4th And Inches


This mother was desperate.  Jochabed knew that by order of Pharaoh, her son was to be put to death. Yet she would not lose this son. Not this one. He was the son that God had  promised would come; the promised “Deliverer.”  She saw that he was a “goodly” child, and she decided to obey God rather than men.  When she could no longer hide him in the house, she hid him in an ark daubed with pitch and placed it among the reeds.

So much symbolism. So much irony.  So much parallelism between Noah and the past, and Jesus and the future. 

Moses was “saved” from the wrath of wicked Pharaoh and certain destruction by the ark and by Pharaoh’s daughter who took pity on him when she heard him crying.  She could have been hard, cold and mean. She could have ordered the baby killed with all of the other Hebrew males, like her father ordered. She could have turned the other way and let the baby drift down river, never to be seen again.

Yet, at this “4th and inches moment” in Moses early life, Divine providence was at work, causing the evil design of Pharaoh to serve God’s purpose.  It could have gone the other way. The margin of error was razor-thin. But thankfully, His divine presence stepped in.

And that is how we should view all of our close calls.  That’s how we should view the “do-or-die“ times of our lives. We know that life is a game of inches.

4th and Inches

Each day, we are on the edge of defeat and victory at the same time. We could be crying or rejoicing at any given moment.  We know that God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent; He is all-powerful, all-knowing and everywhere present. God is imminent and transcendent at the same time.  God gives us His general revelation and His particular revelation at the same time. So through it all, through the good and the bad, the ins and the outs, the ups and the downs, through God’s grace, we inch our way forward — one inch at a time, one play at a time, one game at a time, one season at a time. That is what wisdom teaches us.

In the film Any Given Sunday, Coach Tony D’Amato, played by Al Pacino, gives a riveting speech which reminds us that life is best played inch by inch. (Forgive the profanity in the video below)

“You find out that life is just a game of inches.
So is football.
Because in either game
life or football
the margin for error is so small.
I mean
one half step too late or to early
you don’t quite make it.
One half second too slow or too fast
and you don’t quite catch it.
The inches we need are everywhere around us.
They are in ever break of the game
every minute, every second.

On this team, we fight for that inch
On this team, we tear ourselves, and everyone around us
to pieces for that inch.
We CLAW with our finger nails for that inch.
Cause we know
when we add up all those inches
that’s going to make the f***ing difference
between WINNING and LOSING
between LIVING and DYING.

I’ll tell you this
in any fight
it is the guy who is willing to die
who is going to win that inch.
And I know
if I am going to have any life anymore
it is because, I am still willing to fight, and die for that inch
because that is what LIVING is.
The six inches in front of your face.”

So remember, life is a game of inches.  Paul told that us we know that “All things work together for good for them that love God; to those who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). Therefore we must live life like the old mothers of the church taught us: “life by the yard is hard, but life by the inch is a cinch.”  So, on fourth and inches, GO FOR IT!

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