Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

Sports Spectrum Daily Devotional: Thursday, May 6

“The Israelites said to them, ‘If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.'” — Exodus 16:3

Remembering The Past

The 2000s were a great time to be a Red Sox fan. They broke “The Curse of the Bambino” in 2004, won another World Series in 2007, and made the playoffs six out of seven seasons from 2003-2009. 

But even as the defending champions in 2008, they had fans booing them during the American League Championship Series against Tampa Bay. I was struck by how much of a “What have you done for me lately?” attitude was prevalent among fans. This was the Boston Red Sox, arguably the team of the decade.

What I found so odd was that players like David Ortiz and Jason Varitek were getting booed. These were two of the main reasons the Red Sox were able to break the curse in 2004. They were part of an historic team that came from 3-0 down to beat their nemesis, the New York Yankees. It’s not like it had been since 2004 that they won; the Red Sox had just won a second title in four years.

Yet, the Red Sox were not immune from boos in Fenway Park. This isn’t a condemnation on Boston fans, as this is very common in today’s sports culture. The Yankees did the same thing to Joe Torre, who was run out of New York despite 12 straight playoff appearances — because the Yankees hadn’t won a World Series in seven years. They must have forgot he won four titles in his first five seasons. At Ohio State, Jim Tressel had a great run from 2001-2010, but if you listened to a lot of their fans, it was more about the games they lost than the national title won in 2002, five top-five finishes in the six seasons, four Big Ten titles, and a 6-1 record against Michigan.

When the Israelites saw one of the greatest miracles (the parting of the Red Sea), surely they would trust in the Lord their God, wouldn’t they? Nope. In Exodus 16, just two chapters later, they were already complaining to God and Moses about being led out of Egypt to starve to death. They had forgotten what God had done for them.

While it’s easy for us to criticize the Israelites, I think it’s more appropriate to look at ourselves. Jesus delivered us from our sin and can deliver us from or through any circumstance. Are we reminding ourselves of this, or are we complaining about our situation as the Israelites did? It is always important to remind ourselves what He did for us and not to forget. By not forgetting, we are in the right mind heading toward the future.

The great thing is with our God, He doesn’t fall short the way our sports teams do.

— Brendan Handel

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