(The LORD said) "But My people did not listen to My voice; Israel would not submit to Me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels. Oh, that My people would listen to Me, that Israel would walk in my ways!" Psalms 81:11-13
Last year the Gunderson High Grizzlies tied for the league championship. This year the team has lost 17 games and won only three.
Quite a change, wouldn't you say?
Actually, 17-3 is a pretty good presentation, considering Coach Mike Allen is playing the A-squads of other schools, with his junior varsity mixed together with some sophomores and freshman.
And if you think there is a story behind those opening sentences, you would be right.
Earlier in the season Coach Allen suspended his five top players. He said they had violated their signed Code of Conduct, by coming to practice late, talking back and being disrespectful. The rest of the Grizzly's varsity team walked off in support of their comrades.
Coach Allen says if he had to do it over again, he would. That's because for Coach Allen, honor, integrity, respect and keeping your word are the things he wants his boys to learn first, when they play on his squad. If the winning comes, that's wonderful, but a basketball game will soon be forgotten, while those lessons of life will be remembered forever.
The Lord understands and agrees.
Since humankind fell into sin the Lord has been coaching His people to go one way, and they have preferred to go another. Like the Grizzly varsity, we talk back and are, generally speaking, disrespectful of the Lord.
While He is concerned about our eternal home, we are worried about getting all the stuff for an earthly house. When the Lord sends His Son to save us from our sins, we prefer God give us material blessings.
Little wonder the Lord has regularly suspended His people -- put them on the bench until they were willing to repent and listen.
It's all His way of teaching us an important lesson. He wants us to know the stuff of life is relatively inconsequential. It's His way to teach us that we are to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, then all the rest will fall into place.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, grant that we may listen to Your voice and set aside our ignorance, in favor of following Your wisdom. Send Your Holy Spirit, so we may walk in Your ways and give thanks for Jesus who has saved us from our sins. This we ask in the Savior's Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries