He driveth furiously: A Christian witness

Published 4:21 am Sunday, February 4, 2024

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By Michael J. Brooks

I traveled with a deacon years ago and noticed the radar detector mounted on his windshield. When I asked about it he explained it was cost-effective since it saved him from traffic citations.

“I can drive as fast as I want and not get stopped,” he said.

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I didn’t ask, but wondered if he recommended this to his teenage daughter whom I knew at age 15 was just learning to drive.

In the privacy of his house this was probably a “do as I say” admonition rather than a “do as I do” kind of thing.

Maybe it’s part of my getting older, or maybe it’s just my growing conviction that Christians ought to drive like, well, Christians.

We live in an era in which many drive like demons. Even when I’m driving the speed limit, some speed past me, and I’ve been tailgated, honked at and gestured for driving five miles below on the interstate. I often wonder why people are in such a hurry.

Consider a bloody story in the Old Testament about Israel’s tenth king, Jehu.

The prophet Elisha anointed Jehu as king, and commissioned him as God’s avenger for the evil house of Ahab. Jehu quickly became the ancient Equalizer. He murdered the sitting king, Jehoram. He also ordered the murder of Ahaziah, the king of Judah, and the wicked Queen Jezebel cast down from a balcony to her death. The two soon-to-be-slain kings recognized Jehu from afar because “he driveth furiously,” or as the NIV renders, “he drives like a maniac” (2 Kings 9:20).

It’s believed an ancient chariot could reach a speed of 35-40 mph. My generation remembers seeing this in the classic movie, “Ben Hur,” when Charleton Heston raced around the coliseum. But though he didn’t reach the speed of modern automobiles, Jehu was known for his dangerous driving.

I remember having a talk with a youth pastor about slowing down while driving the church van, which, after all, had the church name emblazoned on the side, and was most often full of impressionable teenagers.

Many of us, likewise, present a terrible witness with discourtesy on the highways.

An alternative is to leave early and drive calmly, listening to soothing music or scripture apps or praying. I’ve heard it said that music is among the finest ways to lower blood pressure. Relaxing while driving is a great way to relieve stress and restore our souls and may help us show greater kindness toward fellow travelers. Drive time can be time with God.

Scripture exhorts Christians to present the whole of our lives in obedience to Christ.

If he is to be sovereign of our lives, he’s to be lord of our driving, too.

“Reflections” is a weekly faith column written by Michael J. Brooks, pastor of the Siluria Baptist Church, Alabaster, Alabama. The church’s website is siluriabaptist.com.