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A “Delightful” Bogey

June 27th, 2008

Focus Text: Psalm 1: 2 (NKJV)

2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
         And in His law he meditates day and night.

Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead


Par.  Triple Bogey.  Par.  Quadruple Bogey.  Par.  Lost ball.  Complete mental meltdown!  

The previous sequence describes some of my most recent play on the golf course.  For you non-golfers, a bogey is one stroke over par (par being your goal for the hole.)  Therefore, you can do the math for all of my triples and quadruples.  As a golfer, you could say that I’m “subpar.”

I lose so many golf balls in the woods from bad shots that woodland creatures in the Mt. Juliet area could make a good living at selling used balls.  Just last week, I nearly severed my best friend’s head with a wayward shot that I pulled dead left with my 3-wood.  Even others around me notice that when I hit the ball, it is more likely to mysteriously just bounce out of bounds for no reason.  One gentleman commented to me just last week, “You really have a nice swing, but you just have so many unlucky shots.”  Nice.

I’m not temperamental by nature and I rarely lose my cool, but I’d be lying if I told you that I don’t get frustrated when I have a streak of bad play.  I get angry for a variety of reasons, but here are the top three:

     1. I paid good money to play golf that day and I’m wasting it with my stupidity.

     2. Others are having to wait for me while I crawl around in the tick-infested forest searching for my ball.

     3. I don’t play much, but I’ve played long enough that I SHOULD BE BETTER THAN THIS!!!

I’d say that number three is my most frustrating reason.  For you see, though when I’m playing poorly and missing easy putts I may take an oath that I shall never touch those God-forsaken clubs again, the moment I drive away from the course something deep within me begins to whisper to my consciousness.  It says, “That wasn’t so bad.  You did better on so many holes.  Just think of what you can do if you go back out tomorrow and try again.”  And, I end up relinquishing my fury to these thoughts because, though I hate to admit it, I love the game.  There, I’ve said it!  I love golf!  I take great delight in playing it.

When I see men at church on Sunday mornings, we often discuss golf.  When I watch Sportscenter highlights or the Golf Channel, I compare my swing with the professionals (oh brother.)  I even took a few golf lessons this year– and believe it or not, they helped . . . or so I thought.  Nevertheless, I often lay down at night and replay each hole in my head- imagining what I could have done differently or what club I will use next time I get to play.  All around, I really love this game.

But I hate it, that’s all.  Not the game as much as the fact that I disgrace it so much with my lackluster performances.  I’m dumbfounded by how one day I can drive a ball straight down the middle of the fairway and the next day, I couldn’t find straight if it smacked me in my grill!  Watching professional golf, I take some consolation that even guys like Phil Mickelson also struggle with the mysteries of golf’s elusive goal: consistency.

The Psalmist, continuing his thoughts from yesterday’s verse, continues to describe the person who is “blessed” or “happy” by depicting him or her as someone whose “delight is in the law of the Lord.”  If you hear the word “law” and instantly feel yourself withdrawing because you have images of being pulled over by policemen, you may be missing the whole meaning.  We must understand who David, our author, was.  He was a Jewish king and the only scripture the Israelites had was Moses’ law (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, & Deuteronomy) and possibly a few other old Testament books of the prophets.  These books were called “the Law.”  So don’t think that David was just sitting around “delighting” himself in reciting all the rules God had laid out for him; he literally meant that He took delight in the very words that God had spoken.

God’s Word is the map that guides the very steps of our spiritual journey.  It’s more than simply just the Bible; it’s the essence of His voice.  It’s the standard of all that we seek in our personal growth.  It’s the vast 18-hole course with infinite hills, ridges, ponds, sand traps, greens, and tee boxes.  In other words, it’s the challenge that we will spend our lifetimes trying to master.

Have you ever felt that you just can’t get this relationship with God thing right?  Like you do things perfect today and then crash and burn tomorrow?  Does it discourage you because you can’t seem to achieve that mysterious goal of consistency?  Do you often think of quitting because you know you’ll never be able to “shoot par” on God’s course?  Do you ever say to yourself, “I don’t ‘pray much,’ but I’ve been doing this long enough that I SHOULD BE BETTER THAN THIS!!!

Happy is the person who delights himself or herself in this adventure called a relationship with God.  That doesn’t mean you’ve mastered your walk with Christ.  You’ll do better on some days than others.  You’ll par eight holes in a row and then, out of nowhere, you’ll meltdown into a quadruple bogey . . . spiritually.

Oh, but then you’ll lay in your bed at night, like David, and “meditate” on this challenge called God’s Word.  Your heart will be revived by His encouraging voice saying, “just think of what you can do if you go back out tomorrow and try again.”  That is the joy of walking with God.

This game is hard, but don’t give up.  God’s holding the scorecard and because of what Jesus has done, you’ve already shot par in His eyes.  So dust yourself off, grab your clubs, and head back out for another “delightful” day that God allows you to play on His course.  And here’s the best part, God delights in you more than you’ll ever delight in Him!







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