1. The excitement over a family event, whether a wedding or reunion, caused people to run for various reasons. Weddings were always an exciting time for families, and when a wedding was in the making, that excitement could manifest itself with an increase in people running (Gen 24:17, 20, 28, 29, 29:12-13). The excitement that surrounded a family reunion could also cause people to leave behind their normal gait and break into a full-fledged run (Gen 33:4; Luke 15:20).

2. Those carrying important news had trouble limiting their gait to a walk. This could be news of a pregnancy long thought to be impossible, the capture of the ark of the covenant, the death of a son, or the resurrection of Jesus (Judg 13:10; 1 Sam 4:12; 2 Sam 18:19, 21-24, 26: 2 Kings 4:22, 26; Matt 28:8; John 20:2).

3. Situation that demanded immediate action were marked by people running. Aaron ran into the midst of the Israelite assembly swinging his censor wildly to stop the spread of a plague that was steaming through the Israelite camp (Num 16:47). Israelite soldiers ran to spring an ambush on the city of Ai (Josh 8:19). And David ran directly at Goliath, shortening the time before the Philistine soldiers found themselves running from the valley in retreat (1 Sam 17:48, 51).

4. In other situations an individual’s running highlighted that person’s commitment to duty. Samuel ran to Eli, David ran to check on the well-being of his brothers, and Elisha left behind his farm work to run after Elijah (1 Sam 3:5; 17:17,22; 1 KIngs 19:20).

5.Finally, we read text after text that speak of people running to Jesus for help and assistance. Sometimes an entire crowd of people came running to him and at other times it was just an individual. Whether it was a person who was possessed by a demon or someone who had failed to find meaning in life despite his wealth (Mark 5:6; 9:15; 10:17), they ran trusting that Jesus could help. And this did not stop with his death because Peter and John ran to the tomb to see if the report of his resurrection was true (Luke 24:12; John 20:4).

The notion of running is also using in figures of speech that describe the spiritual life of a person. To run toward something suggests that you feel passionate about it. The wise poet of Proverbs warned his son about allowing sinners to set the pace for his life, “for their feet rush [run] into evil, they are swift to shed blood” (Prov 1:16; see also Isa 59:7; NIV “rush”).

By contrast, the image of running cap capture the passion for living a godly life; “I run in the path of your commands, for you have broadened my understanding” (Ps 119:32). This kind of spiritual running has some striking advantages over real-world running: “When you run, you will not stumble” (Prov 4:12). “They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint’ (Isa 40:31). The great number of believers who have run successfully over the centuries provides us encouragement to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us’ (Heb 12:1).

Because Paul so often wrote to those who were familiar with the Greek games and the running contests that were connected to them, he rather frequently described the Christian life as a race: “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” (1 Cor 9:24). Paul was not one to run-that is, live his life-aimlessly or in vain (1 Cor 9:26; Gal 2:2; Phil 2:16). He called believers to keep running the good race, chiding the Galatians when it looked otherwise: “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?” (Gal 5:7).

Leave a Reply