God and Sporting Events

Happy Super Sunday!  Scripturally, who you do think God is rooting for in today’s Super Bowl?  I believe there is a clear answer for this issue, heavyweight boxing matches, baseball playoffs and everything else relating to human sporting events.

However, this does not stop Christians who should know better from making some absurd statements.

For example, I got an e-mail a while ago stating that God caused the Red Sox to win the World Series so that attention would be attracted to New England, where He wants to pour out revival.  The letter went so far as to actually state “prophetically” that God had interfered with the Colorado Rockies to cause them to lose so that this would happen.  I assume that this person had OD’ed on Disney movies or something since he certainly hadn’t OD’ed on Scripture.  (The person was serious, in case you’re wondering.)

Can a coach pray with his team to ask God for a victory in the game? Can a team “believe they receive” victory? The obvious problem with this is highlighted by a RHEMA yearbook picture I saw of a pitcher throwing the ball toward a batter. The caption had two parts that went something like this:

“I believe I’m gonna hit a home run.”
“I believe I’m gonna strike him out.”

God cannot possibly honor prayers for victory from both sides. But He won’t honor them from one side either. Even Jesus’ enemies acknowledged that He does not show personal favoritism (Luke 20:21), and Paul said that God shows personal favoritism to no man (Galatians 2:6), that He shows no partiality (Colossians 3:25) and that there is no partiality with God (Romans 2:11).  Peter said that God shows no partiality (Acts 10:34) and that God judges without partiality (1 Peter 1:17).

In fact, James says that Christians are in sin if THEY play favorites in church! God doesn’t sin, so He cannot play favorites since that’s a sin!

Now I don’t know about you, but this is why I find it irritating when someone wins some championship and thanks God for giving them the victory. (When God says that He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ, He obviously isn’t talking about a sporting event.) While it’s nice to glorify God, it’s a little nuts to glorify God for something that He, playing no personal favorites, did not actually do.  What impression does that give the public of God?

I suppose you COULD thank God for helping you do your best, and I believe that people have the right to ask God to help them do their best.  If someone is injured, he has the right to believe he receives healing as a Christian. (Wouldn’t that make a nice testimony?) On the other hand, a blitzing safety would have no right to pray, “Lord, help me injure Eli Manning and take him out of the game!”  And it would be witchcraft, not Christianity, to “pray” something like “Lord, please let Plaxico Burress get hurt so that he can’t catch any passes and run his mouth afterward.”

Now that you’ve seen some Scriptures about playing favorites, let me ask you a question.  Do you REALLY believe that God does not play favorites? Or are you convinced that He gives some people a break and not others?  (And of course, in this last scenario, you’re the one who never seems to catch the breaks.) Does God love that successful televangelist (and there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with being a televangelist) more than a small-town preacher?  Does He give that successful businessman all the breaks while denying you any help?  NO! God is fair. God is completely just.  You must not blame God for any perceived failure to get ahead in your life. A lot depends on us, even in natural things.  I’ve had people tell me, “Must be nice to be able to play the piano like that.” It IS nice.  But I wonder how nice these people would think it would be to practice the piano an hour a day (and as many as four hours toward the very end) during 12 years of lessons.  That’s what I did.  God gave me the talent, but I had to do something with it, and it had nothing to do with God just giving me a “lucky break”.