I’ve never been much for sports, but now I find myself dating a guy who is crazy over Reds baseball, Ohio State games, and Bengals football. I find myself having conversations I never thought possible, like about how amazing that Hail Mary pass was or how talented Aaron Rodgers is. Sports do take a turn for the worst. Take the Bengals’ recent playoffagainst the Texans. Any ardent Bengal fan will tell you the refs were whistle-happy and repeatedly made awful calls in favor of the Texans For the record I don’t have an opinion, I was knitting during the game ;D
Any avid team follower will most likely be able to remember that one game where that one referee made bad call after bad call. A newcomer to sports, it is interesting to me that refs can challenge a play but it is not standard to challenge the call of a ref. Their word goes. Fans can boo or cheer based on the decision that is handed down, but those black and white shirts are the authorities on the field.
Thinking of the application of justice, I thought of how God is our Judge. I was reminded of a great sermon series Matt Chandler gave last year out of the book of Habakkuk. One sermon was entitled “The Just Judge”. In this he pulls from Habakkuk 1 a portrait of God’s justice. In short the Lord responds to Habakkuk’s cries for God to judge the wicked Israelites, and God informs Habakkuk that he is sending the Chaldeans (an even MORE wicked nation) to bring judgment on Judah. Naturally, Habakkuk challenges this move from the Almighty. As Chandler expresses, “Habakkuk says, ‘Surely you won’t send more wicked people to judge wicked people!’”
So, how does God relate to football refs? Well, both hand down judgment and both have the final word. However, refs are certainly fallible (whether real or perceived) and God is unfailing (whether we acknowledge or not). We may not understand the Lord’s ways, or even His judgments, but we know from Scripture – and experience – that He is both sovereign and perfect. His Word goes and, what’s more, His Word is always exact.
“For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.” 1 Corinthians 4:4-5 (ESV)