin to calculate the odds of man vs. lion.

Not only do fully grown lions weigh up to 500 pounds and run 35 mph, their vision is five times better than a human with 20/20 vision. This lion had a huge advantage in a dimly lit pit. And I guarantee that a sure-footed lion with cat-like reflexes certainly gains the upper paw in snowy, slippery conditions.

Now zoom out.

Doesn’t it seem like Benaiah is choosing his battles poorly! He’s outmanned and out-sized! And this guy goes on to become Commander-in-Chief of Israel’s army. And if you’re Commander-in-Chief you better know how to choose your battles wisely!

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