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God’s Word for You

Proverbs 19:2-3

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Saturday, October 4, 2014

2 Desire without knowledge is not good—
      how much more will hasty feet miss the way!

I can’t help but think of a famous moment in baseball history when I read this. In 1908, three teams were in a hot contest for the National League pennant: the Pirates, the Giants, and the Cubs (yes, the Cubs—this was a hundred and six years ago). All three teams had won the championship at least twice within the past seven years. On September 28th, the Cubs and Giants were tied in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Giants had two out with runners on first and third. The runner on first base was rookie Fred Merkle (he was 19—he had played his first professional game only five days before). When Al Bridwell hit a single into center field, the runner on third scored, which should have ended the game with a win for the Giants. Fans ran onto the field. Fred Merkle, the runner on first, was halfway to second base when the run was scored. Seeing the fans running onto the field, he stopped and headed for the bench. The Cubs’ second baseman Johnny Evers (part of the famous double-play combination “Tinker to Evers to Chance”) knew the rulebook and got hold of a ball (whether it was the ball Bridwell had hit or not is a matter of debate) and touched second base despite the swarm of fans. The umpires consulted about the play, and ruled that since Merkle had been forced out, the run did not count, and the game ended in a tie. The Cubs later beat the Giants and won the pennant. The play involving rookie Fred Merkle and his “hasty feet” became known as “Merkle’s Boner.”

In Proverbs, to be hasty is to be unwise; especially to be hasty without knowledge. When there is knowledge, then energetic and swift action is best. But to charge in without knowing what’s going on (or to walk off the field before the game is really over) leads to misunderstanding and disaster. This can cause problems all through life. But Solomon has a more serious and spiritual danger in mind with the next proverb:

3 A person’s own folly leads to their ruin,
     yet their heart rages against the LORD. (NIV)

Here hasty or foolish action has led to trouble, but the foolish person rages against God instead of against himself. He has rejected God, but then he blames God for what happened to him. The burden of being “free” from God is responsibility for failing—and being held responsible for sin. The joy and liberation of being God’s servant is being forgiven all sin. Christ’s success covers over all of our failures.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.