Deuteronomy 33:26-29 – What if We Lived Our Lives for Christ Like Ben Boulware Plays Football?

Posted: May 8, 2017 in 05-Deuteronomy
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Deuteronomy 33:26-29

Strength to Believers

Have you ever seen football players who just throw their whole body into the game? They play with reckless abandon and are so emotional about the game. One of the guys that were on Clemson’s football team the past four years is a guy by the name of Ben Boulware. He is an undersized linebacker from nearby Anderson, SC, but he is a guy that played beyond his size and stature. He was the heart and soul of the Clemson defense the past four years and he will be sorely missed by the Tigers this coming season. His love of the game is unmatched. His love of the university for which he played and from which he got his college degree is unmatched. His enthusiasm and his inner drive was contagious. He played the game with reckless abandon. One play that I remember in particular that defines the career that Ben had at Clemson. I remember two years ago in what is always the biggest game of the year in the ACC (Clemson vs. Florida State) when, on a fourth down and one play that would determine the outcome of the game, Florida State had the ball like at the Clemson 25 yard line or something. Clemson had stopped them on 2nd and 3rd down and 1. However, Florida State being a proud team and only one yard to go on what was looking like the game winning drive very late in the game. On that fourth and one play, Florida State called another running play to their workhorse running back Dalvin Cook, a big back with strong legs and a lot of speed if you gave him room to get going. Dalvin took the handoff and was hit almost immediately in the backfield by one of the Clemson defensive lineman but Dalvin bumped off him and went airborne for what was going to be a sure first down. However, Ben Bouleware being the gutsy guy he is went airborne too. They both were horizontal when they met in the air and it was a major collision and both fell to the ground immediately like rocks dropped to the ground. Cook came up inches short of the first down and Clemson took over. The Tigers then possessed the ball the remainder of the game and won.


That was Ben Boulware at Clemson. He loved the game with a passion. He gave his all on every play. He played injured much of his freshman year. He didn’t care about his body. Stopping the other team’s offense was what, and all, that mattered to him. He was one of those guys that if you were in the army and you were in a real life or death battle that you would want in your unit, a guy who would give his life to make your unit successful in its missions. To a man on Clemson’s defense, everyone of them acknowledged this undersized guy for his position was the acknowledged leader of the defense. He’s the guy who succeeded on sheer will and an unending well of passion for the game. The coaches didn’t have to jump on the other guys when they did not give their absolute best at practice or in a game, Ben would do that. He would give it all every game and would come off the field totally spent after each ball game no matter the opponent.


That was what I thought of when I read today’s passage, Deuteronomy 33:26-29. I thought of Ben Bouleware and how it was his passion for the game, the love of the game, that drove him to do more that he probably should have been capable of at the highest level of college football at his small size. It was his passion that made him a bigger man than he was. It was his passion that made him one of the hardest hitting linebackers that Clemson has ever had. His passion and zeal would allow him to take on players 20-30 pounds heavier and 5 or 6 inches taller and take ‘em to the great with his ferocious hits. Why did I think of this undersized ball of football zeal when I read this passage? Let’s read through the passage and then I will explain. Here’s the passage now:


26 “There is no one like the God of Jeshurun,

    who rides across the heavens to help you

    and on the clouds in his majesty.


27 The eternal God is your refuge,

    and underneath are the everlasting arms.

He will drive out your enemies before you,

    saying, ‘Destroy them!’


28 So Israel will live in safety;

    Jacob will dwell[a] secure

in a land of grain and new wine,

    where the heavens drop dew.


29 Blessed are you, Israel!

    Who is like you,

    a people saved by the Lord?

He is your shield and helper

    and your glorious sword.

Your enemies will cower before you,

    and you will tread on their heights.”


What does this passage say to us? This final stanza has blessed the hearts of God’s people through the ages. He is the majestic God (v. 26), the eternal God (v. 27), the protecting and providing God (v. 28). The great blessing of Israel was that He was their God. This final summary blessing for all the tribes that make up the nation of Israel declares that God is our refuge, our only true security. How often do we entrust our lives to other things – money, our career’s work, a noble cause, a lifelong dream, or spouse or some other person. Our only true refuge, though, is the Eternal One, God, who always holds out His arms to catch us when the shaky supports that we trust collapse and we fall. No storm can destroy us when we take refuge in Him. Those without God, however, must forever be cautious. One mistake may wipe them out. Living for God in this world may look like risky business, but it is the godless who are on shaky ground. Because God is our refuge, we can dare to be bold.


So, how does this relate to the passion for football that Ben Bouleware displayed for four years as a Clemson football player, a career that ended with a national championship his senior year? That thing is that Ben loved the game and he gave it his all. He really did not care what toll it took on his body. He just had this inner drive that came from his love of the game and his love for his teammates. Being a local boy from a town near Clemson, he was passionate about Clemson in ways that were just infectious to his teammates. He loved Clemson and would give it his all with reckless abandon in an effort to bring weekly victories to Clemson. He played games as if every game were the championship. He played games with reckless abandon and as if there was no tomorrow. He would have given his life for his team.


How does that tie into our Scripture for today? What if we lived our lives for Christ like Ben Boulware played football for the Clemson Tigers? What if we were so in love with God that we did not play it safe? What if we through our heart and soul into loving God and loving others in that same passionate way? What if we lived our lives willing to do anything to give God glory? What if we lived our lives as if there was no tomorrow? What if we lived our lives like the end of days was coming tomorrow? What if we lived our lives with that same level of championship drive? What if we had the guts to go airborne to meet a challenge that was headed straight for you? What if we did not care that we weren’t supposed to have the talents to do what we do for Christ but because we had such passion for God that we depended on Him to empower us to do far beyond what we should be capable of?


That’s what this final blessing says to me. Israel, if they just maintained their love and their passion for God, would be blessed. There would be no one that could stop them for they had the God of the universe on their side. God is majestic, powerful, sovereign, great, and powerful. That we have Him on our side should embolden us to live our lives with reckless abandon, to give it our all on every play of every day.


What can the world do to us when we are saved by grace? They can only kill us. Then we will get our reward – spending eternity in heaven with the one who saved us, Jesus Christ. Whether we live or die should not matter? We have heaven coming to us!


But most of us live lives of quiet desperation and lives of playing it safe? What is we lived our lives for Christ? What can come against us? We should be out there sharing the gospel as if this day was the championship game and there is no tomorrow? Why do we worry more about are homes, cars, and things that are temporary and play it safe trying to protect those things? Why do we not live lives of passionate love of Jesus Christ and follow His call on our lives now! Not later when the bills are all paid. Not later after the kids are grown. Not later after I get my 401k built up. Not later because right now would be too hard. Let’s have the passion and love for God to know that He will have our back when we choose to live lives of reckless abandon for Him. He is the God of the Universe. He is the Creator. He is the one on whom we can depend.


If we have God on our side, we have the maker of all things, the giver of life, our maker, the ruler of all things on our side! Live life like He really does mean something to you. Live life as if you really believe that He will take care of you if you follow His call on your life. Live life with passionate love and passionate dependence. Throw your body into the game and play the game with your best on every play. Come away from this game of life spent and tired and your jersey dirty instead of standing on the sideline with a clean jersey and all your energy intact. Let us be Christians who don’t play it safe.


We serve a mighty God. He is on our side. Let us have that passion that leads to action that demonstrates that we actually believe that. What can come against us? Let us be bold and passionate and depend on our love of God to embolden us to do far beyond what we could imagine that we could do on our own.


Amen and Amen.

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