Summary: How we can easily go from being faithful to being in rebellion.
From Faithful To Rebellion In Under Sixty Seconds
Scriptures: 1 Samuel 15;
Last week I asked you to make a New Year’s resolution focusing on being steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. That request was based on what Paul said to the Corinthian Church in 1 Corinthians 15:58. In order to be steadfast, unmovable and abounding in the work of the Lord, we must make some hard decisions. Some of those decisions involve us changing our attitudes; changing how we respond to situations; and changing how we see ourselves. One of the most important decisions that we will make, the one I want to focus on this morning, is the decision to stop rebelling against God. Now I know some of you are thinking that you do not ever rebel against God and that you are fully committed to serving Him, but I want you to hear me out anyway. My goal this morning is to help each of us understand how easy it is for us to go from being faithful to God to rebellion against Him.
What does it mean to be rebellious? We often think about this in reference to children (ours or someone else’s) who are rebelling. When our child rebels against us, we often take immediate action. Those actions could range from giving the child a time out to what the Bible refers to as not “sparing the rod”. When we think about the word rebellion, it often brings up images of someone going against someone else who has authority over them. When we look up the word “rebellion” in the dictionary, it means to be “defiance of any authority.” By definition, you can be rebellious against parents, teachers, employer, supervisors, siblings and the lists goes on since it involves being defiant against anyone in authority over you. The word defiant means to be resistant to authority. In the Old Testament the word rebellious carries several meanings depending on the context in how it was used. One of the Hebrew words for rebellious is “marah.” It means to rebel, to be contentious. It signifies an opposition against someone that is motivated by pride. Another Hebrew word for rebellious is “carar.” This word means to turn away, as in someone who revolts or back slides. One other point here, the words rebellion, rebellious and its other derivatives do not appear in the New Testament. In the New Testament the word most often used is disobedient (disobedience). We will talk more in depth about that a little later. For right now, think about the definition of being in opposition against authority for any reason. The authority figure I want you to set your sights on is God. Turn with me to a very familiar Scripture found in 1st Samuel chapter 15. We will read several verses but I want you to focus on verse 23.
I. Saul Rebels Against God
In the 15th chapter of 1st Samuel, we find the story of Saul’s rebellion against God. There were several events that led up to Saul’s action that you can read in the previous chapters, but what we will examine was more of the icing on the cake. In the first nine verses Saul receives his marching orders from the prophet Samuel. Samuels reminds Saul that God had anointed him king and therefore he should go forth and do what God was commanding him to do. Samuel told Saul to go and wipe out the Amalekites because they fought against Israel when they were coming out of Egypt. You may recall that battle in Exodus chapter 17 when Moses stood on the hill with his arms raised. As long as his arms were up Joshua and his men prevailed against Amalek. But when his arms went down, Amalek prevailed. Finally Aaron and Hur stood beside Moses and held up his arms until Joshua defeated Amalek. After that battle, God told Moses to record in a book that one day He would wipe out the memory of Amalek. That day had come. Saul and his men went forth to destroy the Amalekites according to God’s will.
Saul started out to do exactly what Samuel had commanded him. He went into the city and started wiping out everyone. During this time, when a king overthrew a city, He and his men would take the best of the city to keep for themselves (this was calling spoiling the city). They would take the women and children to be their slaves and all of the goods that were valuable. Contrary to what God had directed him to do, Saul and his men killed everyone in the city except King Agag. They also did not destroy everything that was in the city, but kept the best of the cattle and everything else that was good. It does not appear that they had any reason to do this other than they were spoiling the city and ignoring what God had told them to do. You can imagine how angry this made God. When God gives a command, He truly expects it to be done according to the directions that He has given. When Saul did not do as He had commanded, this was the final straw. When you read the rest of the chapter, you will find that God spoke to Samuel and told him what Saul had done. God told Samuel that He regretted making Saul king because Saul had turned back from following Him. When Samuel went to Saul, he reminded Saul of what God had told him to do and how he did not do it. Saul tried to justify it by saying they only keep the best to sacrifice to God. Notice what Samuel says to Saul in verses 22-23.