Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Running Man
1 Kings 19

Have you ever felt like running away (and who hasn't)?

You got so fed up and tired of “it all”, that running away seemed very attractive. Teenagers think about running away when they feel overwhelmed by the rules their parents have for them. Stay-at-home moms get tired of screaming children and dream of running away from it all. Husbands and wives at times consider running away because of their tiresome and ongoing marriage problems. Employees think about quitting when they become frazzled with added workload without added pay. And yes, you and I think about running away from all this Christianity stuff because there are times it seems too hard and way too much work.

In this Bible story the prophet Elijah had reached his breaking point, the serving-God-stuff was just too difficult. He had recently called down rain from heaven on Mount Carmel and killed all the false-prophets of Baal. Even as he is celebrating the great victory that God had accomplished through him, word comes that Queen Jezebel is going to have him killed. Elijah is overwhelmed by the thought that Jezebel is planning to “off”  him and he decides to run. So let’s think about some concepts from Elijah's story that we can use in our lives when we are tempted to become, "the running man".

When I Am Running Away From My Problem, I Am Also Running Away From God

Vs 3- Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.

A. Notice that Elijah is trying to run away from Jezebel. He is attempting to get some distance between the evil queen and himself. But he is also running away from God!

B. It's inconceivable that he doesn’t ask God what he should do. He doesn’t even talk to God about such a major decision as running away. Here is Elijah, who has had a wonderful relationship with God and now suddenly, with a major decision ahead of him he’s not talking to God. He puts on his jogging shoes and takes off.

C. Let’s remember that the warm-up to running begins in the heart before the running gets to the feet (this is extremely important to remember!).

D. We do the same thing as Elijah. We don’t ask God what we should do or we don’t wait for His answer when we do ask. We just put our jogging shoes on and start running. And the reason that we don’t ask or wait for His answer is that we already have a pretty good idea what He’d say. God would tell us we need to stay and work through it.

E. In another Bible story related in the book of Daniel I imagine that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego gave running a thought when told of the fiery furnace plan. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Daniel considered running when confronted with the lion’s den. Humans have the “fight or flight” response built in but,

When You Run, Things Change All Right
(And often NOT for the better!)

Vs 3 he left his servant there.

A. Remember high school graduation time and you all promised each other that you would always stay in touch. Then you moved on to your college or job and your friends moved on to their college or job or military service, and everything changed.

B. When you decide to run and then do it, everything changes. Elijah had a faithful servant who had been with him through thick and thin. If Jezebel had caught up with Elijah, I'm sure that she’d have killed Elijah and his servant. Elijah takes his servant with him as far as Beersheba and then tells him he needs to go the rest of the way alone. So there's a change.

C. In vs. 15 after God has brought healing to Elijah, God tells him to go back the way he came. But what is interesting is that he does not pick up the servant that he left in Beersheba. The servant may have gotten on with his life but the Bible does not say that Elijah picked him up again. You run and nothing is ever the same.

D. You hear people’s regrets all the time. “I wish I had never left”. “It was a mistake to leave”. “I wish I could do it over again”. But the truth is that running changes everything.

To Be Continued.

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