(This study correlates to "The Bible In Billiards" presentation found on this website.)
Please join us as we discover how God Uses Everyday Things, Even a Pool Table, To Teach Us About Him.
Supporting Scriptures for "The Sneaky Serpent" Genesis 3:1 Ephesians 4:18
"God Uses Everyday Things," even pool table accessories to teach us about Him. We have learned that the white cue ball can remind us of God, the completeness of His creation and the goodness of the world that we live in. The number "1" and number "2" balls can remind us that we are God's creation and that our life and worth come from Him. Let's add another billiard ball to our cast of characters.
Now you all remember that the serpent was the most clever and sneakiest of all the creatures that God had made. What billiard ball would be the most appropriate to represent the "sneaky serpent?" You are right. The black "8" ball.
We all know that when we watch a western movie the good guys are riding a white horse or wearing a white cowboy hat (remember our white cue ball) and the bad guys are riding a black horse or wearing a black cowboy hat. And let's not forget what color Darth Vador wears in Star Wars!
We all naturally associate the color black with darkness or evil and the Bible is full of references to darkness.
Listen to this verse from Ephesians 4:18.
"Their closed minds are full of darkness. They are far away from the life of God because they have shut their minds and hardened their hearts against Him."
Let's remember that when we shut out God from our life, we are dark like the black "8" ball and we are living a life far away from God.
NOTE: After each section of our "Pool Side Chat," we will take a moment to "chat" about how the Bible relates to what we have just learned with a series of discussion questions. The Biblical answers to these questions may be found in the passage of Scripture from the New Living Translation provided.
For your easy reference, the entire "Bible in Billiards" presentation is printed at the bottom of this page with the above excerpt being printed in red.
"THE SNEAKY SERPENT" STUDY QUESTIONS:
Who was/is the serpent?
Revelation 12:9 - "This great dragon - the ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world - was thrown down to the earth with all his angels."
Revelation 20:2 - "He seized the dragon - that old serpent, the Devil, Satan - and bound him in chains for a thousand years."
Name characteristics associated with the Devil.
Acts 13:10 - "You son of the Devil, full of every sort of trickery and villainy, enemy of all that is good, will you never stop perverting the true ways of the Lord?"
James 3:15 - "For jealousy and selfishness are not God's kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and motivated by the Devil."
Zechariah 3:1 - "The the angel showed me Jeshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord. Satan was there at the angel's right hand, accusing Jeshua of many things."
2 Corinthians 4:4 - "Satan, the god of this evil world, has blinded the minds of those who don't believe, so they are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News that is shining upon them. They don't understand the message we preach about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God."
The Bible is full of references to darkness and evil. What action are we to take against darkness and evil?
Romans 13:12 - "The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So don't live in darkness. Get rid of your evil deeds. Shed them like dirty clothes. Clothe yourselves with the armor of right living, as those who live in the light."
Ephesians 5:11 - "Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, rebuke and expose them."
In Zephaniah 1:15, what are descriptions associated with darkness?
Zephaniah 1:15 - "It is a day when the Lord's anger will be poured out. It is a day of terrible distress and anguish, a day of ruin and desolation, a day of darkness and gloom, of clouds, blackness,"
What is the opposite of evil? What is the opposite of darkness?
Job 30:26 - "So I looked for good, but evil came instead. I waited for the light, but darkness fell."
The following verses talk about darkness. For each verse, replace the word "darkness" for another word that you think fits.
1 Samuel 2:9 - "He will protect his godly ones, but the wicked will perish in darkness. No one will succeed by strength alone."
Job 16:16 - "My eyes are red with weeping; darkness covers by eyes."
Psalm 18:28 - "Lord, you have brought light to my life; my God, you light up my darkness."
Psalm 74:20 - "Remember your covenant promises, for the land is full of darkness and violence!"
Psalm 107:10 - "Some sat in darkness and deepest gloom, miserable prisoners in chains."
Proverbs 4:19 - "But the way of the wicked is like complete darkness. Those who follow it have no idea what they are stumbling over."
Isaiah 9:2 - "The people who walk in darkness will see a great light - a light that will shine on all who live in the land where death casts its shadow."
Amos 5:18 - "How terrible it will be for you who say, "If only the day of the Lord were here! For then the Lord would rescue us from all our enemies." But you have no idea what you are wishing for. That day will not bring light and prosperity, but darkness and disaster."
Matthew 8:12 - "But many Israelites - those for whom the Kingdom was prepared - will be cast into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Luke 22:53 - "Why didn't you arrest me in the Temple? I was there every day. But this is your moment, the time when the power of darkness reigns."
Romans 13:12 - "The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So don't live in darkness. Get rid of your evil deeds. Shed them like dirty clothes. Clothe yourselves with the armor of right living, as those who live in the light."
2 Peter 2:17 - "These people are as useless as dried-up springs of water or as clouds blown away by the wind - promising much and delivering nothing. They are doomed to blackest darkness."
1 John 1:5 - "This is the message he has given us to announce to you: God is light and there is no darkness in Him at all."
1 John 2:9 - "If anyone says, "I am living in the light," but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is still living in darkness."
Thanks for joining us for our "Pool Side Chat Study 9 - The Sneaky Serpent."
Scripture quotation is taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996 Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, Illinois 60189 All Rights Reserved
Pool Side Chat - The Mystery of Death and Life
The Bible In Billiards God Uses Everyday Things To Teach Us About Him
(Note: For your easy reference, the following is the full presentation of the Bible in Billiards. The excerpt from the current Pool Side Chat study presented at the top of this page is printed in red.)
Welcome to our Pool Side Chat series and allowing us the opportunity to demonstrate how a pool table can teach us about God's Word.
We have entitled this series "Pool Side Chat" because we will be sitting (either figuratively or literally) around the "side" of a "pool" table and "chatting" about what a pool table has to do with God and the Bible.
Since we are going to be using pool table accessories thoughout our study, let's start with some trivia facts about the game. The sport of billiards evolved from a lawn game similar to our outdoor game of croquet. Sometime during the 15th century, the Europeans changed the game to be played indoors on a wooden table with green cloth to simulate grass.
The sport has since advanced to the modern day game of billiards played on a pool table with billiard balls and a cue stick. But did we just say "pool" table instead of billiard table? Where did the slang name of "pool" come from? The word "pool" is defined as being a collective bet, or ante. Many games, such as poker and horse racing, require a "pool," or bet in order to play and a "poolroom" in the 19th century was actually a betting room for horse racing. In order to pass the time between races, billiard tables were placed in these betting rooms known as poolrooms and, you guessed it, bets started to be placed on billiard games. The public soon began associating these poolrooms with the game of billiards which then led to the slang "Let's go to the pool room" and "Let's go play pool."
Even though the game of pool has a recent history of association with betting and with what some might consider unwholesome environments, please remember that billiards itself is a fun, challenging, and educational sport deserving our respect and involvement. In fact,
Are you a pool player?
Now that we have some history about the game of pool under our belts, we are going to embark on the telling of a famous Bible story about good and evil except we are going to use pool table accessories as our props to tell the story.
Throughout the Bible, God uses everyday things to teach us His stories, His morals, and His principles. He used a staff with Moses, a fleece with Gideon, and let's not forget the familiar example of God being the potter and us being the clay.
Jesus also used many everyday things to teach us scriptural truths while He lived here on Earth and we call these stories parables. So in keeping with God's storytelling technique of using everyday things, let's begin ...
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
Did you ever stop to consider that the white cue ball could represent God? How do we picture God? Since we have only seen God in the person of Jesus Christ, let's see how Jesus was described when He showed Himself to be God.
In Matthew 17:2, we are told that Jesus was transfigured and His appearance changed so that His face shone like the sun, and His clothing became dazzling white. In Revelation 1:14, the Son of Man, who is Jesus, was described as follows: His head and His hair where white like wool, as white as snow. So from these two verses alone, we have a reason for associating the color of white with God.
Since we are talking about creation, let's review the order of God's creation.
1st Day - Light 2nd Day - Sky and Water 3rd Day - Land, Sea, and Vegetation 4th Day - Sun, Moon, and Stars 5th Day - Fish and Birds 6th Day - Animals and Man 7th Day - Nothing - God Rested
But God didn't rest because He was tired, God rested because His creation was complete and it was not only complete, He declared that it was good.
Remember our color white? Did you know that the color white comes from combining the colors in the light color spectrum together similarly to how God combined the elements of light, sky, water, land, sea, vegetation, sun, moon, stars, fish, birds, animals, and man to create our universe? Can we really think of anything that God missed?
So when we look at the white cue ball, we can be reminded of God, the completeness of His creation, and the goodness of the world in which we live.
"And from the dust of the earth, God formed a man's body."
I think that we can all guess why we would choose the number "1" billiard ball to represent man. The number one represents the first man.
Are you aware of what pool balls are made from? Most commonly pool balls are made from polyester or resin with one of the highest quality billiard balls being made from Phenolic Resin, which for you chemistry buffs is a derivative of benzene and for the rest of us is just some insignificant substance that we don't really care about.
But isn't that the point that God was making?
We are all made from something as insignificant as dust, yet look how complex and wonderfully made each one of us is which should remind us of how great and powerful our God is every time that we look at ourselves in the mirror!
And God breathed into the man's body so that the man became a living person.
Now let's pause for a moment...
In the last five seconds, each of us just took a breath. Do we ever stop to consider who gave us that breath? Job, one of the writers in the Old Testament, answered that question for us in Job 33:4. He writes:
The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life."
Don't take your breath for granted! That's why they make mouth wash!
But seriously, listen to what David says in Psalm 104:29:
"God, when you take away man's breath, he dies and turns again to dust."
God gives you your ability to live just like He gave Adam life.
Our body is a lifeless shell like the pool ball until God breaths life into us. Therefore, our life and worth come from God.
Then God planted a garden in the east which we commonly refer to as the Garden of Eden. We are going to use the triangle, or ball rack, to represent the garden. But where is this area in the east called Eden? Honestly, we don't know for sure, but the Bible gives us geographic reference points of four rivers flowing out of the garden so that we know that the garden was located somewhere in the land that we know of today as the Middle East.
Continuing on, God placed the man, Adam, that He had created in the garden in order to care for it. This is why it is fun reading the Bible in small bite size pieces. Many of us have heard this story numerous times and most of us have always assumed that Adam just started out in the garden.
But according to the Bible, God created Adam, then God planted the garden, then God placed Adam in the garden so that now if we are ever asked in a trivia game, "True or false? Adam lived in the Garden of Eden when God created him," we will know that the answer is ____________.
Now the garden was filled with all sorts of beautiful trees producing delicious fruit, but the Bible specifically mentions two fruit trees that God planted at the center of the garden.
One was called the Tree of Life and one was called the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Now God gave Adam the following instructions and warning about living in the garden. God told him, "Adam, you may eat from any fruit that grows in the garden except for the fruit that grows on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. That is the only tree that I do not want you to eat from."
We are going to use the pool cue chalk to represent the fruit off of this tree. And even though we do not know what kind of fruit this was, we are going to pretend that it was an apple in order to avoid any fruitless discussion regarding what type of fruit tree this was.
Getting back on track, God continues His warning to Adam. "If you eat the fruit from this tree, you will die. I only require that you turn away from this one tree."
Now let's stop and analyze this. Adam could choose any tree in the garden to eat from. He just had to turn away from this one tree. How many of us think that God was being unfair? How many of us think that there was nothing wrong with God making this request?
After this, God recognized Adam's need for a companion because Adam was living in the garden with no one to help him.
So the chief anesthesiologist and surgeon of the universe, God, caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep, opened him up, took out one of Adam's ribs, and closed up the place on Adam's body from where the rib had been removed.
Then with this rib from Adam's body, God made a companion for Adam. For obvious reasons, we will choose the number "2" ball to represent Adam's companion.
When Adam awoke from his deep sleep, he met his wife that God had given to him and he turned with joy and said, "She is made from my own flesh and bone and she shall be called "woman' because she was taken out of a man."
And the man and woman lived without the need for clothing and neither of them felt any shame.
Now we all remember that the serpent was the most beautiful and clever of all the creatures that God had made. Why would we choose the black "8" ball to represent the sneaky serpent?
We all know that when we watch a western movie, the good guys are riding a white horse or wearing a white cowboy hat (remember our white cue ball?) and the bad guys are riding a black horse or wearing a black cowboy hat. And let's not forget what color Darth Vador wears in Star Wars!
We all naturally associate the color black with darkness or evil and the Bible is full of references to darkness. Listen to this verse from Ephesians 4:18:
"Their closed minds are full of darkness they are far away from the life of God because thay have shut their minds and hardened their hearts against Him."
Let's remember that when we shut out God from our life, we are dark like this black "8" ball and we are living a life far away from God.
One day, the serpent approached the woman in the garden and began talking with her. He asked, "Did God really tell you not to eat of the fruit here in the garden?
The woman replied, "No. God didn't tell us that. He said that we could eat from any of the trees in the garden except for the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil at the center of the garden. That is the only tree that we are not to eat from or even touch or we will die."
The serpent chuckled and said, "You won't die. God knows that if you eat the fruit from that tree, you will gain understanding of all things, both good and evil, and when that happens, you will become just like Him.
Now this sounded reasonable to the woman. The fruit did look so sweet and delicious and, after all, God Himself said that it was the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil so why wouldn't He want us to understand the difference? Why wouldn't He want us to become just like Him?
So she picked a fruit off of the tree and ate it and gave some to her husband who was with her and he ate it too.
At that very moment, they gained knowledge that they did not have before.
Their understanding of life changed.
They looked at each other in their nakedness and suddenly felt shame so that they scurried to the nearest fig tree and they strung its large leaves together around their hips in an attempt to cover themselves.
Before eating the fruit, their lives were pure and solid like the solid number "1" and number "2" billiard balls.
But after their disobedient act of eating the fruit, they were striped by sin changing them to now be like the striped "9" and "10" billiard balls and they had to find a way to cover up their shame.
Pretty soon they heard God walking in the garden and He was calling for them. When Adam and the woman finally answered His calling and confessed the wrong that they had committed, God responded with four consequences.
The first consequence was directed to the serpent who was cursed to grovel in the dust for as long as he lived and also for he and the woman and his offspring and her offspring to be enemies forever.
The second consequence was directed toward the woman who would not only be cursed with intense pain and suffering when giving birth to a child, but she would be required to live with a submissive attitude toward her husband with whom she lived.
The third consequence was directed to the man and his offspring who would now struggle and sweat to produce food from the ground which God was now cursing until the day that man and his offspring would die. And they would die, just as God had warned them, and when they died they would return to the dust from which God had created them.
The fourth consequence was directed toward the safety of all mankind. God said, "The people have become like us. They now know not only what is good, but they know that is evil and how evil ruins their lives. If they eat the fruit now from the Tree of Life they will live forever in this condition and that would be a terrible life. Therefore, we will remove Adam and his wife from the garden so that they have no access to the Tree of Life."
Now it was after these events that Adam named his wife Eve which means "Mother of all people yet to be born on the earth." This is another interesting trivia fact. True or false, Adam's wife's name was "woman" when she lived in the Garden of Eden and was changed to "Eve" after she and her husband were banished from the garden?
Biblical history teaches us that Adam and Eve had a son who they named Seth.
And Seth had a son who was named Enosh.
And Enosh had a son named Kenon. All of these desendents are represented by the remaining striped billiard balls because the human race was now striped by sin.
And the Bible continues to record this population growth and genealogy until the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.
We have chosen the solid red "3" ball to represent Jesus for the following three reasons:
1. The "3" on this ball represents the trinity. Jesus was God living among us as a man just like this billiard ball looks like the other billiard balls and yet He was still God, a part of the trinity made up of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
2. Jesus was sinless so that this billiard ball is not striped by sin like all of the other stiped billiard balls representing Adam and Eve and their descendents.
3. The red color of this ball reminds us of the blood that Jesus shed when He died in our place so that we might be forgiven of our sin and be given eternal life with God.
From this last reason, did you catch it? Did you see how God's plan has been woven through these two historical events of creation and Jesus' death and resurrection?
Haven't we just heard about death and eternal life in the creation story and yet God plans Jesus' death so that we may have eternal life.
Let's take a closer look at this mystery of death and life ......
Remember from the creation story that God told Adam that he would die if he ate fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. But do you think that God wanted Adam to die? NO!!! God created man to live. Remember, God breathed life into him.
But God must be true to His Word. Someone had to die because someone ate the fruit off of the tree that God had said not to eat from and so God began preparing a plan so that someone would die in man's place.
Now while we are pondering who that someone might be, let's remember that the man and the woman were kicked out of the Garden of Eden so that they would not eat from the tree of life and live forever. God didn't kick Adam and the woman out of the garden because He didn't want them to live forever, He kicked them out because He didn't want them to live forever in their sinful state.
So ever since man sinned, God has been planning and preparing a way for someone to die in our place and take our consequence of sin so that we might once again have the opportunity to live eternally with Him.
But someone who could both die in our place and give us eternal life would have to be pretty powerful. In fact, Isaiah 9:6 describes the coming Messiah as Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. So if, in fact, the Messiah is God as Isaiah describes Him, then the Messiah would be expected to perform mighty miracles that no mere man would ever be able to do.
Let's look at the miracles that Jesus performed while living here on Earth to determine whether or not Jesus is the Messiah.
Jesus cured the sick. Jesus cast out demons. Jesus restored sight to the blind. Jesus raised the dead. Jesus healed the lame. Jesus restored hearing to the deaf. Jesus controlled nature.
So what is the verdict? Was Jesus the Messiah?
No other man before or after Jesus has been able to perform all of these miracles. Only the creator of mankind and the world could so that we must conclude that Jesus is the promised Messiah.
Listen to what Jesus said to Martha just before He raised Lazarus from the dead, just one of Jesus' minor miracles. After all, Lazarus had only been in the tomb for four days and, as Martha reminded Jesus, Lazarus would be pretty stinky by this time.
Jesus said to Martha, "I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me even though they die like everyone else, will live again. They are given eternal life for believing in me and will never perish." Then He asked Martha, "Do you believe this Martha?"
Hold on a minute !!!! Let's back the verse up!
Wasn't Jesus talking to Martha? Then why is Jesus talking to her grammatically in the third person? Jesus is talking about "Those who believe" and "They are given" so that Jesus was not including Martha as a "Those" or a "They." She had to make a decision in order to become a "those" or a "they." God always asks us to make a decision. He gives us the choice.
Isn't that how it all started? God gave Adam a choice in the garden. God said, "Eat the fruit and you will die." "Turn away from the fruit and you will live."
Therefore Jesus is beginning to solve our mysteryof death and life by telling us that if we believe in Him, we will live again even though we die. But the key to the mystery, let's repeat, the key to the mystery is whether or not we believe so that Jesus asks, "Do you believe this Martha?"
Now let's ask ourselves the same question except let's fill in our own name,
"Do you believe this _______________?"
Now that you have considered your answer to the question above, let's consider how the cue sticks represent death.
When we place the cue sticks in the form of the cross, we can be reminded that Jesus took the punishment of our sin by dying in our place.
Our choice is simple, do we want to accept the consequence of our sin and die ourselves or will we accept Jesus' sacrifice of dying in our place?
Whose body do you see on the cross, your own or the body of our Savior Jesus?
But remember, our mystery is about both death and life. We just saw how these cue sticks can remind us of death, but how do they remind us of life?
The cross of Jesus is empty! Jesus overcame death by rising again to life on the third day just as He and the Old Testament scriptures said that He would so that the empty cross and the empty tomb represents life!
If we were to have died, our body would still be in the tomb because we don't have the power to overcome death. But Jesus has proven that He has the power over death by rising again from the dead and appearing to many witnesses.
Jesus is alive!
Listen to what Jesus preached while He lived here on Earth:
"Turn from your sin and turn to God for the Kingdom of Heaven is near."
Does that sound familiar? Remember what God said to Adam?
"You may eat any fruit, just turn away from this one tree."
We all have a choice to believe or not. If we turn away from God in disbelief we will continue to be striped by sin like all of the striped billiard balls and we will die.
But if we choose to turn toward God in belief and obedience, He washes away our stripes of sin so that we become solid once again and He will bring us all together to live eternally with Him in the Kingdom of Heaven.
With our new understanding of death and life, let's listen to God's simple message to us in John 3:16.
For God so loved the world which He created, That He sent His only son, Jesus, to die in our place So that all who believe in Him, And all who turn away from their sin and turn to Him, Will not suffer the consequence of death Due to man's sinful choice of disobedience, But instead will be given eternal life with God Just like He wanted to give us "In the Beginning."
Remember at the start of our story you were asked whether you were a pool player or not. You had to make a decision about yourself. Now I am going to ask you to make another decision about yourself.
Do you believe Jesus? Have you turned from your sin and turned to God?
If not, please consider offering the following prayer up to God:
Dear Lord, Thank you for the many ways that we can learn about your Word. We have only seen a glimpse through this brief presentation of how your plan of salvation is woven throughout the Bible, but this glimpse proves that your desire is still for us to live eternally with you even though we have sinned.
I want to become one of the "those who believe" and the "they who are given eternal life" that Jesus told Martha about. I am therefore responding to Jesus' question of "Do you believe?" with the following prayer:
My God and Creator, Because of Adam's and Eve's sinful choice, I know the difference between good and evil. Because I know that my sin must be paid for, I choose now to believe and accept the forgiveness That you offered me through your death on the cross in my place, And through your resurrection from the dead, Proving that only you have power over death And only you have the ability to give me eternal life. Today, ___________, I am making the choice to believe in you, To turn away from what I know is evil, And to turn toward You and to follow You through the remainder of my life. Thank you for your forgiveness of my evil choices And thank you for your gift of eternal life. I love you Lord Jesus and I choose to follow and believe in you. Amen
Thank you for joining in our adventure to learn how the game of pool can teach us God's Word. If you just chose to turn from your sin and turn to God, please share your decision with a friend or family member. If you listened to these Bible truths and still have questions, please discuss your questions with someone who you know to be a Christian.
Because of God's creative storytelling technique of using everyday things to teach about Him, you will never play pool the same again because:
The white cue ball will remind you of God, the completeness of His creation and the goodness of the world that we live in.
The number "1" and number "2" balls will remind you that we are God's creation and that our life and worth come from Him.
The striped balls will remind you that we all have turned away from God and have become striped by sin resulting in the consequence of death.
But Jesus, represented by the red "3" ball, has taken our punishment of death on the cross represented by the cue sticks and has risen from the dead and offers each one of us the opportunity to live with Him forever if we choose to turn away from our sin and turn in belief and obedience to Him.
Thank you and May God Bless You!
May the Lord bless you and keep you; May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace. Numbers 4:24-26