I’m sure that many of you who know me know that I am a massive 24 buff. I’ve been calling it “The Best Show on Television” even in the midst of West Wing and all of the Law & Order and CSI shows, and I said so unflinchingly. I’m glad that last year, the TV pundits thought the same thing, in giving 24 high honors. Now, that does not mean that I am in full agreement with everything that happens on the show. I just think it is a brilliantly written show.

I would even go far enough to say that the show brings me to worship the God of the universe. You ask, “How in the world could I say that?” One of the reasons I love watching the show is that they do such a great job of throwing the most insane subplots and conflicts into the plot that keep you hanging and watching throughout the season. Add to that the inevitability of time running out. Certain conflicts just cannot last forever. If something or someone does not work, we die. Evil triumphs. Game over. And we cheer Jack Bauer on as we try to see a break in the case or a key terrorist is captured or a bomb is diffused. And all the conflicts are overcome in some way, so that justice is served, terrorism is thwarted, millions of American people are saved, the world is a safer place and Jack can finally get some sleep.

I worship because I see a metaphor for the providence of God in 24. I do not see the hand of God in every aspect of life. Just as I get very frustrated with all the conflicts in 24, I get even more overwhelmed with the conflicts in my life and the world. And just as I do not know all the other factors in the show, I do not know all the factors that are working in the world today. The only assurance that I have is that everything will work out before time runs out. God will triumph in the end. God works so that every political move, every terrorist threat, every push for power, every conflict works to accomplish His sovereign purpose. And He doesn’t even break a sweat!

This is the God of Romans 9-11. He is a God whose plan has considerable conflicts: He chose Israel, but she does not want Him or His Son. How does God accomplish His purposes in Israel? By rejecting her and extending grace to the Gentiles! How in the world is that going to solve the problem? Well, in due time, Israel will become jealous of God’s kindness to the Gentiles, and will turn again to Him. And in doing so, both Jews and Gentiles receive saving grace, all according to the sovereing purposes of God. Praise God!

There is a lot more detail to 24, as this book will probably testify (HT: Justin Taylor), and there is much more to Romans 9-11, as Piper shows, but at least in the way that I mentioned, I can worship my sovereign Lord while enjoying “the best show on television”.