Summary: Part 2 of a series on Blackaby’s Experiencing God: when God pursues us, we can either keep on running, hoping that He cannot catch up, or we can hide, hoping He will not find us. We need to let His love catch us.
A few weeks ago I was driving down Fifth Street, on my way to a hospital visit. Just this side of the Soldiers’ home grounds, I became aware that some driver was right on my back bumper, weaving back and forth, his engine roaring, his horn blowing. Somebody was in a very big hurry. Well, as we rounded the little curve where you cross Rock Creek Church Road, this driver suddenly shot around me, hit the curb, and drove right up on the sidewalk at breakneck speed. In fact, he was in such a hurry that he managed to put a six-foot wide car through a five-foot space between a telephone pole and a stone wall. Hubcaps and mirrors and door handles went flying. But he didn’t stop. Wow! What could possess somebody to do this?!
Then I heard the siren. Not far behind both of us was a police officer, giving chase. Blasting on his horn, roaring his engine, and also driving at breakneck speed, but at least it was on the street surface. He had plenty of room, since yours truly was having his anxiety attack over on the left side of the street. So that was it, so that was the reason a man puts his car through such punishment, leaving spare parts along the way! So that was it. The long arm of the law was in full pursuit, that driver had only one thing in mind: to escape. Reckless, foolish, useless. But he just wanted to run.
I never saw either car again, probably because when I got moving, I don’t think I got above 20 miles per hour! But of this I am reasonably sure: that the pursuit was successful. Given the condition of the car being chased, and knowing that the police officer had surely called for backup, that guy got caught. That pursuit, however long it took, I am sure, was finally successful.
There is another and equally intense pursuit going on. You and I are driving at breakneck speed through life, aware that there is someone more powerful, chasing us. Pursuing us. And like the man I saw, though running doesn’t make any sense, we do it anyway. Like the driver I saw, we are self-destructing as we run, but we do it just the same. We know who’s coming after us. We know who is pursuing us. God is right behind us. God will not let us go. But we keep on running anyway.
The prophet Jeremiah saw that. He knew that the people of Judah had chosen to go their own way, and that they were paying a terrible price for their wandering. They were off there in exile, snatched out of their homes and families, taken to a strange land as captives. They thought, because they were up in Babylon and not at home in Jerusalem, that God couldn’t reach them up there. They thought that they were beyond the grasp of God. But Jeremiah knew otherwise. Jeremiah knew that God was able and willing to pursue them and to bring them back home. Jeremiah hears God saying:
I am going to save you from far away, and your offspring from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease, and no one shall make him afraid. For I am with you, says the LORD, to save you;
“I am going to save you from far away, says the Lord.” I am pursuing you, no matter where you are.
Now if somebody is chasing you, there are two things you can do. Either you can keep on running, hoping to put distance between yourself and your pursuer. Or you can go into hiding, and hope that he cannot find you.
And there are two basic responses to God’s pursuit. When God comes looking for us, either we can keep on running, hoping to put more and more distance between ourselves and God. Or we can try to hide from Him, we can put on camouflage and hope He won’t notice.
Just know this, whichever method you choose: God is pursuing a love relationship with us that is real and personal. And He is not going to give up.
Many people take the first choice: to run from God, hoping to put more and more distance between themselves and God. Some run deeper and deeper into the woods. They run from God by pouring themselves into a dissolute, faithless life, indulging themselves, ignoring God’s commands, and flying in the face of all that God has made us for.
This is the way most of the world runs from God. Most run from God by doing whatever they feel like doing. They break God’s command’s, they ignore God’s will. Murder and theft and adultery, lying and cheating. So what else is new? This is not exactly news. This has been around a very long time. And there is a very precise term by which it is called. There is a word we use for this kind of behavior. The word is sin. Sin is anything that separates us from God. Sin is that thing, deep down in the human heart, that rises up, rebels against God, runs away from Him. Sin means separation from God. Sin is violating God’s law and running from Him. I say that that’s old news.