A Super Bowl Message
I Chronicles 12:8-15
And of the Gadites there separated themselves unto David into the hold
to the wilderness men of might, and men of war fit for the battle,
that could handle shield and buckler, whose faces were like the faces of
lions, and were as swift as the roes upon the mountains;
Super Bowl Sunday has become an American tradition. Despite the fact that the game itself is usually a one-sided, boring affair, it seems as if the whole world stops each year for the game. Many churches even cancel their Sunday evening services for their members to watch the game. While there is certainly nothing inherently wrong with a Christian enjoying sports, God's people might want to evaluate their own hearts and determine if we are committing the sin of idolatry in our sports pastimes.
That being said, however, sports provides object lessons of life and even of the Christian life. The Apostle Paul alluded to sports as illustrations to his readers. He spoke of the boxer who "beateth against the air" and the runner who races for an earthly prize. In this passage we have the account of David's 'mighty men." Coincidentally, there are eleven of these mighty men, the same as a football squad.
There are some wonderful lessons we can learn from these verses concerning our spiritual walk with the Lord. As the world (and many Christians) ready themselves for the big game, let us prepare our hearts to do battle for our Sovereign and give Him 100% effort and concentration in this "game of life."
I. David, the Coach: A Type of the Sovereign Christ
In our passage, David is on the run from King Saul. Saul was hunting David down to kill him because God had anointed him king of Israel in his place. There are some attributes that David exhibits that correspond with our Savior and also that of a good coach.
1. A Divine Leader David did not take upon himself to be the king of Israel. He was anointed by God through Samuel. Hence, his subjects are to follow his leadership and respect his authority. In what we refer to as the Davidic Covenant, God made promises to David concerning his throne. Football coaches are not divine leaders, by any means. But winning coaches are respected for their leadership and administrating abilities. David is a type of the Sovereign Christ who will rule and reign on this earth on the "throne of David." He is also today's leader and the One who holds this earth together. (Col 1:17) And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
2. A Drawing Personality There is a certain characteristic of personality called "charisma" that is present in most notable and successful people. It is a characteristic that is difficult to define but impossible to overlook. It is a charm, an appealing magnetism which makes those who have it seem larger than life. The great coaches have it; the great leaders have it; but the ultimate possessor of charisma is Jesus Christ Himself. (John 12:32) And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
3. A Despising World Someone once said, "When you're a winner, people will hate you." This is true in sports and in Christianity. The teams with tradition have just as many detractors as they do supporters. Christians who stand up and stand out for Christ have many friends in the faith, but even more outside the church who despise them for their good deeds and consistent lives. David was a model citizen when Saul set out to kill him. He had been loyal to the king and his dominion. Yet still, David was hated for his goodness and his greatness. Moreover, Christ is the perfect One, yet he is despised by the world, society and mankind.
4. A Decorated Conclusion Great coaches prove themselves in the arena of competition. Vince Lombardi, Don Shula, and Tom Landry are names which symbolize greatness in the coaching profession. David, the anointed of God, proved himself in the time of Saul's persecution. God's hand was on him throughout his life, even in his periodic failures. Likewise, Christ proved Himself at the Cross. He had the power to call down the angels from heaven or just speak the words and see his wants met, yet he suffered and died so that we might live. There are those who focus on His life and His words, but the crowning achievement of Christ is the Cross-work which opens the way of salvation to us all.
II. The Team of Mighty Men: A Type of the Spirit-Filled Christian
We have examined the leader, David and how he typifies the Lord Jesus Christ. Now we turn our attention to the army of mighty warriors which followed David. These were men of valor and integrity. They were loyal to their leader and ready to die for him if necessary. These men show us our proper relationship with our Lord as His followers and soldiers.
Were Separated. In verse eight we read: And of the Gadites there
separated themselves unto David... These men had pledged their
allegiance to David and consequently had given up their freedom to work
for their king. It was their duty and their choice. Likewise,
the championship football teams of the Super Bowl have separated themselves
to a task. It is both a personal separation and a collective separation.
In battle, as well as in sports, there must be teamwork. How God's
people need to learn this lesson. It is not a matter of what we can
do as a Christian, it's a matter of what we give up for Him and His work.
2. They Were Strong. They were men of might, and men of war fit for the battle, that could handle shield and buckler, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as the roes upon the mountains... Physical strength is a prerequisite for both war and sport. Spiritual strength is important for the soldier of Christ. (Eph 6:10) Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. (2 Tim. 2:1) Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
3. They Were Serious. This was not a job for the frivolous nor the foolish. Their lives and the life of their leader depended on them. They were prepared both physically and mentally. These Gadites had to cross a swollen river to join David in his battles. It would have been much easier to have just stayed in the comfort of their own homes than to venture out to battle for David. On football teams, the losers underestimate the value of mental toughness. There is ample opportunity to use their time at recreation and amusement. The winning teams take that extra time to make sure they excel at their profession. Christians, too, should be serious about their business. There are so many "swollen rivers" that keep us from excelling at the Christian life. We need to have the same determination that the ball players have. We need the same seriousness and dedication that the mighty men of David displayed.
4. They Were Satisfied. In our day, it is hard to understand how men could be satisfied in the supporting role that these men undertook. David was the one who got the attention; he was the leader with the "starring role." But these mighty men are the ones God used to protect David and place him back on his throne. On the Super Bowl winners, there will be many "unsung heroes" who are happy that they contributed to a winning effort. In the Christian life, we must be satisfied with the roles God gives us. We are all essential to the winning effort. We have the victory as God's people. Let us stay in the place God has mapped out for our lives and serve Him with satisfaction in our hearts.
As we watch the games of sport in our day, let us never forget the resolve
and fortitude it takes to serve our God in this day. The Christian
life is no game. It is a life and death struggle as we, the soldiers
of God, try to liberate the lost from the clutches of the enemy.
Though our tasks are infinitely more important than the combatants of a
football game, let it never be true that their preparation and execution
of their duties be any better accomplished than that of God's people.
We are Christ's mighty men. Let us fulfill our responsibilities
as David's soldiers did.
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