Text: Isaiah 31:1-9, Isaiah 32:1-20, Psalm 147:10-11, Joel 2:28-32
I’m training for a half marathon and nobody knows about it. Until now. Well, “training” is a very scary and overly athletic-sounding term for what I’ve actually been doing. The simple truth is, I signed up for a race a while back, and I’m trying my best to not quit.
If you check my running history (read: “couch-sitting”), you’ll see that the odds of my completing the race aren’t exactly favorable. Then you’ll understand why you’re the first to hear about this half-marathon business: because I’m afraid to fail. I don’t want my family and friends to be cheering and waiting for me at a finish line I’ll never cross.
Some mornings, I wake up ready to tie my shoes and pound the pavement. Others, I can barely make the stretch to hit the snooze button. For every one of my consistencies, there are five inconsistencies. When I give attention to one thing, others suffer.
I’m not sure that I’m a real runner.
I will try my best to keep my promises.
I cannot make any guarantees.
Isaiah prophesies about running. He tells Israel they will run from their country. He tells us we will run from our God.
Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help
and who depend on horses!
They trust in the abundance of chariots
and in the large number of horsemen.
They do not look to the Holy One of Israel
and they do not seek the Lord’s help.
- Isaiah 31:1
We think we can run on our own fuel. But when we try to do just that, we end up running away from the only One who can help us.
The promises we make to ourselves and others—to be more, to do better, to show up—can only ever be based on future hope. But God’s promises—to love us, to fight for our good, to never leave—are hinged on His current character and constant devotion. We can only hope to be consistent; He is constant.
Like the Israelites, if we look to our current disasters and future betrayals, we may think God, too, is running from His people. But if we look first to His promises, we see His loving path is already there, laid out before us, ready and waiting.
Isaiah also says this about our Lord: “But He also is wise and brings disaster. He does not go back on what He says” (Isaiah 31:2). Because love isn’t always giving us what we want; it’s being Who we need. While I can’t guarantee you’ll see me at the finish line in a few months, I know He’ll still be running to me—to all of us—just as He promised.
Praise the Lord, our only help, for He is faithful.