Through the Word in 2020 – May 20 / Running like Ahimaaz

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One of the most misunderstood concepts among Christians, is the difference between faith, and presumption. So in Ps. 19 David prays that he might be prevented from “presumptuous sins.” What does that look like and how do we get there from today’s readings?
You’re listening to Through the Word in 2020. And I’m your host – Reid Ferguson.
2 Samuel 18:1-19:15Mark 11:26-33 and 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 are our selections for today. But it is the running style of a man named Ahimaaz in 2 Samuel that catches my eye – and a simple statement with an awful lot of theological importance when it comes to the practical reality of living the Christian life.
Ahimaaz is a relatively obscure character. His name only appears a few times. The son of Zadok, the high priest, he is portrayed as loyal to David during two attempted coups. In today’s passage he is noted as one of a pool of men who accompanied armies into battle. These men apparently had a talent for running great distances – and before the advent of communications technology, were used to carry messages back and forth from the front lines. Today – it was with the news that the attempted overthrow of David by his son Absalom had failed, and the battle – which tragically took 20,000 lives – was over.
As David awaited news from the front lines, his watchman sees first one runner then another on their way back. Then he makes this seemingly innocuous observation: “I think the running of the first is like the running of Ahimaaz the son of Zadok.” Just what was so distinctive about his running style we aren’t told. But it was something which others could readily see and identify.
Whether we know it or not, we are all known by how we “run” too. Or don’t run.
In 1 Corinthians 9 the apostle Paul asks rhetorically – “Do you not know that in a race all runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” And here, is where these 2 passages play off of one another. Where a question of real importance is raised: Are you and I “running” in the race toward Heaven, in any recognizable way? Or do we presume on the grace of God – so that there is no deliberateness in the way we live – marking us out from from those who do not believe at all?
Can anyone look at us and say: “They run like they are striving for the prize?” If not, we may have crossed over from faith – which is believing God’s Word and ordering our lives accordingly – to presumption; which incorrectly relies on the the promises of God while failing to take the admonitions of Scripture seriously.
So it is Hebrews 12:1 reminds us:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
The Christian life beloved is not a spectator sport. If we are not running so as to obtain what God has laid before us as important to strive after – it’s no wonder no one takes notice.
May the Lord be pleased to goad our hearts again into action if we’ve grown lazy in Christ, haphazard, or maybe even dropped out of the race altogether. Take a page from the obscure Ahimaaz. Seek to run toward Heaven in such a way – that even the most obscure among us, can be recognized for that.
And if we’ve sensed some loss in this – then let us cry with David in Psalm 119:32 – “I will run in the way of your commandments when you enlarge my heart.”
Heavenly Father – enlarge our hearts once more.
Let that challenge your soul today Christian.
God bless. And God willing, we’ll be back tomorrow.

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