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Holy Badminton

January 22nd, 2009

Focus Text: Proverbs 11: 20-21 (NLT)

20 The Lord detests people with crooked hearts,
      but he delights in those with integrity.

 21 Evil people will surely be punished,
      but the children of the godly will go free.


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

I think that our view of God is often skewed . . . and that may be the understatement of the century.  We conceptualize a Deity enthroned in the majestic halls of heaven whose boisterous outbursts shake the foundations of all things created.  The idea that such a magnificent and powerful being would be interested or involved in the lives of puny humans leads us to a few possible conclusions about the nature of this involvement.

Option one is a God whose interest in us is for the purpose of sheer evaluation.  We quote such passages as: “The eyes of the Lord move throughout the earth . . . “  We picture a day in the life of God consisting of crumpets and tea with Moses and Jesus out on the divine veranda.

“Well, who are we looking at today?”

Jesus pipes in, “You know, I had  a good feeling about John down there.  He was showing some promise.”

Moses almost chokes on his cucumber sandwich.  “John?!  Are you serious?  Didn’t you see that string of anger-filled thoughts over that student of his.  Now, I do agree that the kid acted like a complete moron, but come on.  He should know better!”

God folds his arms and lets out a long, disappointed sigh.  “Ah, John.  How many times am I going to be patient with you before you finally get it.  Well, who’s up for badminton?”

Man, God sure loves badminton.  Anyhoo, you get the point.  We think that God has nothing better to do than to compare the lives of humanity, searching for any glimpses of hope and rarely finding any.

Another conclusion is that God is so busy and worried over the multiplicity of complexities that threaten the equilibrium of the universe that seldom does the menial and petty lives of common people come across His desk.  “You’ve got a tummy-ache?!!  I’m working on world hunger here!  Don’t bother me with your childish problems!”

The reality is that God does evaluate the hearts and lives of humanity and the idea that anything overwhelms Him or surprises Him truly is comical.  But we cannot avoid the truth that a valid evaluation of any of our hearts by the standards of divinity will leave each of us disappointing the heart of the Creator.

So when we encounter these passages, we have to know what to do with them.  “The Lord detests people with crooked hearts,but he delights in those with integrity. Evil people will surely be punished, but the children of the godly will go free.”   At first glance, we encounter the judgmental side of God and you know what, God is the Judge of the universe.  However, His judgments are completely fair and true. His mercy is as eternal as His judgments and His knowledge of our lives is more intimate than ours . . . even concerning ourselves.

Just imagine the mind-boggling concept that God would feel emotions over the lives of humans.  The fact that He has a reaction at all, whether “detesting” or “delighting” both demonstrate that He is more concerned with our lives than we probably think.  

However, His judgement of “crooked hearts” and hearts of “integrity” are not based exclusively on us.  The sacrifice given the relationship offered with Jesus are the lenses through which the Father now evaluates the lives of men.  Knowing Him and receiving His grace are now the larger issues that define the consistency of one’s soul.

So whether or not God is eating cucumber sandwiches in heaven is of little consequence.  What is important is that we have the chance to delight the heart of God with the integrity that can grow within us through the grace and power of Jesus.

Sure beats holy badminton.



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