On September 27, 2008 the University of Florida lost a football game to the University of Mississippi. In the athletic world this was a huge upset and one that potentially shattered the national championship dreams of the promising Gators team.
That year, the Gators were led by a young man named Tim Tebow. Tebow was the strong, ruddy, athletic, handsome, well-spoken, quarterback and the unquestionable leader of the Gators football team.
After the loss, Tebow came into the post game press conference and didn’t take questions, had nothing prepared, but instead gave this off the cuff speech which has now been named “The Promise”.
“To the fans and everybody in Gator Nation, I’m sorry.
I’m extremely sorry.
We were hoping for an undefeated season.
That was my goal, something Florida has never done here.
I promise you one thing, a lot of good will come out of this.
You will never see any player in the entire country
play as hard as I will play the rest of the season.
You will never see someone push the rest of the team
as hard as I will push everybody the rest of the season.
You will never see a team play harder
than we will the rest of the season.
- God Bless”
Tebow’s speech and leadership inspired the Gators that year and they went on to win the National Championship against the Oklahoma Sooners. This speech is now carved into the side of the Gator’s football stadium for all to see and has been pointed to as one of the most inspirational speeches in college athletic history.
That was pretty good…but not the best I’ve heard.
Rewind history a few thousand years and let me introduce you to another handsome, ruddy, athletic, well spoken young man. He was the youngest of 8 boys in his family and was a sheepherder for his father while his other brothers were warriors. However, don’t dismiss him too quickly as some boy scout because by his own hands he defeated a lion and bear while protecting his flock.
At that time, King Saul led the nation of Israel and they were in a constant battle with the Philistines. To make matters worse the Philistines were giant men and standing head and shoulders above the rest (literally) was Goliath. The 9-foot tall Goliath was a nemesis to the nation of Israel and taunted them night and day looking for someone to fight him. Beat him and the Philistines would surrender, but no one would accept the challenge.
Enter into the scene our sheepherder. His name is David and while bringing lunches to his brothers he hears Goliath spouting off and he didn’t take to kindly to his taunts. After being mocked by his brothers, blessed by King Saul, removing some ill-fitting armor, and making a quick stop at the toy store for a sling and a couple rocks David approaches Goliath and gives this speech.
“David said to the Philistine,“You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” “ - 1 Samuel 18:45-47
If you don’t have goose bumps right now or have the urge to run through a brick wall you better be in a hospital bed under heavy anesthesia because that is good stuff!
Now I’m not going to make some cheesy correlation that Tim Tebow is the modern day David or anything like that. Calm down.
But what I do want to point out is this…it’s the same God.
- It’s the same God that David called upon in his time of battle and is who we call upon now in our daily struggles.
- It’s the same God whose strength all of us as Christians pull from whether leading a football team, leading a company, or leading our family.
- It’s the same God that looked down on the war of sin waging in this world and sent His very best to save us…Jesus Christ.
So my encouragement for you is not from speeches we hear but from the God we worship. It’s not in good-looking athletic role models, but from the King of the Universe. It’s a charge to live our lives pushing forward with the strength of God to tackle anything that may come our way.
Now THAT’s a real promise.