It is common practice in modern-day football for a member of the staff to be assigned the role of “get back coach.” There is a restricted area on the sideline that should allow space for the referee to navigate up and down the field safely. The role of this member of the coaching staff is to keep players and coaches out of this area to avoid a penalty. Furthermore, in recent days, highly animated head coaches will use the “get back” coach as a resource to keep them restrained from encroaching too far on the field.
A few times in my career, I have been privileged to be that guy for a team. Specifically, I volunteered as sideline coach or “Get Back” coach for HCHS and for CCS while serving as a youth pastor. While I wish I were paid for every time I yelled, “Get back,” to keep players and coaches out of the restricted area.
Another part of the challenge was keeping the players IN UNIFORM and ON THE BENCH engaged in the game. They would want to goof off or interact with the fans or cheerleaders. The danger is they were potentially in the game the very next play and may not understand the seriousness of the situation. Every player on the team is one play away from their number being called, and they must know the situation and the impact of the moment.
We may FEEL like in our faith journey we expect the pastor or our LifeGroup leader to be focused and engaged with God, and we may take our interaction with faith and with God so casually that we fail to see the seriousness of each moment and day.
Insight into the potential and danger of this attitude in our walk with God can be seen in Exodus 19:70-15. Let’s remember the context of what is happening.
God has led His people out of Egypt, through the wilderness and with miraculous provision.
They now find themselves at the base of the mountain of God which proves that God has done what He said He would do. There are a series of encounters in chapter 19 that truthfully are confusing and somewhat difficult.
Last week we looked at verses 1-6 and viewed God’s grace and faithfulness in the past, His promise for the future, which gives meaning to His purpose in the present, that we are a holy nation and a priesthood with a mission to connect God to people. The challenge is that God cannot allow this mission to be approached lightly or flippantly.
He commissions Moses as a mediator to consecrate the people through ceremonial cleansing so that they are prepared to approach the mountain to commune with God. There is significance historically for the preparation of this wedding ceremony between God and Israel, and it exposes the importance of our attitude when approaching God.
Yes, God is our Father and Faithful Friend. We can come to Him for comfort and peace. Perhaps we have overemphasized this aspect of His nature in modern culture that has developed an overly casual approach to worship and our faith. Don’t be mistaken; God is not your homeboy. While we can approach His throne boldly, don’t forget that you are approaching the throne of a King. He is holy, just, full of wrath, jealous, and perfect. He will never compromise His nature.
This is the beauty of His mercy. In sending Jesus to die for our sin, His shed blood justifies us, as we read in Romans 5:9. The finished work of Jesus allows us to be in a position for a relationship with God as a friend without God compromising His nature as holy. We are holy because He is holy, and we are covered by Jesus’ blood. Let that soak in for a moment!
God invites us to Himself, yet we must consecrate ourselves. Jesus makes all that possible, and we must reflect on what we actually deserve to avoid a flippant attitude in worship that takes for granted the mercies of God. Let me be clear, we are not talking about music style, wardrobes, or buildings. We are talking about the attitude of our heart. We must maintain a spirit of humble reverence in gratitude for what He has done.
Walking in this submissive spirit will position us to be aware of what He is doing, engaged in Kingdom work, and ready to get in the game as the Lord wills.