The Bottom of the Ninth

January 3, 2018 at 3:54 pm | Posted in Common Expressions | 2 Comments
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Today is the 9th anniversary of The Deep End. One thing that brought me a great deal of joy during this past year (2017) was seeing the Houston Astros win the World Series for the first time. As a lifelong fan, this was very satisfying. Watching, talking about, and reading about baseball has caused me to realize how many baseball expressions or sayings have made their way into our daily vocabulary where they apply to situations which don’t necessarily have anything to do with the sport. For example, when someone does a great job successfully completing a project, we might say that “he hit that one out of the park.” A gentleman approaching a young lady in order to try to get to know her better and perhaps get her phone number, only to find himself rebuffed, is said to have “struck out” with her. Someone sacrificially and willingly enduring a hard time for the benefit of his friends, family, or company might be applauded for “taking one for the team” (just as a batter who leans into, instead of away from, an inside pitch so that the ball smacks him in the shoulder, allowing him to take first base and extend the inning, embodies the same phrase).

The reason I bring this up, is that when I first started teaching adult Sunday School, in addition to teaching chapter by chapter through books of the Bible, I would include a “common expression” from the Bible as a bonus lesson each Sunday morning. Some of these, such as “a fly in the ointment” and “the handwriting on the wall” originated in Scripture and became common idioms. Others, such as “a little bird told me” and “you can’t get blood from a turnip” originated elsewhere, but came to mind as I saw something similar in the Bible. I also began taking requests from the class to see if anybody had a suggestion for a colloquialism that might come up in conversation which could then be steered into an opportunity to share God’s Word. This produced posts like “Get a Life” and “Over a Barrel.”

In honor of the beginning of the 10th year that the Lord has allowed me to write about the Bible here on The Deep End, I have listed links to the posts under the category “Common Expressions:”

1. Don’t Get Caught Up the Creek Without Your Oars (Acts 17:1-3; I Thessalonians 1:8-9)
2. Birds of a Feather (Psalm 84:3-4)
3. As Good as Dead (Genesis 20-21)
4. Getting Your Goat (Daniel 8:5-8; Zechariah 10:3; Matthew 25:31-46)
5. Don’t Beat around the Bush (Exodus 3-4)
6. Forget-Me-Nots (I Corinthians 11:24; Jeremiah 2:32)
7. Thrown to the Wolves (Ezekiel 22:27; Habakkuk 1:8; Zephaniah 3:3; Matthew 7:15, 10:16; Luke 10:3; Acts 20:29)
8. The Handwriting on the Wall (Daniel 5)
9. A Leopard Can’t Change His Spots (Jeremiah 13:23; Acts 8)
10. Kick the Bucket (Acts 26:14)
11. Stand Your Ground (II Samuel 23:11-12)
12. He Was Beside Himself (Mark 3:21; II Corinthians 5:13; Acts 26:24-25)
13. Prepare to Meet Your Maker (Amos 4-5)
14. Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket
15. Pining Away (Ezekiel 33:9-10)
16. Over a Barrel (I Kings 17)
17. Beware of Dog (Philippians 3:2)
18. Eye to Eye (Isaiah 52:7-8)
19. Made a Scapegoat (Leviticus 16:7-22; Isaiah 53:11; John 1:29, 11:25-26, 19:16; I John 2:2)
20. Get a Life (John 14:6; Romans 6:23, 8:6; Ephesians 2:1-2; Matthew 10:39; I John 5:11-13)
21. You Can’t Get Blood from a Turnip (Genesis 4:1-5) *
22. Lord Willing (James 4:13-15; II Peter 3:9)
23. Face to Face (Ezekiel 18-20)
24. Show and Tell (Deuteronomy 32:7)
25. Nothing New Under the Sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10)
26. You the Man! (II Samuel 12:1-7; Psalm 51:1-7)
27. Innocent Bystanders (Acts 22:17-21; II Timothy 1:9)
28. The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men (Ecclesiastes 8:13, 9:3-12; Genesis 2:17, 3:5-6; I Corinthians 15:26-26)
29. A Fly in the Ointment (Ecclesiastes 10:1)
30. His Heart Was in the Right Place (Ecclesiastes 10:2)
31. A Little Bird Told Me (Ecclesiastes 10:11, 20)
32. Throw Down (Jeremiah 1:4-10)
33. Hard-Headed (Proverbs 21:29; Ephesians 6:17; Psalm 119:5; Ecclesiastes 8:1)
34. Sticks and Stones (Numbers 15:30-36; I Kings 17:8-12; James 3:6-8; Proverbs 12:18, 13:2, 18:21, 25:18, 26:21)
35. Won’t Hold Water (Jeremiah 2:13)
36. Don’t Let ’em Give You the Slip (Hebrews 1:13-14, 2:1; Titus 1:9)
37. When Pigs Fly (a.k.a. Deviled Ham) (Matthew 8:28-34)
38. Flesh and Blood (Hebrews 2:14; Ephesians 6:12; I Corinthians 15:50; Galatians 1:16; Matthew 16:17; Leviticus 17:11)
39. Think Again (II Corinthians 10:7)
40. Hindsight is 20/20 (Jeremiah 29:11; Nahum 2:8; John 16:33; Luke 7:19, 9:59-62; II Timothy 4:10)
41. All Dressed up and Nowhere to Go (Ephesians 4:1, 6:10-15; Genesis 5:24)
42. Cross-Eyed (Mark 15:29-32)
43. Up to Spec (Exodus 35-38)
44. This Is Going to Hurt Me More than It’s Going to Hurt You (Hebrews 12:11, 15; Ephesians 4:30; Deuteronomy 23:13)
45. The Powers that Be (Romans 13:1)
46. Take the Good with the Bad (II Corinthians 10:5)

* most-viewed post in category

Take the Good with the Bad

May 23, 2017 at 1:25 pm | Posted in Common Expressions | 2 Comments
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It is commonly said that we often have to “take the good with the bad,” meaning that some things are so enjoyable, that, while they are not perfect or ideal, they are still worth the trouble that comes with them.

facts of life

Most people certainly do NOT enjoy being painfully injected with a vaccine, but they are willing to put up with it in exchange for crossing some deadly disease off their list of concerns. I abhor waiting a long time outside a restaurant for a table to become available, but I am willing to endure it if the food is delicious enough when it is finally served to me.

Biblically speaking, we find this principle having various applications, one of which is:

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

II Corinthians 10:5 (emphasis added)

This is what some theologians have called “The Great Assize,” more commonly referred to as “The Final Judgment.” One day (and it could be today!), after Christ has returned to this world to claim His rightful ownership of it, and to assert His absolute authority over it, all the people who have ever lived will stand before Him in some sort of judgment. For Christians, whose sins have been forgiven, the judgment seat of Christ will be a place where our works, words, thoughts, and motives are judged. There will be rewards and there will be loss of rewards. For non-Christians, there will be a Great White Throne Judgment. There, sins WILL be judged. The Book of Life will be opened, and those who have not trusted Christ unto salvation will find that their names are not therein written, and they will be cast into the lake of fire forever.

So, while different judgments will occur for the two most important categories of people – saved vs. lost; born again vs. born once; saints vs. sinners; children of God vs. enemies of God; Christians vs. non-Christians; true believers vs. unbelievers; sheep vs. goats; wheat vs. tares; justified vs. unjustified – it is still true that everyone will be judged in some sense according to the things he or she has done during his or her earthly life.

This should be a powerfully bracing reminder to us that what we do each and every moment of our lives MATTERS. God is watching. He is keeping records. He sees our most secret deeds, hears all our words, and even knows our deepest, darkest, and dearest thoughts. We will truly, one day (much, much sooner than we think), take the good with the bad, and, let’s face it, as good as we think our good might be, our bad would far outweigh it on the scales of God’s perfect divine justice.

This is why it is vitally important to have an “alien” good (meaning a “goodness” or “righteousness” that comes from somewhere outside of ourselves) imputed to our account, and just as vitally important that our “bad” gets fully removed by someone who could pay the price for it in our stead. That’s where our Heavenly Advocate comes in. Only Christ can accomplish both of these gargantuan and eternal tasks for us.

When we have to cushion the blow of some disturbing information, we sometimes ask the recipient of the information, “I have bad news and I have good news: Which do you want to hear first?” You’ve already heard the bad news: We all stand condemned before God Almighty, the Judge of all the earth. Now, please, hear the Good News: Christ will remove your condemnation, pardon your crimes, justify you before the Judge, and give you eternal life, if you will believe, repent, turn to Him in faith, and ask Him to rescue you.

This Is Going to Hurt Me More than It’s Going to Hurt You

June 14, 2016 at 1:46 pm | Posted in Common Expressions, Hebrews | 3 Comments
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Chastening is sometimes referred to as punishment, but since it really has a goal of correction, rehabilitation, and restoration, it would probably be better thought of as discipline rather than punishment. Strictly speaking, a criminal sentenced to prison has not been chastened; he has been punished to pay a price for doing wrong regardless of whether he mends his ways. However, punishment may turn out to be chastening, depending on the response of the person being punished. Punishment has to do with the goal of the punisher, although it may be transformed into chastisement in the mind of the one being punished. Chastisement has to do with the goal of the chastiser and the response of the one being chastised. It is very important to understand this distinction. When I chastise my children, they can respond in one of two ways: (1) with bitterness and a determination not to be broken; or (2) with a contrite heart and willing obedience. Can there be joy in chastening? Not during – it’s grievous for both parties while it’s going on.

Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Hebrews 12:11

The oft-parodied parental expression from the parent about to administer a spanking to his child is, “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you,” and, although the child would beg to differ, it is true that it does hurt a loving parent to chastise his child with corporal discipline. But think how much more it must hurt our loving God!

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Ephesians 4:30

Grief is worse than sadness or mourning. Grief is a painful regret mixed with indignation and sorrow. It’s an amazing thing that I can grieve the Holy Spirit – I ought to strive not to do it – but, when I’m chastened, I must respond to it the right way, and grow and profit from it. If I don’t, I will be guilty of spurning the Word of God and making the chastening a root of bitterness. It’s bad enough to have a root of bitterness springing up between believers, but the devil wants a root of bitterness to spring up between me and God. When I am tending the garden of my heart, it’s not enough to love flowers – to love the spiritual fruit I should be bearing. I must also hate weeds, and be constantly digging up the roots of bitterness.

The Bible calls the tool that you use to discipline your children “the rod of correction.” We sometimes call it a “paddle,” and there is another spiritual (albeit embarrassing) lesson in the Bible about the “paddle.”

And thou shalt have a paddle upon thy weapon; and it shall be, when thou wilt ease thyself abroad, thou shalt dig therewith, and shalt turn back and cover that which cometh from thee:

Deuteronomy 23:13

Most translations say “equipment” or “spade” or “implement,” but the King James Version calls it a “paddle.” The paddle in this verse is for burying – outside the camp – that which would defile and make unclean a camp of God’s people. That’s what we need to do with bitterness – deal with it – go outside the camp and bury it – not bring it in among the family of God.

In the Christian race, we are to look diligently.

Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

Hebrews 12:15

We are to look diligently for a root of bitterness, because such a root will hinder our relationship with God, and because, by it, many will be defiled. If we don’t look where we’re running, we might step in something and track it into the house of another believer, or worse, into the house of the Lord – the local church – and cause a big stink.

All Dressed up and Nowhere to Go

February 26, 2016 at 4:27 pm | Posted in Common Expressions | 2 Comments
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Most Christians, if they have been serious about their Bible study, are familiar with the armor of God. There is a belt of truth, a breastplate of righteousness, a shield of faith, etc. There are also shoes:

And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

Ephesians 6:15

It sure sounds like we’re getting all dressed up and ready to go somewhere, but the Bible actually tells us that we’re getting dressed up not to go somewhere, but to stand.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

Ephesians 6:10-14

The Christian life is a walk.

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

Ephesians 4:1

It pleases God when we walk with Him.

And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

Genesis 5:24

That’s what we must remember. We’re not walking to GET TO God. We’re walking WITH God – and growing as we walk. Enoch drew nigh unto God by walking with Him. As Christians, we need to be on the move, but we need to be more concerned with being WHO God wants us to be, than we are with being WHERE God wants us to be.

Think Again

October 12, 2015 at 9:55 am | Posted in Common Expressions | 1 Comment
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Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s.

II Corinthians 10:7

In Chapter 10 of II Corinthians the Apostle Paul is writing to the believers in the church at Corinth, and in some ways defending himself. He’s saying, “Look, if these people who speak out against me are bringing my outward appearance into it, that should be a warning right there.” So, he’s refuting the false teachers, but he’s doing it in gentleness and meekness. If the church members at Corinth claimed that they belonged to Christ, then they should not have been against Paul, for he certainly belonged to Christ, too.

The expression, “What I think…” too often really means, “I’m right and you’re wrong, and here’s why.” We must remember that, in order to draw near to God, it is never necessary to push someone else away from Him. There is room near God for the people with whom we are not in total agreement about every single secondary issue.

When I start to say, “Well, I think,” in a negative way, I need to “think again.” If I’m speaking to a brother or sister in Christ, we are in this together.

Hard-Headed

February 28, 2014 at 11:06 am | Posted in Common Expressions | 4 Comments
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My wife’s mother, who has been married to the same man for almost fifty years, gives this marriage advice: “If you want your marriage to work, you must be hard-headed about the right things.” Generally speaking, the expression “hard-headed” means stubborn. I think what she means, though, is that when times get tough in your marriage, you need to be downright stubborn about keeping the vows you made before God, and committing to stay together and work through the difficulties, no matter what.

I could not find the expression “hard-headed” in the Bible, but I did find a reference to hardening of the face.

A wicked man hardeneth his face: but as for the upright, he directeth his way.

Proverbs 21:29

This kind of hardening is not good. It refers to stubbornness that ignores wisdom. It is the outward result of the inner hardening of the heart.

The hardening of the heart is a process, and a head is hardened by repeated stubbornness. The hardening of the heart involves both our own wills and God’s will, and a hard head is the result of God finally reinforcing what we want to think, anyway. The hardening of a man’s heart occurs when God gives him over to his own way. A hard-headed man can’t “change his ways,” because they’re his ways, not God’s ways. The hardening of a person’s heart negates that person’s warning system. It keeps him from seeing the danger in the direction he’s “heading” (no pun intended). A hard-headed person is sometimes called a dullard. He’s sleepy and lulled into a false sense of security. When someone is hard-headed, he is unable to see the danger which is abundantly clear to others. Don’t be hard-headed when it comes to sin and disobedience. The only thing hard about a believer’s head when it comes to sin should be his helmet.

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

Ephesians 6:17

O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!

Psalm 119:5

Who is as the wise man? and who knoweth the interpretation of a thing? a man’s wisdom maketh his face to shine, and the boldness of his face shall be changed.

Ecclesiastes 8:1

Throw Down

April 22, 2013 at 10:14 am | Posted in Common Expressions, Jeremiah | 2 Comments
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Lord, I pray that Your Holy Spirit would work in the lives of people and in their circumstances to bring them to a place of confrontation concerning their souls and their standing with You. In the name of Jesus I pray. Amen.

Have you ever heard someone say, “It’s time to ‘throw down?'”

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This a colloquial expression meaning that it is time to fight. Originally, it meant a challenge to a gun duel or some type of physical confrontation (“throw down the gauntlet”) but these days it can refer to any type of competition – even a barbeque cook-off.

You can find the expression several times in the Bible, but there it usually has a connotation of destroying pagan altars, places of worship, or positions of worldly power: Judges 2:2; 6:25; Jeremiah 1:10; Jeremiah 31:28; Ezekiel 16:39; Micah 5:11; Malachi 1:4.

Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. Then said I, Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord. Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.

Jeremiah 1:4-10 (emphasis added)

God knew Jeremiah before he was born. He not only formed him in his mother’s womb, but He already had a special job for him to do.

Jeremiah had objections to God’s command: “I am a child. I can’t speak. I am afraid.”

The Lord touched him, and put words in his mouth. Why? So he could build up a name for himself? So he could be Jeremiah the famous and well-liked prophet? So he could have a Holy Ghost conference and show off his power? So he could get wealthy? No. God set up Jeremiah to root out, to destroy, to “throw down.”

When God calls us to do something, we need to be obedient. Our answer should be “yes.” Not “no,” or even “why?” Jeremiah was humble, but he wasn’t disobedient. It is in our human nature to seek explanations, but it’s easy for us to allow “evaluation” to become an excuse for delay. I had a professor in law school who liked to call on us in class when we least expected it. The result was often a blank stare and an open mouth on the part of the students. He didn’t like that. He preferred a quick answer, even if it was an incorrect answer, to no answer at all. He often referred to a “fatally logical chicken” which starved to death when it found itself poised exactly equidistant between two equally appetizing pans of grain.

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All too often, as fallen sinners, we are all too ready to “throw down” for the wrong reasons: someone gets on our nerves; someone offends us; someone cheats us out of something we feel like we deserved. When God tells us to “throw down” we might need to throw our hands down, and throw ourselves down on our knees, and throw ourselves wholeheartedly into what God wants us to do.

His Heart Was in the Right Place

December 14, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Posted in Common Expressions, Ecclesiastes | 9 Comments
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It has been estimated that somewhere between 70% – 95% of the people in the world are right-handed as opposed to left-handed. The right side was the side of honor and favor in ancient Hebrew culture and most of the time in the Bible (Exodus 15:6, Deuteronomy 33:2, I Kings 2:19, Psalm 16:8-11, Psalm 44:3, Psalm 89:13, Psalm 118:15-16, Isaiah 41:10-13, Matthew 22:44, Matthew 25:33-34, Luke 22:69, Acts 7:55-56, Hebrews 1:3, I Peter 3:22, Revelation 5:7). I am not certain of the reason for this, but it may be that (in recognition of the predominance of right-handedness among human beings) the right hand is the more dextrous, and therefore more “skilled,” hand when speaking generically.

One of the things we must not do, however, when interpreting and expositing Scripture, is to foist our modern colloquialisms on the ancient text in order to try to make it say something that it does not really say. This is one of the types of what is referred to as “proof-texting.” Here is an example:

A wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left.

Ecclesiastes 10:2

Does this verse mean that a Christian should be politically conservative rather than politically liberal? While we could argue that the verse might indeed have some bearing on that question, it would not be right to use the verse to “prove” that smart people vote Republican and fools vote Democrat. The idea of labeling politically conservative folks as those on the “right” or “right wing,” and politically liberal folks as being “left-wingers” or “on the left” probably comes from the days of the French Revolution, not the days of King Solomon.

The better interpretation of Ecclesiastes 10:2 has to do with those who exercise Godly wisdom. When our hearts are inclined to God’s wisdom, we will be more skillful and adept at handling the issues, problems, and challenges that life throws into our paths. Fools, however – those who reject Godly counsel and wisdom – will tend to flail around clumsily with whichever worldly concept happens to be popular that day, and muck things up big time.

What Ecclesiastes 10:2 brings to mind for me is not the idea of conservatism versus liberalism, but the expression we use when someone has good intentions, but accidentally achieves a bad result. We like to use this excuse for a person in that situation: “At least his heart was in the right place.” As Christians we know that our hearts can not be trusted to lead us in the right direction (Jeremiah 17:9), but we also know that God evaluates our behavior on the thoughts and intents of our hearts (Hebrews 4:12), more so than the outwardly visible appearance of our actions (I Samuel 16:7).

Follow your heart;” “listen to your heart;” and “trust your heart,” are the mantras and messages of all kinds of Disney-entertainment-style idiocy, which is pervasive in our culture. If we are wise, we will train our hearts to stay on the right hand side of God – the side of His lovingkindness, power, protection, and provision.

Show and Tell

February 1, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Posted in Biblical Parenting, Common Expressions | 5 Comments
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Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.

Deuteronomy 32:7 (emphasis added)

You probably remember from your kindergarten or elementary school years the day when your teacher would have you bring your baseball glove or your bottle cap collection or your talking dolly to class with you, so you could stand up in front of the other students and give a little oral report about this special item. We called it “Show (KJV: Shew) and Tell Day.”

In Deuteronomy 32 we have the song of Moses, and it’s like he’s telling God’s people that there are some things that your parents will show you, but there are other things that your grandparents will have to tell you about.

Moses admonished the people after they had been lead from captivity, and he warned them not to turn away from God. Likewise, we need to remind ourselves of both the great things God has done for us in the recent past, and the things He has done in for us in the “old days.” We have a responsibility to teach our children and our grandchildren about the Lord and His ways. I’m not necessarily opposed to children’s lessons in church, nor am I against finding a good Christian book on child-rearing. But, no matter how hard I try, I’m really going to have to depend on the same Person I’ve depended on throughout my whole career as a parent so far – the Holy Spirit. If I am willing to take my Bible and diligently attempt to instruct my children from it, He has promised to help me.

Made a Scapegoat

August 24, 2011 at 9:43 am | Posted in Common Expressions | 4 Comments
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The term “scapegoat” has come to mean a person who takes the blame as a sacrifice for someone else who is actually at fault. For example, imagine that a government entity is collecting taxes for the improvement of roads, but the funds are actually being spent on thousands of dollars’ worth of Community Coffee. When the matter comes to light, the government officer responsible will often fire someone in accounting who was only following orders and was not truly responsible for the misuse of the funds. The reason for this injustice would be to appease the public and create the impression that the “higher-ups” were not really at fault for the corruption. In that example, the fired person is said to be the “scapegoat.”

Another example is when a football team is predicted to go 12-4 in the preseason polls, but actually finishes 5-11. The owner and the general manager and the head coach will get together and decide to fire the special teams coach. This is supposed to satisfy the ticket-buying fans that real changes are being made for next year. In that scenario the special teams coach is the “scapegoat.”

“Scapegoat” is a term that is slowly being replaced these days by the ubiquitous phrase, “thrown under the bus.” To “throw someone under the bus” has a similar connotation in that the person being “thrown under the bus” is someone who is being betrayed by a lack of loyalty on the part of his former colleagues or employer. A “scapegoat,” in popular usage, is usually someone who doesn’t deserve the blame he is getting. Whereas, the person “thrown under the bus” may actually have done something worthy of blame.

I prefer the term “scapegoat” because it is found in the Bible.

And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the LORD at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD’S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.

Leviticus 16:7-10

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The laws of the “holy place” were given to Moses by the Lord after the death of Aaron’s sons. God told Moses to tell Aaron that this is how God wants the sacrifices done. The occasion described in these Verses is known as the Day of Atonement.

There is much disagreement among Bible scholars as to what the two goats represent. The lot for the Lord fell upon the goat which became the sin offering. The other goat was let go to escape in the wilderness after Aaron had laid his hands on it and confessed all the sins of the children of Israel on its head. Some Bible teachers think that the sin-offering goat represents Christ. Some think that the scapegoat represents Christ. Others say that the scapegoat represents Satan. Some say that the word for “escaped goat” or “goat removed” is “Azazel” who was a pagan god or symbol. Still others think that both goats represent Christ.

And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness:

Levitcus 16:21, emphasis added

Notice that the scapegoat bore the iniquities of the people.

He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

Isaiah 53:11, emphasis added

The scapegoat was not allowed to wander about until he found his way into the wilderness. He was “sent” away by the hand of a fit man.

Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.

John 19:16, emphasis added

And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.

Leviticus 16:22

The scapegoat symbolically took away the sins of the people.

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

John 1:29, emphasis added

There is a popular praise chorus which says about Jesus:
Living, He loved me;
Dying, He saved me;
Buried, He carried my sin far away;
Rising, He justified freely forever;
Some day He’s coming back – oh glorious day!

Leviticus 16:21 says that the priest was to confess over the goat’s head all their iniquities and all their transgressions and all their sins.

And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

I John 2:2

I believe that the scapegoat was a symbol or a foreshadowing of the Lord Jesus Christ. I could be wrong, but what I do know for sure is that my sin has been carried away by Jesus. He has paid for it in full.

If someone tells you they’re tired of being the scapegoat, or if you ever find yourself in the position of being a scapegoat, remember the original scapegoat. The only way to be a true “escaped” goat – to escape the price that has to be paid for sin – is to put our faith and trust in the only One Who could pay – and has paid – the price for sin – the only One Who was sinless and perfect enough to carry our sin away.

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