Monday, October 8, 2012

Baseball and the Bible

I’ve been a baseball fan, specifically a Cardinals fan, for over 30 years. I learned the game from Jack Buck and Mike Shannon calling Cardinals games during that first (for me) World Series winning year. I’ve also enjoyed following the Colorado Rockies since their beginning season, but I will have to say that I’m glad we’re back in Cardinal territory and once again listening to Mike Shannon call the games.

However, last Friday, in the wild card decider game between the Atlanta Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals, there was a controversial infield fly rule call in the bottom of the eighth inning. Fans, upset with the call, threw bottles and other debris onto the playing field, delaying the game for nearly 20 minutes.

Later, I read several comments from many who are “experts” in the MLA rules. Even among those there was disagreement as to the interpretation of the infield fly rule and other related issues. But the majority seemed to indicate that the call could be correct, though not usually called. It seemed to depend on how well grounded in the rulebook the commenters and umpires were.

There were references to incompetent replacement umpires due to the recent problems in the NFL. But the baseball umpires who call post-season games in baseball are the best of the best. One would hope that they are the best because they have studied and know the rulebook well . . . even the more obscure calls. Much better than the average fan in the stands.

When I remember that baseball is just a game, a momentary entertainment in light of eternity, I wonder how much more important is it for us to know God’s “rulebook,” the Bible, because it is eternal.

For a lack of knowledge of His Word, we cry foul when it seems God has made a “bad” call. We think Him unfair, unjust, unloving  . . . and the list goes on. We lash out at God both privately and publicly. Our words and actions delay, or may even prevent, others and ourselves to progress spiritually.

Long ago, Hosea declared what the Lord had spoken to him: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children” (Hosea 4:6).

Sobering words, applicable not only in Hosea’s time but also today.

So why should we be surprised and rebel when God allows the consequences of sin to catch up to us? Or why should we be surprised and rebel when He allows the fiery trials designed to purify us and make us more like Christ?

As much as it saddened me to watch the fans “protest” (I don’t care whose fans they are, unsportsmanlike conduct always saddens me), I am even more burdened when those who call themselves Christian behave just as badly or worse spiritually. All for a lack of knowledge of God’s written and living Word.

The next time we are tempted to rail at God for allowing the “bad” to touch our lives, let us instead dig deep into His Word to find the truth of the matter and respond accordingly.

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