The NFL season officially began yesterday and I’m sure many of us were glued to our TV sets in anticipation that our team would win the day. In fact, leading up to yesterday you may have participated in a fantasy football league or even gone to a game yourself. Whether it’s the NFL or your favorite college team, be careful of turning from the things you love. The term “football widows” comes to mind when men ignore their wives and are completely taken in by the football season. Some wise words from the book of Hosea may help us understand how it breaks God’s heart when we replace him, even if only for a short time, with something else.
“When Israel was a youth I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son. The more they called them, The more they went from them; They kept sacrificing to the Baals And burning incense to idols. Yet it is I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them in My arms; But they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of a man, with bonds of love, And I became to them as one who lifts the yoke from their jaws; And I bent down and fed them. They will not return to the land of Egypt; But Assyria, he will be their king Because they refused to return to Me. The sword will whirl against their cities, And will demolish their gate bars And consume them because of their counsels. So My people are bent on turning from Me.Though they call them to the One on high, None at all exalts Him. How can I give you up, O Ephraim. How can I surrender you, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboim? My heart is turned over within Me, All My compassions are kindled.” (Hosea 11:1-8 Nasb)
Can you hear God’s broken heart because His people have left him to worship something else? He doesn’t abandon them, He keeps after them as any loving father would do for a wayward child. The last verse really gives us a glimpse at God’s heart. God’s heart is broken! May it never be that any of us who call Jesus Savior would break God’s heart.
So, this season, before you make your wife or family a widow, before you abandon going to church on Sunday, before you pick up the sports page first instead of the Bible, THINK! We never want to break God’s heart over something as silly as a football game. Enjoy the season but keep God first, it can be done!