Unfortunately, I finished writing my Monday entry before the end of the Chiefs game and watched the remainder of it, not in the reflection on my antique map of Italy, but face-to-screen from a comfy perch on my bed. As you’re probably aware if you’re a fan or have been within earshot of our whining, the Chiefs lost that game, another disappointment in Denver.
But at least this loss wasn’t like the old days. In the old days, when John Elway roamed the earth, no lead over a Broncos team was safe. If you were ahead 900 to nothing at halftime, that didn’t matter. Somehow, John Elway would manage to eke out the victory, 901 to 900, with three seconds left. The guy worked magic. He could run better than most quarterbacks. Just when you thought your super pass rusher had the guy in his jaws of death, Elway would take a step forward, evade the tackle, and then scamper downfield for an easy twenty yards. If your defense chased him all the way to the right side of the field and had him wedged between a three hundred pound lineman and the Gatorade cooler, he’d manage to fling the ball all the way across the field to hit a wide open receiver standing on the left sideline. They should have put a red cape and a big “S” on John Elway.
On Sunday night, the Chiefs simply played a solid Denver Broncos team on their home turf, but in the old days, you didn’t just play the Broncos. You played John Elway and the Broncos. Anybody who forgot that they were playing against John Elway did so at their own peril. It would be like forgetting that your business rival was Al Capone. That sort of forgetfulness is bound to come back to hurt you.
It’s important to remember who you’re dealing with in a lot of situations. In today’s reading, Amos reminds his audience, the people of Israel, who they’re dealing with: God. It’s really easy to say “God.” In fact, it’s so easy that the word has become a staple of casual swearing. Beyond that, we frequently say “God bless you” or “God bless America” or “God willing,” but do we typically remember just who is meant when we utter that little, one-syllable word?
“He who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals his thoughts to man, he who turns dawn to darkness, and treads the high places of the earth—the Lord God Almighty is his name.”
God is not “the man upstairs” or “a higher power.” He’s not “the big guy” or “the goodness within us.” No, God made all things, whether they be as solid as a mountain or as transitory as a thought. He controls all things, from the smallest to the largest. Only a fool forgets who God is. I think that’s why the Proverbs tell us that the “fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.” Go ahead and forget that you’re dealing with John Elway, but never forget who our God is!