“Yep, he just threw out the red flag so he’s definitely challenging the call” is a familiar soundbite heard during NFL games when the head coach wants to question the ruling made on the field by the officiating crew. In the crew’s defense, these full-speed, split-second decisions can be very difficult and they do seem to get it right most of the time.
But once the red flag is deployed, the game screeches to a halt while the lead official watches various replays from many different angles in super slow motion to determine if the original call was accurate (“stands” or “is confirmed”) or needs to be completely reversed. The moment of truth arrives as the official emerges from the hood, faces the camera, and declares the verdict, “Upon further review…”
We know our culture is refusing to accept more and more of God’s calls, but have you ever thrown out the challenge flag on the Lord? Guilty. “God, you really missed that one.” “That’s not what I expected.” “I don’t believe that’s true.” “That’s not fair and I won’t accept it.” And so out comes the red flag.
Statistics show, on average, coaches win their challenges just about 50% of the time. How often have you won your challenges against God? Thought so. Oh, God’s calls are frequently disputed by us on the playing field, but they cannot be reversed because they need not be reversed. We can view them from any angle we wish, argue until we have no more words left to say and replay them over and over in our minds, but God’s rulings are always perfect.
Job didn’t like several of God’s calls and threw out the red flag, “I wish there was an umpire between us, who could lay his hand upon us both!” (Job 9:33). Been there. But like each one of us who has questioned the Lord’s accuracy or fairness, He asks, “Will you discredit My justice and condemn Me just to prove you are right?” (Job 40:8 NLT).
Even when we don’t fully understand, we must believe and accept God’s calls as the infallible, indisputable, perfect, good and wise Word and Will for our lives. “I [now] know that You can do all things; no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that questions My wisdom with such ignorance?’ It is I—and I was talking about things I knew nothing about, things far too wonderful for me. I am unworthy—how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth” (Job 42:1-3; 40:4). Like brother Job, perhaps we aren’t nearly as brilliant as we think we are.
Some of us expend far too much energy challenging God’s calls when we’d be way better off simply obeying His call. Perhaps a worthy 2017 resolution might be to keep the red flag in our pockets because, upon further review, God’s Word and Will are confirmed.
The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes. The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever. The decrees of the Lord are firm, and all of them are righteous. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the honeycomb. By them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. Psalm 19:7-11 NIV
© 2016 Tim McKenzie
On Every Word Ministries