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Olympics in the Bible?




In the midst of Olympic frenzy, I did a little digging for some timeless athletes, to see what their stories might have to offer. In this day and age of world records being broken, medals to be won, and corporate sponsorship deals to be gained, it is refreshing to see that with the exception of Jesus, each of these Biblical athletes has their moment of glory, but also has their very human moments. God in his infinite wisdom uses both.

David – stone thrower – control

While David practiced stone throwing as he was tending his sheep, he was playing, relaxing. But when his skill was needed most, he was in perfect control. He never could have killed Goliath if he lacked the skill he acquired with hours and hours of practice in the fields. And while his skill was largely physical, it was reported that while he was still a young boy, “the Lord was with him,” It was ultimately his complete trust in the Lord that allowed him to face the giant in the first place.

Elijah – long distance runner – endurance

Remember when Elijah ordered Ahab the king to hurry home to Jezreel before the rain should prevent him from doing so? (1Kings 18: 44 ff)  He knew that the real battle against false religion was about to be fought with Queen Jezebel at Jezreel, Inspired by his own battle, and because the hand of the Lord was upon him, he set out to beat Ahab to Jezreel. The distance was about 16 miles. His speed surpassed that of war horses attached to the kings chariot, AND his run was made during a fierce storm. It was not a feat of bravado on Elijah’s part, but rather a great piece of service in an emergency.

Samson – weight lifter – strength

In Judges chapters 14-16 there are several examples of the incredible strength of Samson. He killed a mountain lion with his bare hands, took the doors of the gate of the city and the two posts and went away with them, bar and all, put them on his shoulders and carried them to the top of a sandy hill. These were wooden gates and the weight would have been between one and two thousand pounds. While he at times was moved by the spirit of the Lord, he ultimately entered into a life which defied his faith, his family and his country.

Peter – oarsman – leadership

Peter, along with his brother Andrew, James and John, these 2 sets of brothers, were partners in the fishing business on the Sea of Galilee well before they ever met Jesus. This sea is famous not only for its fish, but for its sudden storms and frequent changes in conditions, putting fishing boats in great danger if the operator isn’t skilled in handling the boat. These fishermen had to be very strong, physically in order to row these boats safely through these storms. They also had to have great stamina, resourcefulness and courage in the face of frequent danger.

Jesus – perfectly balanced 

As a carpenter and woodworker, Jesus had to be a physically strong man. Later, when working with his disciples and walking from Galilee through Samaria to Jerusalem, back and forth many times, he had to be physically fit to keep up the hectic pace. His days and nights were filled with taxing and continuous works of teaching and healing. Under the strain of his struggle with the Sadducees and Pharisees, no one could have survived such hardships without extraordinary power and self-control. He knew himself well enough to take time for rest and renewal. Time and again we read of him going away to a quiet place to pray, or to take his disciples away from the crowds for some rest.

What say you? Where lies your strength? Your weakness? How has God, in his infinite wisdom, chosen to use you in this point in history, to continue his kingdom building here on earth? While you may not win any gold medal, one thing you do : “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:13b-14)


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