What God Does During the Super Bowl

Justin Johnson

The largest religious holy day in America is upon us. There have been large gatherings in most every state for months leading up to this day.

Millions of people will participate, prayers will be spoken, priests put on their black and white uniforms, families will gather, shouts of joy will be heard, and churches will close for one of the largest communions of the year during the Super Bowl.

Will God be there? Which team will he play for?

It’s fun to use satire with America’s favorite sport. It is the best example of zealous religious activity outside of tv and politics. (Zeal has long left the church.)

You may think it silly, but half of Americans actually think God is involved in their religious fervor for … a ball game.

Last week, Al Michaels announced God’s intervention on behalf of the Cardinals in the divisional playoff game. But there was theological confusion when God responded to two of Aaron Rodgers’ Hail Mary passes for the Packers.

The Cardinals won in overtime, and fans attribute the win in part to four Catholic nuns for their prayer power with God. Which god is still undetermined.

The Packers loss might be due to Rodgers’ irreverence towards the football god last year.

“I don’t think God cares a whole lot about the outcome. He cares about the people involved, but I don’t think he’s a big football fan.” – Aaron Rodgers

The gall of that man to think God cares less about 3rd down conversions than souls being converted to the Lord Jesus Christ. Then again, Russell Wilson claimed God was involved in his game losing interception.

Perhaps it is not all satire. What a doctrinal mess.

How to Know What God is Doing

Of course, Rodgers is right. God does not care about who wins football games (professional, high school, or Pee-Wee). But how do I know God is not intervening in them? How can anyone claim to know what God is or is not doing?

“What is God doing?” is the dispensational question, and it is answered from the Bible rightly divided (1 Tim 2:4). Few people consult the Bible rightly divided, and no NFL QB’s as far as I can tell. But why?

Surveys say that Bible studies do not make good half time shows, and the church is closed Super Bowl night to be a better testimony to our culture. (Yeah, right.)

The god of football is the god of the unexplained fortuitous play. Perhaps the reason people think God is found in unexplainable events is because they think His book is unexplainable. Their hope is in unexplainable things, and unknowable outcomes.

Since no one can know (and everyone gets paid millions) they are each entitled to their own opinion about God.

When you learn that the Bible can be understood and that God explains what he does, then such superstition should disappear. Your hope is in the Lord, not in a scoreboard.

“Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.” – Acts 17:22-23

Our job as God’s ambassadors is to declare the knowable God, who was manifest in the flesh in Jesus Christ, and who explained the mystery of his will (Eph 1:9).

That God’s will does not mention the ‘I’ formation turns a lot of people off, but it is the truth.

Our country is filled with superstitious people who believe in football gods, but do not know the true God, or what he is doing. They serve their gods fervently, but their gods are not real and do not tell anyone how they act in the world.

Many servants of these gods claim to be Christian.

The Zeal of a Peculiar People

This article is not about whether football is an idol, or whether Christians should participate in it. It is about identifying zealous behavior that existed in our lives without Christ, but does not translate into our life with Christ.

“Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” – Galatians 4:8-9

Christians often ask, “what can I do for the Lord?”, but I’ve never heard a football fan ever ask, “what can I do for my team?” Their zeal drives their creativity to think of something: watching the games, face painting, tailgating, hosting parties, wearing jerseys, and it goes on and on beyond annoying.

We all know what zeal looks like. Zeal easily gains knowledge, and gets things done. That many zealous football fans/players are ignorant of what God is doing, does not mean zeal is useless, only that football is useless to explain God’s will.

Christians should not be any less zealous; Christians should be less ignorant about God’s will. Saved Christians know the true God and are called to be zealous of the right thing (1 Thess 1:9; Gal 4:18). This requires knowing right doctrine. Zeal will pursue it.

“…the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ… gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” – Titus 2:13-14

What is God doing during the Super Bowl? The same thing he does every weekend (1 Tim 2:4). The question is do you know, and do you care enough to do something about it?

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Published: January 23, 2016
Last Modified: September 1, 2018
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