30 June 2010

Yellow Card and other warnings

You would have to be almost dead to miss the World Cup of late in South Africa. The Beautiful game, soccer, futbol, football, whatever you call it, has captured fans worldwide for generations. Now we are down to 8 teams, representing their country: Argentina, Germany, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Ghana, Netherlands and Spain.

The use of the yellow card, pictured here, is a big deal. There are so few penalties and so much riding on penalty kicks/goals. One extra penalty on your side, and you could give away the match and have to wait another four years for a rematch. If you get too many yellows, you exempt yourself from playing in the next match. or if in the same match, you incur the red, thus diminishing your side's strength. I know, it can be confusing, sorry, but all up, it's a warning.

In Australia we have warnings for all kinds of things. Swim between the flags; watch out for cattle and sheep crossing; Watch Out, Kids about; and hundreds more.

I remember crossing a new marking on the ground in Sydney. It took me a while to sort out what the warning was about. It was yellow. It was an alert to be sure, but now only 7 months later, I drive right through the warning without much thought. A couple months later, they added pennants on the ground as another warning, but still I often miss those.

What is it about warnings? What is it about us? We seem to notice them for a bit, but over time, the impact is lost.

Consider the Bible. Consider the warnings we read there. Consider the shock they are to us when we first hear them. And note your own continued consideration of them. But God is ever reaching out to us, warning us of misbehavior and mis-belief... so that we can keep our relationship with him in good order.

Jer. 11.7 ‘For I solemnly warned your fathers in the day that I brought them up from the land of Egypt, even to this day, warning persistently, saying, “Listen to My voice.”

Deut. 32.46 he said to them, “Take to your heart all the words with which I am warning you today, which you shall command your sons to observe carefully, even all the words of this law.

The most uses of the word is in Ezekiel chapter 33 "then he who hears the sound of the trumpet and does not take warning, and a sword comes and takes him away, his blood will be on his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, but did not take warning; his blood will be on himself. But had he taken warning, he would have delivered his life. .. Now as for you, son of man, I have appointed you a watchman for the house of Israel; so you will hear a message from My mouth, and give them warning from Me. (verses 4, 5, 7)

Consider Noah, who warned his fellow citizens about impending doom and preached for 120 years, to no avail.
Consider Jonah, the prophet and the whaler. But consider what God told Jonah to do. "The word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh the great city, and cry against it, for their wickedness has come up before Me.” (chapter 1. verses 1-2) God's love is for all people. He cares enough to warn them. He cared enough to send one of his best to tell them the bad/good news. What great love!

Consider Jesus. He warned Peter, his mentee, to admit their relationship. He cautioned Peter that during the night of Jesus' arrest, Peter would knock back that admission. "But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, a cock crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a cock crows today, you will deny Me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly. (Luke 22.60-62)

Think of Peter, who although he failed the Lord on this matter, and his weeping was warranted, still, there was a private considerate appeal. Jesus looked at Peter. He didn't shout at him saying, "You loser! What's wrong with you? I walked with you and let you walk on the water with me. Now, you dissociate yourself from me? Come on, turn it around!" No, Jesus gave Peter yet another chance. And a quiet one. It was a yellow card. It was a warning. And in due course Peter turned it around, again with Jesus' help. Thank God.

How many chances do you get? How many offers? How many warnings? Listen to the Lord. Turn to him and be saved. He cares and cares enough to yellow card you before you get red carded and sent off the field.


Bob said...

Some of my comments were inspired by Andrew Stone, a young pastor up in Brisbane from The Worship Centre. We speak on occasion and he's a champion of truth and a lover of Jesus.

We'd been speaking about some of this subject and I had to put pen to paper, so to speak. Thanks Andrew.

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