“Be silent before the Sovereign Lord, for the day of the Lord is near.” Zephaniah 1:7
A few years ago, the National Football League announced they were considering playing football games on Sunday mornings. The rationale given was to make more games available to watch for a broader audience. If games on the East Coast started earlier, then games on the West Coast could start earlier and so on. However, the suggested move felt more like a threat and an exercise of power.
The announcement caused panic in churches of all denominations across the country. Local youth sports had already been influencing worship attendance. Sunday morning was the last remnant of a sacred time in the entertainment world. Most churches felt powerless to the appeal of professional football.
The NFL was not just squeezing churches. They were also making demands of television networks, Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association. The NFL owned the culture, and they knew it. So it has been breathtaking this fall to watch the NFL collapse. Their problems are more profound than even the owners understand.
Some want to associate the decline to fans not liking the players protesting the National Anthem, but that is not the case. The foundation has been shaking long before the protests. The first sign of decline was a drop in attendance which began in 2012. Since 2011 the NFL has lost three million fans attending games. Owners are worried they will drop another million fans this season.
Analysts and fans will debate the reasons for their demise online, on television and on the radio. The opinions may be more entertaining than the games themselves. At the end of the day, there will be one reason for the fall, arrogance. Arrogance has destroyed empires, civilizations, global economies and great persons.
Arrogance has driven up the cost of a ticket. It is the motivation behind the skyrocketing cost of food and parking at a football game. Worse, the owners have been arrogant in their demands of athletes. Their desire to take over every day of the week no longer provides players adequate rest. Injuries severely compromise the product on the field.
In today’s text, the day of the Lord is a day of reckoning. It’s a bleak picture of life which doesn’t say anything about hope. You don’t need to be religious or even superstitious to understand we ultimately face a day reckoning. If you don’t believe me, then you have already forgotten the stock market crash of 2008. Humility is the source of hope. You are powerless to this day, but then again, you don’t need power. That comes from the sovereign Lord. It is the humble heart which sees this truth.
Click to read: Zephaniah 1: 7-18
- When have you experienced a day of reckoning?
- What could you have done to prevent it? Or, was it beyond your control?
- Where did you find hope in the midst of the suffering?
- How does humility produce hope?