Good evening. It’s good to be with you this evening. For the devotion tonight I want to take you back to one of the chief fundamentals of basketball. In order to do so, I want to share with you a verse from the book of Proverbs.
It comes from the opening of chapter 19, and it says,
"Whoever rushes with his feet misses his way."
You might not necessarily catch it at first, but this verse is talking about one of the most fundamental principles of basketball. It’s talking about “getting you head in the game.”
I used to have a coach who said, “You know what the hardest substance in the world is? It’s not a diamond; it’s the quarter inch of bone in your head.”
That’s exactly what this verse is getting at. It’s talking about a bonehead who doesn’t think before he acts. “Whoever rushes with his feet misses his way.”
This passage says that when you do that—when you make a rash decision, or act without thinking, the chances are the results are not going to be good. You’ll end up “missing your way.” That is to say, you will end up biffing it.
That language here is kind of reminiscent of a good jump shot. Isn’t it? If you rush with your feet, you’ll miss your way. You’ll miss the shot if you’re rushing it and not taking the time to get your feet planted, get your balance, get your elbow under the ball, and your eyes on the target.
If you don’t think about these things, you’re not going to hit your target, are you?
So this verse is warning you about being impulsive or reckless in your life’s decisions. If you are going to act like that, you’re not going to do well.
This might characterize how some of you do your term papers. You put it off all semester long, and then—before you know it—the paper is due the next day. So you crash the library, you check out a few books, you feverishly flip through each one to grab some notes. And then, after tanking a pot and a half of coffee, you pound out a 10 page paper.
What are the chances of getting a good grade on that paper? Chances are, you’re going to be a little concerned about your eligibility because you’ve not really given it a lot of thought. You’ve been a little hasty in your work and you’re going to “miss the way” to a good grade.
Isn’t that one of the key parts of basketball? When are you the most likely to score? When you take time to set up the offense, or when you hastily rush with your feet, driving to the basket and forcing a play that really isn’t there?
Are any of you guys like this? Are you drive-aholics? You immediately put the ball to the floor and you don’t care if King Kong is standing in the lane, you’re going in for a layup.
I would assume that, since you’re playing at this level, you know that isn’t right. If you are playing college ball, you know that you got to work the offense, move the ball, and be smart.
Sure, there will be times when the shot clock is down and you got to rush the shot. But overall, you know that you have to control the ball and play a good mental game. And even in that instance, you’re still thinking. You know what you got to do to prevent a shot clock violation.
Let me ask you this: What is the cause of most turnovers? They are due mainly to players rushing and being too hasty, aren’t they? Traveling is perhaps the most vivid illustration of this verse. It is being hasty with your feet, i.e. its moving your feet too fast. You get too rush in driving to the hole and you look like a freight train that has just cut loose from the track.
What about bad passes? Why do bad passes make turnovers? It’s because you are either not thinking about making a good pass. You miss your way because you are not thinking where the defense is or you are not putting into practice the fundamentals of how to pass the ball (you throw a one hand pass that has no control).
If you do any of that stuff your coach will probably yell at you and say something like, “Get your head in the game.”
So you see, the best basketball players are not always the best athletes. The best players are smart athletes. They are the guys who think and not the ones who are hasty and thoughtless.
But you know what, this applies to more than just basketball. That applies to all of life. Ultimately, this verse is talking about living a reckless life. It is talking about a foolish person who isn’t thinking about what God says in His word and how that applies to your life. This is describing a guy who is rushing through life without ever submitting himself Jesus Christ. As a result, he misses his way.
Think about it like this: If you are in a relationship with a guy or a girl, what are the decisions you are making in that relationship based on? Are you thinking about what God says about honoring one another and staying accountable for purity’s sake? Or are you just rushing in and making your decisions based on whatever feels good at the moment?
What’s going to happen there? You are going to miss your way. You’re not going to have the relational fulfillment that God really wants for you. You’re probably going to have all kinds of problems in your relationships. That’s because your relationships are based on selfishness and “getting the feel.” And what is going to happen when the feel doesn’t feel as good anymore? Well, problems result. That’s what happens. There is heartbreak. There is likely divorce. There could be adultery or some other kinds of problem.
If you are going to enter into a relationship, you shouldn’t rush in without thinking about God’s design for that relationship.
The same holds true for your finances. You guys probably have already been hit up with credit card advertisements. Credit card companies love you guys. They are in a mad rush to get you a signed up for a credit card. Because a lot of college age people are pretty reckless with their credit cards. They are downloading away on iTunes. They are clicking through amazon and making trips to Wal-Mart to load up on stuff.
But what happens when you live like that? What happens when you don’t think about what God’s word says about contentment and the excessive love of material things? You’ll miss your way! You will miss out on real wealth and prosperity that God intends.
Ultimately though, I want you to understand that this verse applies to the greatest goal of our lives. While it is good for the basketball court, your relationships, and your finances, it has as its chief application your relationship with Jesus Christ.
What is your main goal? It’s eternal life. It’s what happens after you die. And this verse seeks to help you gain that eternal life.
A lot of people are rushing through life. A lot of people are going to miss the way to eternal life because they are just rushing along in this life without any thought about who Jesus Christ is as Lord and Savior. They don’t take time to think about what the Bible says about how important it is to submit to Christ and serve him only. And you know what’s going to happen? They’re going to miss the way. They are missing their way to heaven.
Jesus Christ says, “I am the WAY, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me.” In other words, the only way to eternal life in heaven is through a personal relationship with Christ.
Unfortunately though, a lot of people (people like you!) are missing that way because they are rushing through life. They are thinking, “I don’t have time to deal with all that religious stuff. I’m in season now. I got practice and I got to train.” Then in the fall they are saying, “I got to focus on school. If I don’t, I won’t get a good job.” Then they get a job, and then a wife. And then children come along. All they are doing is rushing through life without taking the time to think about Christ.
And I want you guys to know that someone who lives this way—someone who makes haste with his feet and does not give heed to God’s word, is on the fast track to hell.
It’s important that you not be like this fool that is described here in this verse. Make sure you are wise and take that principle that is so fundamental to the basketball and apply it to the whole of your life.
And the good news is that, if we do this—if we submit to Christ and let His Word govern our life’s decisions, He will pardon all our reckless, impulsive acts and He will give us eternal life.
This past September the newswire was abuzz with the discovery of a new species of dinosaur. The discovery was big because it was just that: big. This dinosaur is said to be the biggest dinosaur discovered to date. Archeologists actually have a category for the most colossal dinosaurs called “titanausars.” This particular dinosaur is unique because it is supposed to be the largest of all the titanausars that have ever been found.
It is estimated that the beast would have stood as high as of the biggest buildings in downtown Mansfield (seven stories).
What is amazing about this beast is that the experts say that it was still yet a juvenile. They can tell from the fossil composition that it was just a kid. It died in the prime of life, and still had potential to grow even bigger.
Ken Lacovara was the paleontologist who discovered the behemoth. He gave a sketch of what the animal’s feeding habits would have been like. You know how teenagers eat. Imagine a 65 ton teenager. He said the beast must have cleared whole forests almost on a daily basis. He says that as big as it was the whole day would have been spent grazing and chomping down trees in order to get enough calories to sustain itself.
Lacovara seemed to be most impressed with the dinosaur’s 30 foot long tail. He said that the tailbones are gargantuan, even in comparison with other titanosaurs’ tails. These bones could be up to a yard in diameter and they display the scars of muscle tissue that tell us that essentially this was nothing more than a weaponized tail.
It was of such immense stature and would have possessed such incredible power that they say it would have been impervious to any predator. Even though it was a plant eater, it was too intimidating for any carnivorous beast to attack. Thus they named this greatest of all dinosaurs, this titanausar of titanosaurs, Dreadnoughtus; “fears nothing.”
As we have been studying the book of Hebrews we have been making something of a similar discovery. Our study has been a lot like an excavation of the Old Testament. As we dig through Hebrews we have unearthed various figures; they were the titanausars of the OT: angels, Moses, the priesthood. Yet, there is one who stands out above all others. No one can even begin to match this colossal giant whom we are studying. Indeed, we have found that Jesus Christ is something of the titanausar of all titanausars. When we compare him to the largest and most imposing figures of the Old Testament, we find that Christ supersedes them in every way.
But here in this passage we discover that Christ is anything but a puny priest. He is a robust priest; maybe we could call him a titan priest. For we find him being described as one who is in the order of Melchizedek.
In John Bunyan’s classic Pilgrim’s Progress the main character, whose name is Christian, finds himself resting on his journey to the Celestial City at the House of Interpreter. While at this house Interpreter takes him around to different rooms, and in these rooms he learns different life lessons.
In one of the rooms he entered he found a man sitting in an iron cage.
It was Bunyan’s picture of an apostate. The man in the cage was descriptive of the one who had committed the unpardonable sin. The iron bars represented the man’s inability to be saved. He was trapped in his sin and unbelief. His despair was indicative of his being forever doomed.
Christian spoke with the man and asked him how he came to that state. The man in the cage responded by saying, “I failed to be watchful and sober. I sinned against the light of the word and the goodness of God; I have grieved the Spirit, and he is gone; I tempted the devil, and he came to me; I have so hardened my heart, that I cannot repent.
18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, 'He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.'
This verse explicitly defines the doctrine of election (that God ordained some to everlasting life); and it strongly infers by way of negation the doctrine of reprobation (that God ordained who would be damned): Judas being essentially being one who is “not chosen.”
The doctrine of reprobation is much disputed. People can’t believe that a good and loving God can actively choose to consign people to hell.
How do we answer someone who suggests this?
I believe that Scripture (particularly Romans 9) leans towards the latter. One might even look at it from a rational point of view: When a coach selects his starting lineup, even though he "actively" names the starters, he just as "actively" non-names the bench players. –Todd Pedlar
Let’s look at a couple other Scriptures dealing with reprobation. What do we learn from them?
Let’s back up. What does John 13:18 have to say about reprobation? (Reprobation is actually to be a doctrine of comfort to the disciples!)
19 I am telling you this now, before it takes place, that when it does take place you may believe that I am he.
Jesus here acts as a prophet foretelling the future. What attribute does this display? Why was it important that they know ahead of time that all this was going to transpire?
Answer: It is a comfort that not one thing was outside his preview. All of this was orchestrated by his design. He planned his own death and was bringing it to pass. All this is for the purpose of strengthening our faith
20 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me."
After having talked about reprobation, he reminds them of the gospel. He who betrays Christ betrays the one who sent Him (and think of the evil that will befall Judas for it!). Now think of the flip side: The disciples will have the opportunity to bear witness to Christ (they will not fall away). They also will have communion with the Father. The contrast is quite sharp, and comforting.
21-26 Jesus' reveals his betrayer
It is interesting that Jesus knew which would betray him. But it is not like this was a revelation that just came to him. John 6:64 tells us that He knew it from the very get go. Whether he knew it by divine intuition or by his supreme understanding of the scripture & his messianic office doesn't really matter. What matters is that he knew it. What’s more, He lived 3 years alongside Judas with that knowledge!
How do you think this affected Him? How does that knowledge affect you? Is there any practical benefit from this?
Answer: Think of it like this, Jesus loved and served his greatest enemy. As one of our members said-- None of the disciples even had a clue that Judas was the betrayer. That seems to indicate that Jesus didn’t treat him any differently than the rest. Jesus loved him just as much as the others.)
27 Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, "What you are going to do, do quickly."
Some commentators say that Jesus not only predicted his betrayal, but he “sealed it.” What do you think?
Answer: You may quibble with whether or not Jesus sealed his betrayal, but at least we can agree that Jesus hurried Judas along. Yes, Satan entered Judas, but Jesus pushes him out the door and sets it into motion. If He doesn't seal his betrayal, t is certainly evident that Jesus “commissions” Judas to stop piddling around and get it done.
In all reality, Jesus is acting out his priestly office. He is not only sacrifice, but sacrificer. He brings the knife to his own throat, so to speak. In doing this we see Christ’s control over all the affairs and (most of all) understand that he freely willingly becomes our savior. None of this comes about accidently. He brings it about with unflinching resolve.
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Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.