Under the Big Top Devotional

Under the Big Top

Julia Bettencourt

Posted September 26, 2009

Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,

Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.  Hebrews 11:33, 34

Have you ever been to the circus?  I've only ever been to one and it was a small town one without many attractions.  I've never been to a larger Barnum and Bailey type of circus.

Recently I had bought a bag of circus peanuts.  You know, those marshmallow things that are shaped like peanuts.  They got my mind to wandering about flying trapeze artists and lion tamers.

Lions, and tigers, and bears.  Oh my!  I was thinking about those, usually what they call, "amazing" acts and it reminded me of all of those amazing people in the Bible.

Wow!  Strong men, giants, and lion's tamed among those wonderful stories.  Talk about death defying acts.  Don't you love all those Bible stories that are there at a moments notice and we can peek in on them anytime we want.

We don't have to wait for the circus to come to town.  Just open our bibles and see amazing things. 

The Strong Man. 

Of course the circus has to have a strong man and who else but Samson comes to mind.  God gave him incredible strength.  His story is in Judges 12 -16.  As we peek into his life, we see he ripped a lion apart and broke apart the ropes and things he was bound with.

We mostly hear just about the story of Samson and Delilah where she had his hair cut off which takes his strength away, but there's more to Samson's life.  If you remember how he died, you know how Samson leaned upon the foundational pillars and caused mass destruction.

The Philistines had put out his eyes and threw him in prison and brought him out of prison into where they were all gathered together to make a great sacrifice to their false god, Dagon.  They basically brought Samson out to make fun of him and to praise their false god for delivering them from their enemy.

While Samson was leaning against the pillars, he prayed one of those desperate prayers that sometimes we all get in the position of praying.  This man who had the peek of strength was oh so human.

And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.  Judges 16:28

Samson's life is one of those that I can't say I entirely understand, but when I read through those passages in Judges, it makes me realize how God can take a life, no matter what direction or decisions they may have taken, and God can work that out for His good.

Samson is one of those mentioned in the faith chapter of Hebrews 11. 

The Lion Tamer.

Next we have our lions tamed which is in the story of Daniel.  This story is found in Daniel chapter 6.  Daniel had a routine of praying and there were some men who didn't like him and got the king to make a decree that no one could petition any God or man other than the king for thirty days.

The law was made in such a way that it could not be changed in any way even by the king.  Of course these men behind the new law knew Daniel would keep on praying as he did it by his open window three times a day.

The punishment for breaking the decree was that the offending person would be thrown into the lions den so that's where Daniel ended up.  Even the king who liked and respected Daniel couldn't do anything about it but God was in control of the situation.

After Daniel had been in the lion's den overnight, the king went to see what happened.

And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?

Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever.

My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.

Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den.  So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.  Daniel 6:20-23

I just love how God chose to shut the mouths of those lions and tame them and keep Daniel from harm.

The Giant.

We have to have a giant at our circus and who better than Goliath.  I'm sure you are familiar with the story of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel chapter 17.  It's one of those great stories in the Bible with all the descriptions and details to make us quiver in our seats.

I love how each little detail is described down to every inch of that "giant".  Verses 4-7 of 1 Samuel 17 describes his formidable height, what he wore and the weight of what he wore, and his weapons and the weight of those as well.  I can really imagine how huge he must have been.

Then on the other hand we have the small description of David, a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance., verse 42.  God uses a small boy to conquer the giant but the end result is the amazing part.

It's that everyone "shall know" that "the battle is the LORD's".  I just love that thought.

And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD's, and he will give you into our hands. 1 Samuel 17:47

The Flying Trapeze.

When we read through the bible, we see so many amazing things.  What would we ever do without all those leaps of faith mentioned in God's Word?

I think they are there not only to entertain us but for us to be excited and revel in the fact that we can accomplish great things by those leaps of faith too.

Just with the faith like the grain of a mustard seed, we can fly through the air with the greatest of ease.  We can leap distances never before seen and not even need a net.

And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.  Matthew 17:20

If you haven't read through Hebrews 11 in awhile about those heroes of faith, I encourage you do do so.

These people...

...through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,

Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.  Hebrews 11:33, 34

It goes on and tells more but I won't quote it all for you.


I think when we become adults, we forget that excitement of the circus.  We forget the excitement of the Christian life.

I don't want to be just a spectator sitting on the seats in the sideline when it comes to the Christian life.  I want to go off and "join the circus"—be a part of those amazing feats of faith and see things happen because I'm doing what God tells me to do.

I think it's fine to grow in Christ and want to learn doctrine and all those things for Christian living we find in the New Testament, but I also think the whole Bible is there for us to learn, study, and even enjoy.

Perhaps we need to go back and read through those Bible stories that we normally think as children's stories.  Allow those wonderful Bible characters to get us excited to serve God.

We don't have to just be spectators in the Christian life.  We have the same great God that Samson, David, and all those wonderful heroes of faith had.

God is still in control.  Great things are still accomplished by faith, love for God, and dedication to the Lord.

So, are you ready to join the circus and get excited to live the Christian life?

Copyright ©2009 Julia Bettencourt
Scripture References are from the King James Version.

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