Summary: This sermon was based upon a message by Rev. William Wilmore, Jr. from here at SermonCentral.com by a different title. Please read his message too. I’ve expanded it some, but the message is much the same. I believe God is trying to get our attention an
On the Run and Fleeing from God
By Pastor Jim May
If you have ever watched some of wild police videos on TV you know that there are really crazy people in our world. How people think that they can run from the police while they are being chased by 20 police cars, a helicopter with heat sensing radar, several motorcycles and even a satellite in the sky, and get away, is beyond me.
Southern California is earning a well-deserved reputation as the "freeway-chase capitol" of the world. At least once or twice a week in California, the evening news reports on another nearly brain dead criminal who believes he can outrun the police and all their technology.
Recently one chase was especially interesting. The suspect took off and tried to outrun the cops but didn’t get too far before he ran out of gas. Now there’s a smart guy. Next time you decide to run, check the gas gauge first dummy. he jumped from his vehicle and took off on foot. Then, he wasn’t watching where he was going and jumped over a guard rail right off the edge of a very steep 400 ft high embankment . The bottom end was a straight vertical 75 foot drop to the rocks at the canyon floor.
He broke his pelvis, both shoulder were dislocated, and he suffered multiple head and body lacerations, scrapes, bruises and cracked bones. He was arrested in the hospital after being treated for his injuries. Sadly though, the police and local authorities are gearing up, expecting him to file a major lawsuit saying that they were the cause of his injuries and financial losses. (And as crazy as the courts in California are, He stands a good chance of winning his case and becoming a very rich criminal with no criminal record.)
This morning I want you to know that are also stories of people in the Bible who tried to run. They were running from the Lord, but they were never able to escape from his all seeing eye.
Genesis 3:8, "And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden."
Adam and Eve were on the run. Fig leaves, bushes and the entire Garden of Eden weren’t big enough for them to hide from God. He called them out already knowing what they had done, but he had to hear their confession before he could deal with their guilt.
Jonah 1:3, "But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD."
That old prophet Jonah, the fisher of men that became the bait for the fish, was on the run too. He didn’t want to carry the message to the enemy of his people. He had some issues of sin in his own heart to deal with first before God could use him to preach repentance to anyone else. Jonah is a picture of just how far down in life some people must go before they finally realize that God is still the only answer and serving him is their only choice for real life.
There are also instances throughout the Old Testament especially where a whole nation would go on the run from God. Israel was on that constant spiritual roller coaster ride. Their means of approaching God, and their ways of running from the Lord are given to us in God’s Word for us to learn from, so that we won’t make the same mistakes. Sadly though, we often refuse to learn that easily, so we are destined to be on the run from God ourselves if we aren’t careful.
Turn with me to the Book of Amos this morning because I believe that the Holy Spirit has appointed me to bring you a message from the Word of the Lord this morning.
At the time of Amos, Israel was a nation that was facing impending doom because they had continued to run from the Lord and chase after idols. There judicial system was corrupt and their religious leaders were behaving in unethically. As a result, God began to deal with them through a number of judgments that he brought against the nation.
Let me read what God had to say to Israel in Amos 4:6-12, "And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. (Economic hard times) And also I have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered. So two or three cities wandered unto one city, to drink water; but they were not satisfied: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. (As we said last week, floods in one place, droughts in another; fighting over water rights, and the ruining of summer crops are all happeing right now) I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmerworm devoured them: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt: your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away your horses; and I have made the stink of your camps to come up unto your nostrils: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel."