Does God Care Who Wins the Superbowl?

steelersAs I was driving into the office this morning I was listening to the Dan Patrick show on Fox Sports Radio and he brought up an interesting questions, “Will God be a factor in the Superbowl on Sunday night?”  The reason he asked this question, of course, is the much publicized and open expressions of faith that the Baltimore Raven’s linebacker Ray Lewis has been making.  But it does bring up an interesting theological question, so I thought that I would address this issue here this morning.

First of all let me say that as a lifelong fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers I rarely, actually, have never ever cheered for Ray Lewis, however, for this one Sunday I will be cheering for him and the rest of the dreaded Baltimore Ravens.  I actually hurt a little to actually write that sentence.  Second, let me say that I am not convinced that God has a favorite in this Superbowl or that He is necessarily pulling for one side or the other.  But with that said, I do think that God will be a factor in the Superbowl.  The reason is simple, Scripture teaches us that God is involved in every aspect of our lives and is always working to accomplish His will an purpose. Let me defend that statement from the Scripture:

In Ephesians 1:11 the Apostle Paul writes, “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.”  Pay close attention to that last phrase.  God works all things according to the counsel of His will.  This verse teaches us that God is guiding every event and aspect of our lives to accomplish His will and purpose.  In other words, there is no such thing as accident or coincidence in the universe.  Every event that happens is part of God’s ultimate plan for the universe.  The life of Joseph serves as a great example of how God uses circumstances in our lives to accomplish His purpose.  You can read the story for yourself in Genesis 37 —50, but the basics of the story is that Joseph’s brothers became jealous of him and sold him into slavery.  Joseph was taken to Egypt where he became the chief servant in a man named Potiphar’s house, but once again tragedy struck and Joseph was sent to jail after being falsely accused of attempted rape.  But eventually through a series of amazing events, Joseph rose to become second in command over all of Egypt and his brothers ended up having to come to buy food from him.  Once they realized who Joseph was they feared for their lives, but Joseph recognized the hand of God in his life and was reconciled to his brothers.  Later after his father died, Joseph’s brothers once again feared retaliation but Joseph said, “…you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive…”  There it is!  One of the greatest statements concerning God’s Sovereignty and providence in all of the Bible.

The simple truth of the matter is as work in every aspect of our lives to accomplish His will and purpose.  I was at conference several years ago where R.C. Sproul was asked about God’s will and he said, “God’s will is what ever happened yesterday.”  Nothing escapes the attention of God and He is working all things according to the purpose of His will.  So yes, God does care about who wins the Superbowl and He will be involved in the final outcome.  But more importantly, God cares about YOU and ME.  He cares about every aspect and area of our lives and is working to accomplish His plans and purposes.  If you are going through a hard time right now, go back and read the story of Joseph and see how God worked in his life.  I assure that you God is at work in your life, even if you are going through a hard time.

The Lord is Our Refuge

BibleMy last blog post was on January 9th and was entitled “Hope in the Midst of the Dark Night of the Soul.”  As it turns out, that post had a bit of a prophetic tone to it because later that afternoon I ended up in the Intensive care unit of Western Baptist Hospital, where I spent the next several days.  That morning I was writing about the “dark night of the soul” but had no idea that later that afternoon I would be going through a  “dark night” myself.  Physically, I am getting better and starting to recover some of my energy and this morning decided it was time to get back to blogging.

In Psalm 31:1 the Bible says, “In you, O Lord, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me!”  If you will take time to read the rest of the Psalm you will notice that three times in the opening five verses, the Psalmist refers to God as being a “refuge.”  In other words, God is our place of shelter or protection from danger or distress.  There can be little doubt in any of our minds that this is a dangerous world for believers.  All around us we are surrounded by trouble of all kinds and an enemy who wants to destroy us.  At times the world can seem to be overwhelming and apparently David was going through such a period himself when he wrote this Psalm.  In verses 9-10 David describes the internal effects of sin that he has been experiencing and in v.11-13 turns his attention to the external consequences.  It is clear that he is having a hard time, but look at how he handles the situation.  Instead of falling into despair, David turns to God and confesses his faith and trust in God’s steadfast love and faithful character.  David prays for deliverance and expresses his faith in God’s deliverance in v.21-22 when he says, “Blessed by the Lord, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was in a besieged city.  I said in my alarm, ‘I am cut off from your sight.’ But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help.”  David closes this Psalm with a helpful piece of advice for all of us, “Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord.”