Summary: Life should be us stepping up to challenges

1 Samuel 17:34-35

And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: 35 And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him.

Shepherds were a lowly and disgusting group to some

Maybe we should begin to think of every setback and test as a gift from God. What you do with that opportunity is your gift to God. Opportunity doesn’t knock. Opportunity roars! Here is the great irony about opportunities. They usually come disguised as insurmountable problems. They look like five-hundred-pound lions that want to eat you for lunch. Or they look like six hundred Philistines charging at you. To the average person, the circumstances presented to david and Benaiah were problems to run away from, not opportunities to be seized. But Benaiah or david didn’t see a five-hundred-pound problem.

Psalm 5:3 reveals the way David started every day: “In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”

One of our greatest spiritual shortcomings is low expectations. We don’t expect much from God because we aren’t asking for much.

Prayer has a way of God-sizing our expectations. David can’t wait to see what God is going to do next because he is living in prayer mode. The more you pray, the higher your expectations.

Col 4:2 Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; The word watch is a throwback to the Old Testament watchmen whose job it was to sit on the city wall, scan the horizon, and keep watch. They were the first ones to see an attacking army or traveling traders. People who live in prayer mode are watchmen. They see further than others see. They see things before others see them. And they see things other

people don’t see. People who live in prayer mode see opportunities that other people don’t even notice. People who don’t live in prayer mode are opportunity blind. There are only two ways to live your life: survival mode or prayer mode. Survival mode is simply reacting to the circumstances around you. It is a pinball existence. And to be perfectly honest, it’s predictable, monotonous, and boring. Prayer mode is the exact opposite. Your spiritual antenna is up and your radar is on.

the Aramaic word for prayer, slotha, means “to set a trap.” Prayer helps us catch the opportunities God throws our way.

Proseuchomai 90x nt

If Benaiah had been in survival mode, he would have reacted to the situation by running away from the lion. But living in prayer mode made him proactive. He knew that God was ordering his footsteps even when they crossed paths with paw prints. He knew that the lion was lunch. Living in prayer mode is the difference between seeing coincidences and providences. Prayer has a way of helping us recognize that what we might dismiss as human accidents are really divine appointments.

In my estimation, Jeremiah 46:17 is one of the saddest verses in Scripture: “Pharaoh king of Egypt is only a loud noise; he has missed his opportunity” (NIV). The pharaoh ruled over one of the most advanced ancient civilizations on earth. Think of his influence. Think of his wealth. The resources of an entire kingdom were at his disposal. But he missed his moment. The opportunity came and went without Pharaoh seeing it or seizing it. What a waste.

The English word opportunity comes from the Latin phrase ob portu. In the days before modern harbors, ships had to wait till flood tide to make it into port. The Latin phrase ob portu referred to “that moment in time when the tide would turn.” The captain and crew would wait for that window of opportunity to open, and they knew that if they missed it, they would have to wait for another tide to come in.

Shakespeare borrowed the concept in one of his famous verses from Julius Ceasar: There is a tide in the affairs of men

Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.

Omitted, all the voyage of their life Is bound in shallows and in miseries.

On such a full sea we are now afloat;

And we must take the current when it serves, Or lose our ventures

We try to be too reasonable about what we believe. What I believe is not reasonable at all. In fact, it’s hilariously impossible.

Noah looked foolish building an ark in the desert. Sarah looked foolish buying maternity clothes at ninety. The Israelites looked foolish marching around Jericho blowing trumpets. David looked foolish attacking Goliath with a slingshot. Benaiah looked foolish chasing a lion. The wise men looked foolish following yonder star. Peter looked foolish stepping out of the boat in the middle of the lake. And Jesus looked foolish hanging naked on the cross.

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