Warm Up: Proverbs 29:18, “Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law.”
Stretching: Read Numbers 13.
Run: I have a friend who just took up running. He was not heavy but just slightly overweight for his size. He decided to run for health reasons initially. So, he picked up a training program from a running magazine and started to train for a 10k. He had his share of obstacles, distractions, and irritants. At one point, his training was disrupted by a groin pull. But he was able to work through the training program and make it to his goal of running in that race. Afterwards, he was exhilarated by the sense of accomplishment; not to mention that he lost some weight and felt better about himself in the process. He was hooked! When he told me he was looking for another race to run, I wasn’t surprised. But his rationale for finding another race was very insightful. He said he needed another race to help focus his training. It is certainly true that we can accomplish more with a sense of purpose.
In today’s story, the Israelites are just two and half years removed from the experience of the plagues and the Red Sea miracle. The leaders of each tribe are sent into the Promised Land as scouts and they bring back a terrifying report of giants in the land. Panic spread in the camp until Caleb’s scathing reminder that God was bigger than any giant in Canaan. But the damage had already been done and that generation, the one that saw the miraculous signs and wonders in Egypt, would be denied access to God’s promises because of their unbelief. Though harsh, it is a startling reminder that those without vision perish. The New Living Translation Bible says, “When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful”. Because they didn’t obey, Israel was running away (wild, unfocused) from their destiny. Lack of vision is like that. We run wild from the very thing God has created us to be. Ephesians 2:10 says, “You are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do.” There are many other passages that declare the good plans God has for those who obey him and delight in doing his will. “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11. What we need to understand is that God has a plan for us. A ‘purpose-driven life’ was God’s idea first!
Cool Down: “Lord, I know you have a plan for me. You have given me gifts, talents, experiences, temperament, and many other tools to accomplish this purpose. Help me to run the race set before me and not waste my time running a race that I’m not equipped to run. Speak to me about your plans and your vision for my life that I will not be like a runner beating the air or running aimlessly. Thank you for your intentional design and your wonderful, wonderful plan for me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”