Running as an activity is what many of us do not like to do, but yet it’s very beneficial for our health. Many of us only run when we need to catch up with something like bus, train or a flight, etc; and afterwards, we would start panting. Whereas, if running had been a continuous activity for us; we would have been used to it. Panting would not have arisen after a little run.
Running as a regular activity has certain benefits, as long as it is not overdone: it burns calories; tones the body; serves as an avenue for socializing; improve emotional well being (stress and depression); build strong bones; strengthen muscles; improve cardiovascular fitness; etc.
In the spiritual sense, God wants His children to keep running and not to stop. Once we commence the Christian race of faith and hope in Jesus Christ, continuous running is very necessary. Intermittent running is dangerous; withdrawing from the race altogether is disastrous.
Luke 9:61-62 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC): 61 Another also said, I will follow You, Lord, and become Your disciple and side with Your party; but let me first say good-bye to those at my home. 62 Jesus said to him, No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back [to the things behind] is fit for the kingdom of God.
Philippians 3:13 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC): 13 I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,
As the children of Israel escaped from Egypt, God took them through the path of the Red Sea. They were glad that their captivity was over; only to look behind them and saw Pharaoh and his hosts advancing towards them on chariots and horses. They were terrified as they thought they had been shut in.
What the children of Israel did not know was that their location that seemed very disadvantaged at the time was a deliberate move of God (Ex. 14: 1-9). God specifically told Moses which route to take; and surprisingly, where to wait for Pharaoh. God could have divided the Red Sea way before Pharaoh arrived; but the delay tactics was intentional by God.
It was for God to glorify His name all over the earth.
As the Israelites were crying and blaming Moses; and Moses trying to calm their fears; the next four sentences God spoke to Moses were very interesting and thought-provoking:
Why are you crying to me? – Question/Reprimand.
Tell the children of Israel to move forward towards the sea. – Order
Lift your rod towards the sea and divide it, so they may go through on dry ground. – Order and Reminder.
I will harden Pharaoh’s heart so that they will pursue you, and the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord (Ex. 14: 15-18). – Information/End of story.
For every child of God listening to me right now, I bring God’s word to you. Why are crying in my hears God says, only move forward!
Someone listening to me, it looks like you have been shut in, and no way out. I have been asked to tell you that the only way for you to escape is still forward. Stretch your faith and move. The ‘sea’ in question will be parted for you by God in Jesus name.
To another person, God ask me to assure you that those things still chasing you will not reach the other side with you.
The opposition/attack/chase on you is becoming tougher, and even deadlier because God wants to get the highest glory and honour I the episode. The tougher the test; the sweeter the testimony.
Father, do not allow whatever might be chasing me behind to deter me from moving forward.
When God visited Sodom and Gomorrah in His wrath; Lot and his family were asked to be rescued from the destruction. The angels that came for the assignment led them out of their house and out of the city. As they wasted time thinking of who and what they could take along with them in vain (Gen. 19: 15-26).
As soon as the angels got them to the outskirts of the city; the instructions they gave Lot’s family were clear and strong: “Escape for your life; look not behind you, neither stay in the plains; escape to the mountain; lest you are consumed.”
Lot was scared of wild animals I believe on mountain tops, so he was permitted by the angels to escape to the Plain of Zoar, before the fire would descend. As they were running to Zoar, Lot’s wife disobeyed one of the instructions; she looked back from behind her husband; and she became a pillar of salt. Lot and her two daughters however kept running till they got to Zoar.
Practically, it is very difficult to combine running with looking backwards. It will lead to danger. The person will have a serious accident eventually. Sadly, this was what happened to Lot’s wife.
I bring the word of God to someone listening to me now. Stop looking backward. Keep running. Escape for your life. Don’t stop till you reach the mountain top. Don’t settle for the plains. May God take you there in Jesus name.
Lot settled for the plains, though it was permitted by the angels. It was not the perfect will of God for his family. If they had gone to the mountain top as instructed by the angels of God; they would have seen and known that God did not wipe off all mankind with Sodom and Gomorrah. His daughters would have found husbands for themselves, instead of having children for their father, as their vision was impaired in the plains.
Father, do not let me settle for your permissive will. Let me operate in Your perfect will for my life.
In I Sam. 20: 18-42, as Saul intensified to kill David, Jonathan however was watching out for David’s life. David was to be killed at the New Moon festival (a three day event). Jonathan had already arranged with David not to attend and that he would tender an apology on his behalf if the king asked why.
They agreed on a sign that David would understand if he could come back or if he had to run for his life (I Sam. 20: 18-22). And so it happened that Saul was very angry with Jonathan that he threw his javelin at him. Jonathan then went to where David was hiding and gave him the sign to keep running and not stop (I Sam. 20: 35-42). If David had still lingered around; it would have been dangerous for him.
The words of God to someone listening to me now is “Make speed, Haste, Stay not” Keep moving.
Father, whenever I’m in a challenging circumstance; raise unusual helpers for me.
Father, expose and destroy the secret plans of my enemies.
In I Sam. 30: 1-25, the bible tells us that while David and his 600 men went to look for what their families would eat, Amalekite raiders came to their camp in Ziklag and took all their families and belongings away; then they set their camp on fire.
When David and his men came back, they wept until they had no more power to weep. After David inquired of the Lord if he should pursue the enemies; God gave him the instruction to pursue and the assurance that he would recover all.
David and the 600 men pursued after the enemy; but when they got to the Brook of Besor, 200 men were so tired that they could not go over to continue the chase. So the remaining 400 men went after the enemy. God delivered the Amalekites in the hands of the 400 men. They recovered everything! If they had also gone back by the brook, what a loss they all would have suffered.
It later happened that certain men asked that David should not share any spoil with the 200 men that went back, except they be given their wives and children. because they stopped running.
Prayer: Father, help me to recover all that has been stolen from me.
Father, grant me the supernatural strength to pursue until I have recovered all.
In 2 Kings 13: 14-19, there is an interesting story of a king of Israel called Jehoash. He heard that Elisha was sick and so he went to greet Elisha. When he got there, he began to weep over Elisha and was saying, “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof”.
This was how Elisha received the double portion of the anointing upon Elijah (2 Kings 2: 12).
So I believe what this king was asking for was supernatural capabilities upon the life of Elisha, before Elisha would take it to the grave. He tried, but his trying was not enough.
Jehoash was asked to shoot arrows to the east, with the laying of hands of Elisha. This meant supernatural deliverance from Syria. That he would smite Syria in Aphek, till they were consumed.
Elisha then asked the king to strike the arrows on the ground. Jehoash struck the ground with the arrows three times and stopped. Elisha was angry with him that he stopped at the count of three; and was told that if he had struck the ground five or six times, he would have overran Syria; but because he struck three times; he would only win the Syrians thrice in battle.
My Father, my Father, the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof.
Father, do not let me stop at the edge of my breakthrough.
Father, help me not to be a quitter. Make me a finisher as Yourself.
Father, help me not to settle for less. Don’t let me be satisfied for been average. Help me to strive to be better and better.
Why should I keep running?
To please the Lord who has called us to this noble race (2 Tim. 2:4-5).
Because our salvation is near (Rom. 13: 11-12)
Ultimate salvation belongs to those who endured to the end (Mt. 24: 13).
So we can receive a prize (I Cor. 9: 24).
The sermon was delivered on April 5, 2020.