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August 16, 2023

Running With the King’s Heart


Second Samuel 18 is a sad chapter. King David’s traitorous son, Absalom, is killed, and his coup is overthrown. A “runner,” as they called them back then, needs to take the bitter-sweet news to David: the rebellion is over, but your son is dead.


A fast, gifted runner named Ahimaaz wanted to carry the news, but the general chose an unnamed Cushite, and off he went. Ahimaaz, however, was not to be denied: “Please let me run also…” (v. 22). The general finally said okay, and Ahimaaz took off. He was so fast that he eventually passed the Cushite and proudly delivered the message to David that the coup was over.


When David then asked about Absalom, Ahimaaz answered with embarrassment that he didn’t know. He hadn’t cared enough to find out about David’s son. The Cushite then arrived and gave David the sad news: your son is dead.


Ahimaaz was very fast. He started last but arrived first. This gifted man ran in vain, however - "You will have no reward for going," the general had said (2 Samuel 18:22). Ahimaaz didn’t have the complete message. He didn’t have it because he didn't possess and run with the king's heart. David had not only defeated an enemy, but he had also lost a son. Ahimaaz eventually stepped aside in ignorance, insignificance, and embarrassment, as a nameless individual took center stage and delivered the complete message.


Our message will always in some way be deficient if it isn't motivated by the King's heart. I'm speaking, of course, of God our King. The pleasure of the Father is and must remain the ultimate goal of our running. The glory and exaltation of the Son must be our chief aim. His passion and priority of harvesting sons and daughters into the family must become ours.


God is willing to share His heart for America and the worldwide harvest with those who desire it. But beware - His is broken. When God touched my heart with His on October 4, 2000, I wasn't ready for what I felt. I thought mine was going to break in two. And I became a man with a cause - ruined for life. Ask for God’s heart, but if you do, get ready to change.


Why Are We Running?

Why are we running, building, laboring for revival? Is it for personal fulfillment, fame, glory, self-aggrandizement, to make a name for ourselves? Or are we, as the Cushite in this passage, content to remain nameless? Is it for advancement, a position? Is it to display our gifts, our speed? Are we looking to build something big?


In Philippians 3:14, Paul said, "I press toward the mark" (KJV). His goal, or “mark” as he called it, was clear. In verse 12 (NASB), he said, "I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus."


The Gift Mentality

Unfortunately, the charismatic movement, as positive as I know it was, gave us a gift mentality: We ran on the strength of our gifts. The very word "charismatic" means "grace gifts." And this often led to a performance mentality: run to set records, to be first, to be the best, to be the biggest. "Build 'em big and build 'em fast!" became the mindset of many in the church. Overnight sensations were, and in many ways still are, the order of the day. There is nothing biblical about this mindset! Persistent, progressive, hanging-in-there, long-term building should receive more honor than something that springs up quickly. Sadly, it does not. Far more character is needed to build a work or ministry over a long period of time than to enjoy something which happens quickly.


One of the basic problems with this philosophy of success, aside from its inherent pride and self-exaltation, is that if any part of our vision (which becomes the goal of running) is born of ambition - rather than God's heart - we are soon running for self, not the King. Zeal that was originally to do something for God often becomes a zeal to remain successful. This change can be so subtle it frequently happens without our even realizing it. The Church in America is inundated with Ahimaazs - people running for their own ambition rather than for God.


I spoke yesterday of the need for vision, but vision alone must not be our starting place. Vision, born of God's heart, must be our starting place. The questions we must continually ask ourselves are: How well do I understand and relate to the King's heart in this matter? Is that and that alone my motive for running, for building? Was His heart the birthplace of my vision?


The question must NOT be: How fast or gifted am I? Our speed or giftedness does NOT validate our running.


Holy Hubert

A gentleman used greatly by God in the early days of the charismatic movement, Hubert Lindsay, exemplifies a life lived according to God's heart. Mr. Lindsay was part of that which was eventually called “The Jesus Movement.” This movement was used by God to bring thousands of drug-addicted, sexually perverted, disillusioned, and rebellious young people into the Kingdom of God. Hubert Lindsay eventually became known as “Holy Hubert.”


Like King David, who wasn't called by his father to join the “potential king lineup” (see 1 Samuel 16), nothing about Holy Hubert's appearance or personality caused him to stand apart. He wasn’t all that charismatic, but like David, he possessed something more important: God’s heart.


I once had the privilege of hearing Mr. Lindsay speak. He told of his calling to minister at the University of California at Berkeley, and spoke of the miracles and salvations. He mixed in some humor, and we all laughed, cheered, and applauded. What impacted me most, however, was a passing comment Holy Hubert made about how his ministry at Berkley had been birthed.


"I became so burdened for this generation," he said, "that I would walk the streets of the campus - sometimes all night long - weeping and interceding for those lost kids. I pled with God to give me those young people." God had given this man His heart for a lost generation.


The Lord answered Hubert’s cry - because it was His own - and gave him a revival. Church historians agree that the Jesus movement was of extreme significance in the renewal of the '60s and '70s. And when tracing the roots of The Jesus Movement, one invariably ends up at Berkeley with Holy Hubert Lindsay.


His burden cost him dearly, however. His broken heart led to broken bones - not to a large salary or a huge congregation. Lindsay and his wife were beaten on numerous occasions, stabbed, mocked, and ridiculed as they preached the gospel on campus. His wife eventually suffered brain damage from this, and Holy Hubert lost his sight due to the beatings. Just as the apostle Paul did, they bore on their bodies the marks of the Lord Jesus (see Galatians 6:17).


The Lindsays picture for us the principle of running with the heart of God, allowing that to become the motivation for ministry. This heart releases pure revival, keeping it free from the debris of pride and selfish motivation.


The past movement’s weakness in this regard resulted in a generation of Christians who believed being gifted qualified one for ministry. Character and God's heart were replaced by other priorities and motivations, which inevitably led many to build personal kingdoms. A cooperative heart (God's) was superseded by a competitive heart (humankind's). Travailing, agonizing prayer was replaced by the strength of our gifts. Last, and probably most tragically, success was measured, not by how well we knew the Father, but by how well-known we were.


We compensated for our ignorance with speed and raced forward out of control.

Push came to shove, Ahimaaz passed the Cushite, and the King wept. Now, we are in desperate need of an alignment; our fast-moving, state-of-the-art churches are pulling hard to the right and left. A “presence” revival, built around intimacy with the King - not man’s version of success - will correct this.


Pray with me:


Father, like an automobile traveling down a well-worn road, the potholes of undealt-with ambition and desire for success can knock us out of alignment. Before we know it, like Ahimaaz, we are running for our own fulfillment, not Yours, speeding down life’s highway in search of self-worth and success.


The passion about to be released will correct this. Our hearts will burn for You, not for our own fulfillment and personal kingdoms. Religion will be replaced by relationship, intimacy with You will be our desire and the fuel for our activities. Give us Your heart for lost and hurting people. Give us Your heart for the broken, wounded, and confused. Give us Your heart, even for the rebel. Break our hearts - give us many who will walk the empty streets, weeping for those who are so lost. In the name of Jesus, we pray, amen.


Our decree:


We decree that the heart of God is coming to the church, making us nameless, faceless, and powerful.


Click the link to watch today's devotional:



Today’s post was taken from my book Praying for America, which is no longer in print.


[Dutch Sheets, Praying for America (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 2001)]


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