Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned. . . . Romans 5:12
Umpire Don Briggs has done what many umpires only dream of doing.
According to the Associated Press, Don ejected everyone in the stands at a recent high school baseball game.
While the ump had no problems with the student athletes, he said the fans had become unruly; they were yelling and arguing.
The superintendent from one of the schools said he didn't see anything out of the norm taking place in the stands. A policeman, who was called as a precaution, and in all probability a wise move, said he hadn't seen any unruliness, either.
No matter what people think of umpire Don Briggs' decision, the rules say his decision was final.
I wonder what God thought as He watched the game and observed the actions of the fans and Don Briggs. Most certainly He would have understood the ump's dilemma.
As the Creator and Preserver of the Universe, God's rulings -- His decisions -- are final. There is no higher court to which anyone can appeal. Even so, ever since humankind was kicked out of the Garden for disobedience, God has been criticized for getting carried away and overreacting.
When the Lord says in Ezekiel 18:20a, "the soul who sins shall die," people object. When He decrees that only through faith in Jesus can someone be saved, His critics think He is narrow-minded. Yes, I think the Lord understands the reaction of the crowd to umpire Briggs.
Of course, there are a few differences between the Lord's decisions and that of the Iowa umpire. While an ump's decisions might be wrong, the Lord's rulings are right on.
But there's more. When the ump emptied the stands, there was no opportunity for people to get back in. Not so with the Lord. So that we might be forgiven and get back into the game, the Lord punished His innocent Son in our stead. Now, because Jesus lived, suffered, died, and rose again, we can get into heaven.
And although umpire Don Briggs may be a wonderful guy, he's not going to punish his son for the sins of an unruly crowd.
That's the kind of thing only a merciful and gracious God would do.
THE PRAYER: Dear heavenly Father, allow me to give thanks for Jesus who was punished so I might be given heaven. Now, in gratitude for what He has done, may I live my life properly and in a way that glorifies Him. In His Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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