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Choosing OJ Over God
"If we had God booked and O.J. was available," proclaimed talk show host Larry King in the wake of the O.J. Simpson trial, "we'd move God."


An hyperbole—an obvious exaggeration told for dramatic effect? Or true indeed? Only Larry King knows.

Sadly, this sentiment is true in countless lives—God is pre-empted. Many people feel that O.J. Simpson and the notoriety surrounding him is infinitely more interesting than God. And to be a fan of O.J. Simpson is more thrilling than to be a lover of God. To do one's own thing is better than to do God's thing.

But why? Why is a person who artfully dodges tackles, lugging an elliptical ball in pursuit of a touchdown, more adored than the One who flung galaxies into space, created the miracle of birth, and holds the secrets of existence and eternity? Why would people prefer to hear words from the lips of one who may be involved in the darkness of life rather than words from the lips of the One who is the Light of Life? In a recent Time Magazine article, the comments of Garrison Keillor are somber and sobering: "The O.J. Simpson Trial of the Century was a pure waste of time. It was a tar pit, and nobody who went into it came out smarter or kinder or happier or more enlightened. It had no redeeming aspects; it taught nothing."

*****… these have found what others who readily pre-empt God have not … *****

"Why," we ask, "do they wish to pre-empt God?" Could it be that they have yet to discover something wonderful? Take this declaration by the Psalmist, for instance: "For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than live in the tents of wickedness" (Psalm 84:20). Or these honest words of Peter addressed to Jesus: "Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life" (John 6:68). Or these words from the pen of John Newton, converted slave trader, declaring as a result of the "Amazing Grace" in Christ:

When we've been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun,
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we first begun.

Could it be that these have found what others who readily pre-empt God have not: that God is real, His love in Christ is a fact and His presence fills us with eternity?

The Psalmist declares:

I keep the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand.
I shall not be moved.
You show me the path of life,
In your presence there is fullness of joy;
In your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

(Psalm 16:8,11)

Larry King, can O.J. do that for me? Pre-empt God? Perhaps you might want to reconsider?

Rev. Ralph Garbe is senior minister at Central United Church in Unionville, Ontario.

Fellowship Magazine, Feb 1996, www.fellowshipmagazine.org

 

 
 
 
 

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