Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Great Is Thy Faithfulness"1 (Lyrics)
In the news, commentators announced that this year's fee for a thirty-second commercial during Super Bowl XLIX (49) will be four and a half million dollars. I thought to myself, What if I, as an emissary for God, were awarded the opportunity for a half-minute spot to say anything I wanted before an estimated audience of 72,000 in the stadium, over 125 million viewers on television, and perhaps 50 million listeners on radio?
The King James Version of the Bible comprises 31,102 verses. What I would do is to choose a passage and trust that the Holy Spirit would apply it to millions of listening football fans. Most Christians would likely choose this:
John 3:16-17 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (KJV)
However, all parts of the Bible are the equally-inspired Word of God. Consider what might happen if, instead, I used the following chronicle filled with intrigue about a left-handed judge by the name of Ehud and an obese Moabite king, Eglon:
Judges 3:16,21 – Ehud made himself a double-edged sword 18 inches long. He strapped it to his right thigh under his clothes. Ehud reached with his left hand, took the sword from his right thigh, and plunged it into Eglon's belly. (HCSB)
The rest of the story is nothing but gory details. But God had a rationale for its documentation.
God's chosen people had been seduced into idolatry and unfaithfulness. A repeating pattern characterized them as a nation: prosperity, decline, bondage, repentance, and then deliverance. The sequence is cyclical, much like our own society. Israel had backslidden and an evil king, Eglon, ruled them for eighteen years. However, upon hearing Israel's cries of repentance, God raised up a second judge, Ehud, who delivered them with a two-edged sword. The result: Israel had peace in the land for eighty years.
Interestingly, the image of a two-edged sword is also descriptive of God's Word:
Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (NIV)
Some may consider the following passage to be an alternative way to state the same truth:
2 Timothy 3:16 – All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. (NLT)
Without time for explanation, the story of Ehud is probably not the best Scripture to recite during a Super Bowl commercial. Nevertheless, people need to know that sin has consequences, but God honours repentance. And though Christians must live in the world, they are not to be of the world. Therefore, guidance by God's Word — a double-edged sword — leads to victorious living.
Prayer: Father God, we thank You for our so great salvation and Your instruction manual to light our path. Render us strong when commissioned to evangelize. When given opportunities, may our witness not return void. We offer our testimonies to Your glory. In Your Son's name, we pray. Amen.