Tuesday, August 28, 2012

God's Side

My first soccer team: the Tuffies
'Are you for us or for our enemies? 
'Neither, but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.' 
Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, 'What message does my Lord have for his servant?'"  
~Joshua 5:13b-15
By the age of 12, I had already been involved in at least eight organized athletic activities: soccer, golf, swimming, tennis, gymnastics, ballet, horseback riding, tae kwon do and baton twirling (yes, I'm counting that ~ my instructor said I did a mean "figure-8"). Often these activities were sponsored by Christian organizations, and I can remember wondering about coaches who prayed: "Dear Lord, help us to win. Deliver us from the visiting team."

"Does God want us to win or them?" I remember asking myself. Both sides seemed likely candidates. They looked a lot like us, though sometimes I liked their uniforms (and haircuts for that matter) better than ours (I appeal to Exhibit B below). If God had sent his angel to tell me, "Neither," it would have made a lot of sense to me.

Is God for or against this hair?
But Joshua's game was for keeps ~ God's people versus the Amalekites, heathens to the core, sons of Ham, accursed son of Noah. God had promised his people the land. He would very soon give commands to kill every man, woman and child. The walls of Jericho fall within a few verses of these, and yet, this heavenly warrior who gives himself the military title "commander" does not take a side between Israel and Canaan. Shouldn't God's commander be for God's people?
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." 
~ 2 Peter 3:9
 God had a people, but did he really have a side?

How often do I allow myself to compete with those around me rather than helping them reach their goals? Or perhaps more to the point, am I decidedly and obediently on God's side?

1 comment:

  1. Wow! I didn't know you knew martial arts!! Looks kind of like my hair did a while back!!