Summary: I want to talk to you about over how to refocus your life and finish strong.
Dr. Marty Baker | November 3, 2019
Do we have any football fans here today? How many of you are college football fans? How about NFL fans? This is the midpoint of the NFL season.
One of the marks of successful football team is the ability to change their game plan as needed at half time. In the locker room, the coaches look at what went wrong, what went right, and then adjust their game plan so to put them in the best possible position to play a winning second half. In the end, you know that games are won or lost in the second half.
We know that life can be a lot like football. So, let’s imagine for a moment that you are in the game of your life. The clock is winding down in the second quarter and you are entering half time.
It is time for you to reassess. It’s time to refocus. That’s what I want to talk to you about over the next few minutes, how to refocus your life and finish strong.
Today, I am going to look at two characters from the Bible that made adjustments at halftime. Ironically both of these individuals were named Saul.
These guys lived one thousand years apart, and both of them came to a defining moment in their lives and their response to those situations ultimately changed the game.
The Old Testament Saul became the first King of the nation of Israel. Prior to Saul’s coronation as King, the nation of Israel was led by spiritual leaders called prophets. During this season, the people of Israel wanted to be like other countries. They wanted a King, so God allowed the Prophet Samuel to anoint Saul as their King.
Everything was good. King Saul was enjoying his life and he had the favor of God on his work. He fought several successful wars and worked to stop the spread of idolatry and witchcraft in Israel.
In 1 Samuel, chapter 10 of the Old Testament, King Saul was at the top of his game. The second quarter was winding down and there were only a few minutes left before half time. Everything was good … that is, until Samuel was late for an appointment.
Have you ever been late for an appointment? I hate being late. I grew up in a family that was always early. I can remember going to a Carolina-Clemson game when I was a kid and getting to the stadium at 8:45 AM in the morning for a noon kick-off. They did not open the stadium until 9:00AM.
My wife, Patty, on the other hand, grew up in a house where the School bus driver would blow the horn every day to see if she was ready. I was the first in line every day for the bus. 6:30 AM.
A few years ago, we took both sets of parents to Alaska on vacation…the Bakers who are early birds and the Andersons who bring up the rear. The average age of the group at that time was around 75. It was humorous. When dinner was at 6:00 PM, my parents would knock on our door at 5:40. I would say, “Go back to your room. We will get you at 6:00.” Then, we would tell Patty’s parents, we are going to dinner, we will save you a place.”
Over the years, we have learned that for two strong-willed people to work together, compromise must be at the core of their relationship. Through the years, Patty and I have compromised. At times, I have learned to wait patiently while she speeds up and at other times, she allows me to go on.
Back to the story. The nation of Israel was preparing for battle. They needed the blessing of the Lord in order for them to be victorious. Samuel, as their spiritual leader, had the responsibility of spiritually preparing the army for battle. Now, Samuel was late and God used Samuel’s late arrival to test Saul’s heart.
When Samuel did not show up on time, King Saul got anxious about this battle. Instead of waiting on Samuel and ultimately God’s timing, Saul took matters into his own hands. He offered the sacrifices to the Lord without Samuel’s involvement.
In essence, King Saul said, “I don’t need Samuel to connect me to God. There are many paths that lead to God and I will do it by myself.” At this moment, King Saul lost focus and edged God out of his life. Think about that: edge God out … E…G…O. When our ego takes over, it always leads to trouble. Here’s the point:
When you lose focus on God, you are headed toward trouble.
The Bible says that pride comes before the fall. If you get cocky at half time, there is a good chance that you will lose the game in the second half. Maybe that’s what the Falcons did and maybe that where some of you are.