Um, you named your baby…what? Oh well, I guess I have officially crossed the old-age threshold and here’s the proof of that fact. Aside from the obvious physical limitations that pop up daily, the constant where-did-I-put-that memory struggle, and the technological haze that constantly envelops me, I have reached an age where I don’t always understand these new, clever, and somewhat odd-sounding, baby names. Long gone are the stories of my youth, the popular and beloved Dick and Jane readers, including the adventures of their pooch, Spot. Those names are boring now and would probably be replaced by Ajax, Dove, and their dog Lickity Split if the story were set in today’s culture. Back in Bible times, the meaning of the name bestowed on a child was of upmost significance and was chosen carefully. Often that birth name was a prelude to what God had in store for that young life. One such name was Ezekiel.
The name Ezekiel, in its original Hebrew, literally means God strengthens, or the strength of God. And Ezekiel would need all of the strength he could muster, for he was not running a sprint, but enduring a marathon. Ezekiel would minister for over 20 years, preaching daily to a calloused people who refused to hear or to heed the Word of God. A sprint lasts for seconds, expends the maximum amount of energy, taxing those fast-twitch fibers of the leg muscles for the greatest speed, muscles that can only sustain that excessive speed for a short amount of time. On the other hand, a marathon runner trains not for speed, but for endurance, relying on slower muscle contractions which are more resistant to fatigue, maximizing and maintaining the energy production needed so that those muscles can tolerate long distances. A burst of speed is good, but not for a marathon, better is the ability to endure. Steadfastness, not fastness alone, will determine the winner of a marathon.
As children of the King, we too are running our own marathons, not sprints. But the Bible has good news for us, for we are “compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses,” we have examples set by Ezekiel and others who have run the race with faith and perseverance, have fought their way through trial and tribulation, have completed their work, who have “kept the faith.” Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Moses, were all characterized by a forward-looking faith, a faith that is a beacon of hope to those of us running our race today in this wicked, God-shunning, perverse world. That “great cloud of witnesses” encourages us to “lay aside every weight…and run with patience the race that is set before us.”
And if those fellow runners are not encouragement enough, consider Jesus, our precious Savior, Who “endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds;” He “endured the cross” for you, so consider His example, look to Him for the energy and stamina needed to continue your race. Keep running, fellow marathoner, relying on God to be your strength!
Hebrews 12:3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
BONUS STUDY: Take a moment and thoughtfully read through Hebrews, chapter 11, as a reminder of those faithful runners who have gone before us, that great cloud of witnesses, and be encouraged as you continue YOUR race.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-1665-6332e972e35e8' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=1665&origin=grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-1665-6332e972e35e8' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-1665-6332e972e35e8' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>