Summary: Gleaning some spiritual lessons on the spiritual attitude from an Olympics Saga!!!
Hey, we had an exciting Olympics time!!! From August 7th to August 21st, billions were glued to their TV sets enjoying the rich fare being dished out by the World’s best athletes in the “Cauldron at Rio”. In the all the excitement during the “Greatest games on Planet Earth” did the name of “Jim Thorpe” ring a bell? Well arguably he was the greatest athlete, a sporting all rounder if you like of 20th century considering his events were a combination of five or 10 sporting disciplines. Blessed with abundant natural talent in the Early days of Olympic movement when “amateurism was the order of the day”, Thorpe virtually “torpedoed” the competition into submission by winning the gold medals in the Pentathlon and Decathlon events of 1912 Olympics (Cricket equivalent of batting, bowling, fielding and wicket-keeping). Encomiums were predictably showered upon him on his glorious Olympic victories by the Olympic authorities but heartbreak was only round the corner for this glorious Athletics "All-rounder". Very soon his gold medals were cruelly withdrawn by that same Olympic officialdom which had sung his praises on the allegations that this versatile athlete had connections with professional baseball. Sadly, professionalism was a “Forbidden fruit” to myopic Olympic movement of those days. Should not best of athletes be allowed to participate in the greatest sporting event organized to showcase the best of athletic ability? Finally, sanity dawned upon Olympic movement and that is why we have modern-day NBA professionals “displaying their wares” in the Basketball court in Olympics now. To complete the Thorpe saga, International Olympic Committee finally “realized their mistake” and his Olympic medals were restored posthumously, in 1982.
Times really have not changed, have they? In the Biblical realm also people have been consistent in their inconsistency while dealing with their leaders. Good many times, great motivators have been made heroes’ to be only reduced to zero status the very next moment. Sad to say, people have been vacillating in their attitude towards the Almighty also (yes, He too has not been spared). In this message , I would like to focus on 4 incidents in the Scriptures, which brings to the fore extreme mood swings of the public contrasted with eternal unchanging ways of the Creator (Heb 13:8), who consistently and lovingly bears our inconsistencies.
From Water to Vapor…
In Chapter 15 of the Book of Exodus, we see Israelites at their eccentric best all over the subject of WATER! At the beginning of the Chapter, we see them going gaga over their Redeemer God drowning the wicked Pharaoh and his army/cavalry in the Red Sea waters however, even before some water had flown under the “Nile bridge” as it were, we see them turning bitter (towards the end of that very chapter) over the issue of…yes… some bitter water this time (Exodus 15:22-24). Only some time back their praises for their Savior was overflowing like River water during monsoon time only to evaporate very soon and worse…turn into a bitter complaint. Now what about the unchanging God, did He make a big fuss over the fussy ways of His people? NO! Rather He immediately provided sweet water to them (Exodus 15:25). Yes in this fallen world (Romans 8:22-23), no one is exempt from problems but that doesn’t grant us license to turn bitter and use the intemperate language (Exodus 14:11)…the kind the people of Israel used when confronted with difficulties. Viewed positively, problems are an opportunity for us to lean upon Him, who would either immediately get us out of our messy situations (Psalm 50:15) or would give us His grace to grin and bear them for His glory(2 Cor 12:8-12)!
From a Shepherd to a Scapegoat…
David was now in great danger because all his men were very bitter about losing their sons and daughters, and they began to talk of stoning him… (I Samuel 30:6).
David and his faithful (?) men after an incomplete military expedition had just arrived home (Ziklag, where David was in hiding, as King Saul was hunting for his life) only to find that their perpetual enemies-Amalekites- in their absence had raided their town, looted their property and carried off their wives and children. This experience was a shock for David with a capital S…now his problems were being compounded as his men, whom he had so faithfully led as a good shepherd for some years now were making him a scapegoat for all this mess. Talk of some people being predictably unpredictable…
I reiterate, times have not changed as fickle human mentality has not changed. “This daughter-in-law of ours has brought ill-fortune to our family”…so goes the refrain in some nominal Christian circles…if a tragedy were to befall a family, despite no fault of that innocent daughter-in-law. Talk of silly mood swings…!
To complete the David story…this exemplary Leader of men did in this moment of crisis, what great men of faith had always done…depended on the Lord to solve their knotty problems…But David found strength in the LORD his God vs 6. Once He depended on the Lord, things started falling into place…one by one…so much so towards the end of that same chapter, we find David and his men rescuing their families from the kidnappers. Say Pastor are you sick and tired of some of your fickle flock? Draw patience from our Patient God (Heb 12:3-4)…like David did! Say Child of God are you a bit depressed by inconsistent people around you, look unto the Unchanging One and be encouraged.