Thursday, July 29, 2010
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We didn't have much of a car in the first place. It was less of a car by the end of the day. We hadn't been married very long, and our used car was pretty humble - but it was ours. We were in heavy traffic in downtown Chicago about five o'clock one afternoon, sitting in the middle of one of those Rush Hour blood clots they call a "traffic jam." I'd stopped for a red light not far from the Art Institute on Michigan Boulevard. I still can picture this. To our right, was a city bus that pretty much blocked my view of the traffic on the intersecting street. The light turned green, and I drove out into the intersection. Bam! Suddenly we were hit hard, stopped cold, and left with a crumpled hood with smoke coming from underneath. A delivery truck had run the red light and right into us. Thankfully, we weren't hurt, but our little car was! It wouldn't move. So we just went to the curb and stood on the sidewalk, waiting for help to come and watching as one driver after another pulled up to this car of ours that was obviously wrecked and unoccupied - and honked. Weird!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Running Red Lights."
Bad things can happen when you run a red light - especially if it's one of God's red lights. All too often, though, we are racing to get where we want to go and we blow right by a red light that God is flashing to stop us. The results are going to be damaging and costly.
I love it when God gives us a flesh-and-blood picture of a principle, and He gives us a good one about His red lights in our word for today from the Word of God in Numbers 22, beginning with verse 21. The Moabites are not friends of God's people, the Jews, and they're mucho concerned when the Jews start to get close to their territory. So Balak, Moab's king, calls for a prophet named Balaam and he offers him big bucks to come and put a curse on this people that God blesses.
So Balaam sets out toward Moab on his donkey. The Bible says, "God was very angry when he went, and the angel of the Lord stood in the road to oppose him...When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with a drawn sword in his hand, she turned off the road into a field." Did Balaam turn back? No. No, it says he, "beat her to get her back on the road." The angel of the Lord stands in his way a second time, seen only by the donkey who tries to stop again, and he gets whipped again. Then, the Bible says, "The angel of the Lord moved on ahead and stood in a narrow place where there was no room to turn." This time the donkey just lies down and gets it again.
Finally, God actually speaks to Balaam through his donkey. By the way, God still speaks through donkeys. I know. The Lord opens Balaam's eyes and he falls facedown before the Lord saying, "I did not realize you were standing in the road to oppose me." I wonder how many times your Lord has tried to stop you on the road you're on, and how many times have you just kept going the way you want to go, running God's red lights? I am a donkey when I do that. And here again God is trying to stand in your way, even through this visit together, trying to turn you around from those choices you've been making; that direction you've been going. Because He loves you too much to let you end up where He knows this road will take you.
It's just plain foolish not to stop when the God of the universe says to. If you run the red light, one of two hurtful things is going to happen. Either God will do something more drastic and more painful to stop you, or He'll get out of your way and He'll let you walk right into the very unhappy ending down the road. But today...today He's giving you one more chance to stop before the cliff ahead. Don't choose the pain of running God's red light. Stop - before you get hit.