"If you’ve raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in thickets by the Jordan?" (Jeremiah 12:5). Our journey is intended to be more than simply "stumbling" through the days while the world "wears us out.” We are made to experience the thrill of "running with horses” and to navigate life amongst the "thickets." The RWH blog focuses on both the spiritual race of which Jeremiah speaks, and the physical act of running that I absolutely love. In short, it's where "the miles meet the Message" to provide insight, perspective & encouragement that might enable you & I to successfully run either of the races set before us. May our course be purposeful and may we be passionate in our pursuit of the abundant life He desires for us.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Good news / Bad news - The Run of Ahimaaz

"He said, "Come what may, I want to run." So Joab said, "Run!" Then Ahimaaz ran by way of the plain and outran the Cushite" (2 Samuel 18:23)

One of the scripture passages that I often reference as having personal meaning is that of Ahimaaz's desire to run.  I have found it to be very motivational when it comes to the passion and perseverance for which Ahimaaz demonstrates in his plea to stretch his legs and run like the wind.  But make no mistake, just because it includes the activity of running does not make it a favorite.  There has to be a deeper application that we can actually use in our daily walk, or else it's nothing more than a t-shirt slogan.

So why does Ahimaaz want to run?  Where does he wish to go?  What could be that important?  In the spirit of maintaining brief blog posts, let me provide a synopsis of events as I understand them.  (Of course, the very best synopsis is straight from 2 Samuel when you get the chance). 

King David's son, Absalom, had rebelled against his father to take away the throne.   He led an army into battle against his father.  David's army, led by Joab, was too strong and destroyed Absalom in chapter 18.  In that battle, Absalom was captured and brutally killed, as would have been the expectation.  Joab then assigned a Cushite foot soldier / servant to run back to the palace and inform the King of both the victory and his son's death. As Joab was selecting the Cushite to make this run, Ahimaaz, a young priest, began to insist that he be the runner.  The Cushite took off and we find ourselves at verse 23.  Ahimaaz continues to plead until Joab gives in and simply says, and I paraphrase slightly, "fine, then RUN!"

Into the verses that follow we start to understand what Ahimaaz is attempting to accomplish.  We learn throughout scripture that Ahimaaz had a deep respect and loyalty for King David. He knew that despite the fact Absalom would have killed his father, his father would have had mercy on his son.  Absalom deserved death for his actions, but David's heart would be completely crushed at the news.  It is understood that the Cushite would have been very direct, cold and formal in his communication with David.  Ahimaaz, on the other hand, wanted to be deliberate in how the messages were conveyed.  He wanted to encourage David to be thankful for God's protection and victory.  Once he was of this spirit, the news of Absalom would be more easily received.  It would still be difficult, but perhaps there would be less anger or pain, and more understanding.

Possible applications include:
  1. Life is always going to give us a little bad news and a little good news.  If we attempt to keep a thankful heart toward the blessings, the troubles will be just a little bit easier to work through.
  2. We are shown yet another example of how consideration for others should lead us to take drastic measures; to outrun the Cushite when there is really no request to do so or apparent need. 
  3. When others feel led to take drastic actions, or live out certain purposes, or serve others in a particular ministry, consider Joab's decision to let him go.  With discernment, sure.  In wisdom, absolutely. Considered prayerfully, every time. But be careful in holding others back from their passion to follow a calling in His name.
  4. Running is Biblical! Start picking out a few Cushites in your next race, and pass them one at a time. 

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