Football season has kicked off and every week millions of people cheer on their favorite team. Now, every time I watch a football game, I can’t help but think how much football & Moses have in common. Yes, Moses…the one in the Bible! I know, you probably think I’m crazy. Don’t worry. My husband gave me an eye roll the moment I said that too, but it’s true. Let me share with you what all football and Moses have in common.
What do Football & Moses have in common?
We will go from the most obvious to the least obvious.
1 – The Crowd of People
Although some faithfully stand by their team or Moses, the majority are more fair weather fans. In Moses’ case, when the Israelites were making their way out of Egypt, they were super excited until they dead-ended into the Red Sea and claimed God brought them out into the dessert to die. There were plenty of times that a massive wave of grumblings could be heard from the crowd. Oh, and when garlic and onions weren’t available, shoot, all bets were off and Egyptian slavery never sounded so good.
Why did we pick this guy for a coach again? Why are we following this guy in the desert? Crowds seem to focus on the perceived failure rather than the winning streak. Yep, faithful crowds are hard to find as evidenced by tickets sales for a losing team.
2 – Sponsored Drinks
Football has Gatorade © while God’s people had the first water fountains powered by God. How cool must that have been?
What? There is no water here? The people are complaining of thirst? Ok, Moses, go over there and hit the rock and let the water come forth. Oh, they are thirsty again? Just talk to the rock this time. No matter that Moses was leading the Israelites through the desert, God made sure that they stayed hydrated and nourished for 40 years.
3 – The Quarterback
In this analogy, Moses holds the quarterback position. Both Moses and the quarterback are given the plays, make the calls and then lead the team to victory. Sure in a football game it only takes on average 3 hours and 12 minutes times 16 games during a season, and Moses had to lead for 40 years without stopping, so Moses definitely gets the hall of fame record for longevity over the typical quarterback but you get the idea. They both make the calls that will run the team to victory.
4 – The Playbook
Yes, Moses sure did have a playbook – The 10 Commandments. It was by these 10 main plays that every decision in regards to guiding and making decisions could be made. Yes, God went more into detail on many things from how to be ceremonially clean to even who to conquer but these 10 commandments were special and taught the people the basics of how to love God and love each other.
5 – The Head Coach
Well, it’s not to difficult to figure out who the head coach is in this Biblical analogy – God, right!?! The cool thing about God being the headcoach is that he was literally with his team night and day. Leading them by a pillar of fire at night and a cloud by day. They did not have to wonder which direction he was going, they could just look up and know whether or not they needed to continue on for the day or camp out and rest for a bit. He provided physical guidance and sustenance as well as spiritual encouragement.
6 – The Footwear
You’ve gotta admit that football players grind the field with some pretty fancy footwear. Moses and the Isrealites did too. Unlike the seasonal shoes football players wear, God’s chosen people had footwear that lasted 40 years! They NEVER wore out, or gave them blisters!
7 – Penalty Flags
Emotions run high both in football and in wandering the dessert for 40 years. When emotions run high, sometimes self-control is lost and penalty flags get thrown.
We know some of the Israelites received penalty flags when they decided to bow down to a golden calf. They had to drink the melted gold, 3000 people died by the sword and then they were hit with a plague. Then another group tried to usurp Moses’ God-given authority and were swallowed up by the ground, but they weren’t alone.
Moses also received some penalty flags of his own. When he let his anger over the people’s unfaithfulness get out of control, he smashed the 10 commandments that were written by the hand of God. His penalty flag was having to chisel out the second set of tablets.
Another penalty flag was thrown when Moses decided to hit the rock to get drinkable water instead of talking to it like God commanded. The lack of trust caused him to be ejected from the final quarter of the game – entering the Promised Land. By God’s grace and mercy he was able to see the Promised Land, but never got to enjoy it.
8 – Football Goal
Every time I see a football goal, I am reminded of how Moses had to hold up the staff in his hand. Whenever Joshua and the Israelites were fighting the Amalekits, as long as his arms were up, the Israelites were winning. Just like in football, Moses could never have kept his arms up alone. Aaron and Hur, his teammates, stepped up and aided Moses when he struggled to lift his arms. They gave him support and kept them up until the battle was one.
9 – The Hall of Fame
Every football player longs to see their name placed in the hall of fame. In order to get there, they sacrifice, they work harder and push themselves more than what is comfortable.
Followers of Christ long for the same thing. We long for our names to be in the heavenly hall of fame and we work much the same way. We don’t let the sneers of the world get us down, when we are listening to God’s calling in our lives. We focus on Christ and his promises instead of the temptations to be lazy and just go with the flow. Moses is definitely a hall of famer and gives us hope in how to trust God with all we have!
Moses’ name is cited both in the heavenly hall of fame and the Hebrews’ Hall of Faith (Fame).
“By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.
By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.
By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of blood, so that the destroyer of the firstborn would not touch the firstborn of Israel.
By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as on dry land; but when the Egyptians tried to do so, they drowned.” – Hebrews 11:24-29
The next time you see a football field or are cheering on your favorite team, remember to cheer on yourself and your fellow brothers & sisters in Christ on this faith journey. Use Moses as your inspiration to keep going, pushing yourself to be what God is calling you to be, and extending yourself out of that comfort zone so that instead of just cheering from the stands, you’ll be scoring the winning play. For it is not those who start the game strong, but those who finish strong that will have their names in the heavenly hall of fame.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. – Paul (2 Timothy 4:7)
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