Running the Race set before Us

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning January 21st, 2018.

Life is like a race. Everyday when our feet hit the ground, we are pressing toward a goal, a prize. There is something we want to achieve - obtain the prize. As Christians, in our race we need to run in such a way that others see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven. (Matthew 5:16 let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.) So let’s talk about that… the race set before us…

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NIV
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

We are called to run a good race, to obtain a prize that is ETERNAL.

Whatever God calls us to be or instructs us to do, there is most likely a story (sometimes many) that help us from His Word. In todays study, we find a strong runner.

>Witnessed the plagues, the parting of the sea, the glory of God.
>He was there… suffered under Pharaohs slave drivers.
>Was there in the suffering, may have been one crying out to God for deliverance
>Was there in Egypt as Moses and Aaron came from the wilderness with the message of deliverance
>Saw the mighty finger of God strike Egypt with 10 plagues.
>Was there in his home packed, ready to go with blood on the doorpost when the death angel came and struck dead the first born of Egypt.
>He was there when Israel made there way out of Egypt, pursued by Pharaoh’s great army.
>He probably saw the cloud that was between Israel and sure death from the massive army of Pharaoh.
>He was there and saw Moses raised his staff and the sea parted
>He experienced incredible and powerful salvation, (on dry ground) he crossed over to the other side of safety.
>He was there and saw the sea close up on the past. The oppressors were destroyed (Pharaoh’s army was drowned as the sea closed in over them.
>He was there during the worship of God as they camped that night. Oh the feeling of amazement and hope…
>He was there and heard the crumbling.
>He was there as hunger and thirst crippled the hearts and heard the groans against Moses and God.
>He ate the manna, the quail, drank water from the rock
>He was there and probably fought as Moses sat with arms raised, one held by Aaron and the other by Hur. While down below a fierce battle against the Amalekites raged. He saw experienced victory over the Amalekites as Joshua commanded the warriors.
>He was there and heard the thunder and saw the cloud that came down Mt. Sinai as Moses met with God and was given the law.
>He was there when Aaron made the golden calf and saw the sinful worship of the calf.

And then as they camped east of the land of Canaan this day came: (chosen to spy out the land of Canaan - God’s promised land)

Numbers 13:1-33 NIV
1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.” 3 So at the Lord’s command Moses sent them out from the Desert of Paran. All of them were leaders of the Israelites. 4 These are their names:from the tribe of Reuben, Shammua son of Zakkur; 5 from the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat son of Hori; 6 from the tribe of Judah, Caleb son of Jephunneh; 7 from the tribe of Issachar, Igal son of Joseph; 8 from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea son of Nun; 9 from the tribe of Benjamin, Palti son of Raphu; 10 from the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel son of Sodi; 11 from the tribe of Manasseh (a tribe of Joseph), Gaddi son of Susi; 12 from the tribe of Dan, Ammiel son of Gemalli; 13 from the tribe of Asher, Sethur son of Michael; 14 from the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi son of Vophsi; 15 from the tribe of Gad, Geuel son of Maki. 16 These are the names of the men Moses sent to explore the land. (Moses gave Hoshea son of Nun the name Joshua.) 17 When Moses sent them to explore Canaan, he said, “Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country. 18 See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. 19 What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they unwalled or fortified? 20 How is the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees in it or not? Do your best to bring back some of the fruit of the land.” (It was the season for the first ripe grapes.) 21 So they went up and explored the land from the Desert of Zin as far as Rehob, toward Lebo Hamath. 22 They went up through the Negev and came to Hebron, where Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, lived. (Hebron had been built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.) 23 When they reached the Valley of Eshkol, they cut off a branch bearing a single cluster of grapes. Two of them carried it on a pole between them, along with some pomegranates and figs. 24 That place was called the Valley of Eshkol because of the cluster of grapes the Israelites cut off there. 25 At the end of forty days they returned from exploring the land. 26 They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. 28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.” 30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” 31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”

Numbers 14:1-9 NIV
1 That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. 2 All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness! 3 Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” 4 And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.” 5 Then Moses and Aaron fell facedown in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there. 6 Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes 7 and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. 8 If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. 9 Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.”

Caleb was one of the 12 spies, he saw the land, saw the large men, saw the grapes… while others bowed their hearts in fear because of what they saw, Caleb’s faith powered his heart is the Lord His God and in His promises. When they came back: he heard the fear, the doubt, the lack of belief in the Lord’s powerHe spoke up when others did not.

Joshua didn’t even speak up first. (13:30) I believe Caleb had his eye on the prize. He believed God and believed in God’s promise of provision. He had experienced it already… and trusted God for it in the the future.

Think about this:
*What Caleb saw, received, experienced was the same as everyone else, yet he embraced it in such a way that his faith was unmovable and strong. *He was running the same race as the others yet he was running in such a way as to get the prize.
*Even when Moses wasn’t strong, Caleb was. Caleb spoke for God when others were silent.
*Joshua joined with Him moments later and tried to rally the people to trust God and take the land. But fear and lack of faith crippled them.
*Caleb endured God’s discipline. For 40 years he lived in the wilderness and watched his kinsmen die in the wilderness.
*He was there when Moses died.
*He was there the day that God appointed Joshua to lead the remnant in to the promised land.

Caleb ran a good race... and received His reward (after 45 years)

Joshua 14:6-15 NIV
6 Now the people of Judah approached Joshua at Gilgal, and Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, “You know what the Lord said to Moses the man of God at Kadesh Barnea about you and me. 7 I was forty years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh Barnea to explore the land. And I brought him back a report according to my convictions, 8 but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt in fear. I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly. 9 So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.’ 10 “Now then, just as the Lord promised, he has kept me alive for forty-five years since the time he said this to Moses, while Israel moved about in the wilderness. So here I am today, eighty-five years old! 11 I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. 12 Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.” 13 Then Joshua blessed Caleb son of Jephunneh and gave him Hebron as his inheritance. 14 So Hebron has belonged to Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite ever since, because he followed the Lord, the God of Israel, wholeheartedly. 15 (Hebron used to be called Kiriath Arba after Arba, who was the greatest man among the Anakites.)Then the land had rest from war.

There is much that we can draw from in this today and spend all day talking about it. But simply put, as Caleb we need to be:
>In the right race - on the path set before Him by God (God’s path)
>Courageous – not afraid of the giants.
>Obedient – followed God “wholeheartedly ”
>Faithful -he believed God’s promises
>Persistent -he never gave up!

>When we are oppressed and enslaved by sins grip -This is the time to cry out for forgiveness and repent.
>As we start moving along God’s path and encounter obstacles of fear, doubt, a lack of understanding - cry out for strength to move on… Pray for understanding, endurance and knowledge of God’s ways. He is faithful…
>Ask God to help you to persevere in learning His ways through His word.

What if God has given you the manna for today, should you cry out for more, pray for more? Should you ask Him for other provisions when what He has faithfully given is really all you need for today's journey. Oh that we could discern these things. (I think we can… as we get ourselves in tune, in rhythm, in sync with God’s power.) I have found that the greatest way to align myself with Him is through prayer and large sessions of reading/hearing His Word. It is during these times that the Holy Spirit leads, empowers, encourages and directs me.

I want to encourage you:
IT COULD BE THAT AS WE PRAY FOR A MOVE OF GOD, GOD IS SAYING “GO BE A MOVE OF GOD. I’VE GIVEN YOU EVERYTHING YOU NEED FOR THE RACE SET BEFORE YOU… I’ve given you power, be strong in the Me and now run a good race… whatever else you need along the way, I will supply."
God, help us remember who we are in you and what You’ve called us to be and do. Help us run this race in such a way that others see you and glorify you.

Matthew 5:16 NIV
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.