Running With Horses
I. Proverbs 14:10
A. Each of us carry burdens in this life – problems which are difficult to bear.
1. They cause us anxiety and disturb our sleep if we dwell on them.
2. We try to put them out of our mind, but suddenly a seemingly unrelated event will remind us of that which we would rather forget.
B. It could be sickness, financial problems, or a difficult spouse, child, or co-worker.
1. It could be loneliness, or a feeling of being inadequate and worthless.
2. It may be a weakness which we are disgusted with ourselves for having.
C. There are times we just want to give up – to throw in the towel and walk away from the game of life.
II. Jeremiah was a prophet of God in a very difficult time in Judah’s history.
A. The northern kingdom of Israel had become so totally corrupt that God wiped them out by sending in the Assyrian army.
B. Now, two hundred years later, the southern kingdom of Judah was walking down the same path.
1. Sin was rampant. Few people were inclined to listen to the voice of God. - Jer. 11:6-8
2. God declared that Judah would be punished for her sins, and Jeremiah was sent to tell the people to willingly take their punishment. - Jer 11:9-11
C. Obviously, Jeremiah was not a popular prophet.
1. He endured attempts on his life - Jer. 11:18-19
2. And Jeremiah had difficulties understanding why he, the righteous man, endured the scoffing and attempts on his life while the wicked lived lives of ease - Jer 12:1-4
III. God’s answer begins in verse 5.
A. In a sense, God is saying if you are having trouble now, how are you going to survive when things get rough?
1. Jeremiah has been running with men through a peaceful, safe country.
2. He has stumbled from the difficulties. He is letting the effort get to him.
3. In the future Jeremiah must run with horses through the thickets of Jordan.
a. This area is known for its lions - Jer. 49:19
b. Running faster, and with more obstacles and dangers
B. If a person becomes discouraged in a peaceful land, how are they going to deal with the thickets of life?
C. We ourselves live in a peaceful land.
1. Even the poorest of us are wealthy by the world’s standards.
2. We face no oppositions to worshiping God. Few would sincerely ridicule us for our beliefs.
3. And still so many Christians become discouraged. Worshiping God is not worth the effort. Telling others about salvation has become a chore that is easily put off.
D. There is no guarantee that our peace will continue. Then what will you do?
1. There are countries today where it is illegal for Christians to gather to worship. Would that stop you?
2. There are countries where you could go to prison for converting someone to Christianity. Would you teach?
3. Too many are filled with false bravado – “They cannot stop me.”
4. Yet, I know it is false, because without that opposition, Satan has already stopped you in a peaceful land.
a. When is the last time you spoke to someone about the need to be saved from their sins? I know you know plenty of people wallowing deep in sin.
b. When is the last time you decided to skip services because you didn’t really want to go? I am certain there are many who did not come for Bible class and never gave a thought to what they were missing.
IV. God has promised adversity
A. Trials of life, difficult days are guaranteed for each of us. It is what life in this world is about.
1. We need those trials to develop our spirits -James 1:2-4
a. We talk about praying for wisdom - James 1:5
b. How do you think wisdom will come? By relaxing on a couch watching reruns?
c. You want wisdom? Then look forward to learning how to solve problems – not others problems, but your problems.
2. An athlete doesn’t become strong by evening strolls through the neighborhood.
3. If you are going to be a strong Christian, then you need to learn to hold on to your faith no matter what Satan throws at you - I Peter 1:6-9
B. Yet, none will be sent which God knows you cannot handle, if you really desired to serve Him - I Cor. 10:13
1. He will always be there - Heb. 13:5-6
C. Sometimes it seems it would be easier to hold on if there was some great deed which we must conquer.
1. Even easy times can be a trial. A trial not from others but with ourselves.
2. I remember a short story about a man weary of this world, who learned he could go to another place – a glorious place. The cost of the ticket was odd, he had to sign over everything to the travel agency, even all his pocket change, but he was sure it was worth it and gladly did so. He was sent to a remote farm where he and others were ushered into an old barn - and there they waited. Hour after hour went by. People began to express doubt. The man thought he was such a fool, he gave away everything. While those who robbed him were making a getaway, he was just sitting in a barn doing nothing. In disgust, he left the barn, but before he walks very far, through the still open door he saw the far end of the barn dissolve and a glimpse of that glorious world, which he missed because he did not have the patience.
3. Brethren, heaven awaits each of us, if we can just remain steadfast
a. Hold on to the end - Heb 3:6, 14
b. Consider the faithfulness of God - Heb 10:23-25
4. Don’t let this world wear you down - Gal 6:9-10
V. We can overcome - I John 5:4-5
A. As Isaiah said - Isaiah 40:28-31
B. The race is before you.
1. If you are not yet a Christian, will you not run with us to the goal God has set before us?
2. If you are a Christian and tired and discouraged at the length of the race, get a second wind. The race at the moment is through a flat and peaceful land, learn to run, lean on your brethren if you need to. Thickets may be ahead, but we can make it.