Ahimaaz replied, “When Joab told me to come, there was a lot of commotion. But I didn’t know what was happening.” (2 Samuel 18:29)
Relate: I am not a big fan of dogs. That is a very conservative way to put it. A for more honest statement would be, “I hate dogs.” They aren’t the best quality animal for food and they certainly have no other beneficial purpose either. For a long time my dislike for the pests was fueled by my asthma but even since God has healed me of that, I have found no fondness growing in my heart. My apologies for all those dog lovers out there. I respect your idiosyncrasy. I just do not share it.
Big dogs were the worst for me back in my asthma days. The bigger the thing was, the quicker and stronger my asthma would kick in. Even the “hypoallergenic” mutts would give me minor troubles, but those small breeds irritated me for other reasons. They were yappers. They seemed to recognize my dislike for them and returned it in spades with their incessant, annoying little high pitched bark that just would… not… stop. Cats I like. For the most part they leave me alone and I them, but every not and then they will get the urge to cuddle and start brushing against your leg or hop into your lap. There’s no drama involved. They don’t need to make sure the entire world is aware of their presence and desires. They just do what they’re going to do and the rest of us are there to serve them. Little dogs… they are more like a three year old with ADD who somehow managed to guzzle an entire bottle of Mountain Dew. Just once, I would love to see someone punting one. My life would then be complete.
When I read in 2 Samuel about the aftermath of the civil war between David and Absalom, I kind of picture Ahimaaz like a little poodle. Joab, as the general of David’s troops, has a lot of work to get done in the aftermath of the battle. Beyond that, he was probably exhausted as everybody should have been after what was a bloody, and reading between the lines, chaotic battle. The only person who didn’t seem to be exhausted was Ahimaaz. “Can I run? Can I? Can I?” Joab answers, “No.” The little dog doesn’t quit: “Oh please, please, I want to run. Just let me run. I can run fast. Really, I can.” One of Joab’s troops rolls his eyes and the general turns, “Why would you run? You have no idea what’s going on here. There will be no reward for any runners today.” Ahimaaz doesn’t back down. “No big deal. I just want to run. Run. Run.” As scripture aptly puts it: “Joab finally said, ‘All right. Go ahead.’ ”
Ahimaaz runs. But he has no idea what was happening. He had no message to deliver. All he did was get in the way.
React: Sometimes I think certain topics like religion, sports, and politics can bring out the Ahimaaz in all of us. I firmly believe that a large majority of the time a person’s zeal for for a topic is often inversely proportionate to their knowledge. A few friends of mine share an inside phrase on this: “Poodle politics”. They come in all stripes and you’ve probably met a few of these at some time or another. They cling to one catchphrase or idea (like, “Obama wasn’t really born in America” or “Sarah Palin said she could see Russia from her house.”) No amount of evidence to the contrary can shake their belief. They are like poodles, yammering away, seeking attention, and giving everyone headaches but not really saying anything. They are like Ahimaaz, running with a half a message when they really have no clue what is going on. The question is, do other people hold this view of me? In my zeal for sharing the gospel, do I sometimes find myself going off half cocked, misleading and misrepresenting the truth of the gospel? God, let me bury the Ahimaaz urge inside of me and run only when I have Your authority, Your commissioning, and Your message.
God, I want to have zeal. I want to have passion for You. I want to run with the message You have commissioned me to share. But I want to do so with wisdom. Help me to have the discipline to study and learn rather than just yammering with no knowledge. Help me to know when to speak and when to shut up and listen. When I run, let it be as Your ambassador, speaking in wisdom the truth You have placed in my heart for that moment.