I figuratively rolled up my sleeves at the card table, ready to get down to business. The penny ante poker game usually was quite affordable, even for us college students. One of my favorites was Acey Deucey, where you were dealt two cards and bet on the likelihood the next card fell between them. Let’s say, you got a queen and a four. You bet 20 cents. If the card was a seven, you got your bet. If it was an Ace, you lost your bet. If it was the same, say a queen, you paid double. The wider the spread, the more likely you would win, and the higher you bet. An Ace and a two was the biggest spread, so people tended to bid the pot.
One night, as we were playing, people kept missing their bets, and the pot continued building. Finally, Jack got an acey deucey and bid the pot. He was dealt a two, so he paid double. I got a King and a three, a spread where most bid the pot, but I bid a modest two dollars and won. Soon, Sam was dealt an Ace and a three. Sweat popped out on his brow and started dripping on his sleeve. With a whisper, he bid the pot and got an Ace, again paying double. By now the pot was so large that even the dealer was shaking. After I won another modest pot, Mike finally won the whole thing, and we changed to a new game, with the relief of nervous laughter echoing through the room.
Even playing other types of card games, my habit of bidding modestly always left me a winner. I was never the highest winner, but always won. Once in a while, we would find that someone had something up his sleeve, literally or metaphorically, but the gang dealt with that and moved on. What they couldn’t handle was my constant winning. They knew that I was not cheating, but I didn’t wear my heart on my sleeve, causing me to break out in a sweat or start shaking or any other signs giving away my hand. I was finally banned from playing with them.
God is like that poker player that doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve. God told us in the Old Testament what He was going to do, but He phrased it carefully, in such a way that people could and did misinterpret the passages. He had a reason. In I Cor 2:7-8 it says, “the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” Satan had power over people, the power of the fear of death. When he caused Jesus to be crucified, that power was broken. Heb 2:14-15 “He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.” God’s thought are so much deeper than our reasonings that it behooves us to trust His system.