Wednesday, March 18, 2015

March Madness and "Playing Loose"

As the NCAA Basketball Tournament approaches, watch for teams that play loose...and notice teams that play "tight." The teams that play loose are fun to watch. They are simply enjoying the game...and they often win. But, if they lose, they usually lose having played their best. As I make my way through the Old Testament in my daily readings, I came across Judges 5:2 this morning. It is a song written after the female judge Deborah encouraged a Jewish solider (a general perhaps?) to lead Israel into battle against the enemy. Deborah encouraged Barak and the troops that God promised the victory. As a result of such encouragement, Barak and Israel, "played loose," fought valiantly and won the battle. Judges 5:2 is an interesting verse: "That the leaders took the lead in Israel, that the people offered themselves willingly, bless the LORD." The Hebrew is difficult. Literally it says something like "the long-haired ones let their hair hang loose." Israel let their hair down! They didn't play tight. They weren't afraid to fail. The knew they would win so they trusted God's promise and played loose. And as is often the case when we play loose...we experience victory. How are you "playing the game" of the Christian life today? Are you playing tight because of fear? Are you afraid to fail or afraid to make a mistake? Or, basking in God's grace and the promise of His favor, delight and power, are you playing loose? Are you letting your hair down and going for it? That's what Deborah encouraged Israel to do in Judges 4:14--"Up! For this is the day in which the LORD has given Sisera into your hand. Does not the LORD go out before you?" Does not the LORD go out before you today? Take courage! Be of good cheer! Play loose! And maybe even take in some "March Madness."

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