The book of Deuteronomy is the final book of the Torah and represents the final words of Moses to the Israelites. This is the final step in the journey before God instructs them to take the promised land in Joshua. Deuteronomy represents a moment where Moses gives the people his wisdom with a set of reminders including to “Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.” As you prepare to read about some of the big ideas from Deuteronomy, take some time to read Deuteronomy and watch the Bible Project’s video outlining the framework of the book (https://thebibleproject.com/explore/deuteronomy/) as we dive into this week’s “Baseball Guy’s Bible Guide.”
Due up in the Bottom of the Ninth:
- Silliness of Postgame Talks
- Discipleship Needed
- Importance of the Torah
Silliness of Postgame Talks
Parents - how many times have you watched your son’s baseball coach take his team up the line for an inordinately long speech at the end of a game? Each coach drones on about what they saw and how it needs to get fixed. Words, words, words. Then, the next day, the team practices all of the same old things they do every other day at practice with no effort to correct the issues from the game the day before. This pattern repeats itself anywhere from 30-50 times in the season depending on how many games they play.
Players - how much do you hear in a postgame talk? Your mind drifting in and out from what your coaches are saying, your mind focused on your performance that day, what your parents are going to say to you after the game, what your teammates think of you, what your friends think about you, or maybe where you’re going to eat after the game. Needless to say, you’re probably not all that engaged with what the coaches are saying.
Coaches - stop this tradition of the postgame talk. Give the players a quick word of encouragement and start thinking about how you can address your team’s flaws the next day at practice. Don’t come out the next day with the same old practice plan, and figure out some way to address something that happened the day before in the next practice. Spend less time talking at them, more time in engaging in relationship with the players, and fix flaws through practice, not through speeches.
I’ve seen one postgame talk that worked and that was Dave Belisle’s final talk to his Rhode Island team in the Little League World Series. If you want to give a talk at the end of a game, make sure it looks like this one.
People don’t want motivational speeches. They want elders who are willing to live life with them. This is what Deuteronomy is for the Israelites. It’s the final collection of wisdom from the man who has led them for years upon years.
Moses provides wisdom, but he also provides words of warning before they enter the promised land. He challenges that next generation to be faithful to God. He has room to do this because he’s lived life with the people for so long. He’s seen their rebellion and wants to encourage the next generation to be different. Because they know Moses, these words can serve as a blessing to them. Because Moses truly knows them, he can bless them with words of challenge.
Far too often coaches take license in this area without actually knowing the players. This is the challenge set before us to be great coaches for the next generation. We have to walk the long road of the desert with the players, learn them, know them, and then share wisdom with them. We can’t expect to be able to share wisdom with a generation that has more access to information than any previous generation. We need to engage life with them, like Moses did with the Israelites, and then wait for opportunities to share wisdom. That’s the long road of discipleship and it’s needed in our world today.
Importance of the Torah
The Torah has been one of the most important and influential set of writings in the history of mankind. It ties the story of Israel all the way back to Adam & Eve and operates under the promise that God will somehow transform their lives.
One of the central problems of the Torah is the hard and selfish hearts of the people. The only antidote for a hard heart is to listen and love. Listening to God, loving God and loving others, and responding through obedience and devotion is our call. All of our hearts have a tendency to be hardened and selfish, and we must soften that stance through listening and love.
As the Torah encourages us to recognize that God’s way is better and that we should soften our hearts toward Him, we come to realize the importance of the Torah. The Torah was written for those outside of the promised and waiting for the fulfillment of God’s promise to bless the whole world. This was true of the Israelites and it’s true for Christians today as we wait for the second coming of Jesus Christ. This will be the ultimate fulfillment of all divine prophecy.
In a baseball context, maybe you’re waiting to make a certain team, move up a level of play, get bumped up in the lineup, or even get drafted. In those times of eager anticipation, remember that God has put that in us to anticipate Him coming to bless the whole world. There is no promise that you’ll achieve what you want on the baseball field, but God’s promises will never go unfulfilled.