When I was in seminary and living on campus there, two seminary friends and I got on a jogging kick. Three days each week, we got up early in the morning and jogged around the campus together. I was already near my ideal weight, so for me it was really about getting into shape. Soon, I could run a 5K nonstop and in decent time. Eventually, we lagged and then fell out of the habit. Now, I need to exercise to get into shape and to lose some pounds.
One day, it was raining, so one of my jogging friends and I went to the seminary’s athletic center to run on the treadmill. We decided that we’d try to run our same time as usual but on the treadmill. On the non-rainy days as we jogged on campus, we saw the large variety of flowers planted along the sidewalks, roads, and entryways. We jogged past large oaks and dozens of cars. We waved at other joggers and walkers or stammered out-of-breath hellos or good mornings to passersby. However, in the athletic center on the treadmill, there was none of that. It was pretty much all the same for the duration of the run. Something else about that run: I ran for three miles without going anywhere.
That’s how it is to run from God. It’s like you’re running on a treadmill. You don’t get anywhere. Consider Jonah, the man who eventually was fish food and a bad attitude on steroids. God told him to go to Nineveh and preach to the people there about God’s impending judgment. Instead, he chose to run from God by boarding a ship headed in the opposite direction. Now what would make you run from the Creator of the universe who is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-present? The seminary word for that is stupid, and each of us has enough stupid ingrained within us to do just that—run from God. So running from God really is like running on a treadmill—you really get nowhere except tired out.
So here are some questions for you:
- Are you running from God?
- Why are you running?
- What do you hope to achieve by running from God?
- Do you really think that you can escape Him?
- Would you consider following Him instead of running?
This week you’ll read…
Ruth 1-4: “But Ruth replied: ‘Don’t plead with me to abandon you or to return and not follow you. For wherever you go, I will go, and wherever you live, I will live; your people will be my people, and your God will be my God’” (Ruth 1:16 in The Christian Standard Bible).
1 Samuel 22-31: Praise God for friendships like Jonathan and David. When David was stressed and down, Jonathan showed up. “One day near Horesh, David received the news that Saul was on the way to Ziph to search for him and kill him. Jonathan went to find David and encouraged him to stay strong in his faith in God. ‘Don’t be afraid,’ Jonathan reassured him. ‘My father will never find you! You are going to be the king of Israel, and I will be next to you, as my father, Saul, is well aware.’ So the two of them renewed their solemn pact before the Lord. Then Jonathan returned home, while David stayed at Horesh” (1 Samuel 23 in The New Living Translation).
Psalms 66-75: Of course, David would have been worried with Saul nearby looking to kill him. Many of the Psalms which David wrote seem to fit this scenario, and Saul did chase David all over the country it seems. “Save me, God, for the water has risen to my neck. I have sunk in deep mud, and there is no footing; I have come into deep water, and a flood sweeps over me. I am weary from my crying; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God. Those who hate me without cause are more numerous than the hairs of my head; my deceitful enemies, who would destroy me, are powerful.” (Psalm 69 in The Christian Standard Bible).
Jonah 1-4: “I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger, abounding in faithful love, and one who relents from sending disaster” (Jonah 4 in The Christian Standard Bible).
Colossians 1-4: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For everything was created by Him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him” (Colossians 1 in The Christian Standard Bible).
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MSG are daily readings linked to The Message Bible on BibleGateway.com.
CSB are daily readings linked to The Christian Standard Bible on BibleGateway.com.
NLT are daily readings linked to The New Living Translation on BibleGateway.com.