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.

“And Samuel said, ‘Has the Lord as much as delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of divination and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has also rejected you from being king.” 1 Sam. 15:22-23

God rejected Saul from being king and God chose David to replace him. But I want you to fully understand what Samuel explained to Saul in reference to what he did. Samuel said to Saul that God take delight in our obedience verses our sacrifices. He also said that rebellion is the same as divination (witchcraft) and insubordination is the same as iniquity and idolatry. Lets each of these individually.

Obedience is better than sacrifice. Although Saul said they saved the best of the cattle to sacrifice to God, God was not having it. Samuel made it clear that God gets more pleasure out of our doing what He has called us to do versus any sacrifice that we can make. There are many people out there making sacrifices to God in their activities while ignoring what God has told them to do. In those cases, their sacrifices are worthless because they are rebelling against God in not doing what He has told them to do. It is better to do the one simple thing God has told us to do versus doing a thousand different things for God that He has not told us to do. Look at the next thing Samuel said about rebellion.

Rebellion is as divination (witchcraft) and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Samuel told Saul that rebellion is the same thing as witchcraft and that insubordination (not submitting to authority) is the same as iniquity and idolatry. Do you have any idea of God’s view of witchcraft, iniquity and idolatry? Let me share a few scriptures with you in reference to witchcraft, iniquity (lawlessness) and idolatry.

“There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For whoever does these things is detestable to the Lord and because of these detestable things the Lord your God will drive them out before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God.”

Deut. 18:10-12

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness (iniquity).”

Matthew 7:21-23

“Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outburst of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you just as I have forewarned you that those who practice such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21

God takes a very dim view of witchcraft, iniquity and idolatry. All of which can lead a person straight to hell if they do not renounce them and repent. When we consider the comparison to rebellion, we can conclude that rebellion can also lead us to hell. When Saul rebelled against God, God stripped him of being king and ensured that his family would not remain on the throne. When we read the New Testament scriptures about disobedience (rebelliousness), we find that God’s view has not changed. He detests it now just as He did in the Old Testament. In Saul’s case he refused to do what God had commanded him, but what about each of us today?

II. Present Day Rebellion

The definition of rebellion that I want you to focus on is “being in opposition against authority (God) for any reason which includes not doing something you have been told to do.” Please keep in mind the “for any reason.” A few weeks ago I preached a sermon on handling offenses. In that message I share with you how when we become offended it shuts down our ability to do what God has called us to do. In effect, when we become offended it can put us in rebellion against God. Remember the Scripture found in James 4:17? It says “Therefore, to the one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” Let’s start here.

I stop operating in my gifts because I am offended. People who serve God faithfully often get offended and stop walking in their ministry. I have seen Pastors leave Churches because they were offended. I have witnessed Sunday School teachers, deacons, trustees, and choir members stop operating in their gifts because they were offended. When God has called us into a ministry and we refuse to do it “for whatever reason” it places us in rebellion against God. There is no valid reason for not doing what God has called us to do if we have the power to do it. So when I become offended and I choose to stop preaching God’s word, then I am in rebellion against God. Remember what happened to Moses? He rebelled against God in one act because he was angry at the people. He had a very valid reason for being angry, but his reason was not good enough to go against what God had commanded him to do. If you have been so offended that you refuse to operate in your gifts, you are in rebellion to God.

Someone told me that I could not “do it”. Have you ever been in a situation where you knew you were supposed to be doing something for God but someone stood against you? Sometimes when this happens a person decided it is not worth the fight and they choose to give in to the person who said they could not do serve. Let me use this example. A person is called to preach but their pastor refuses to recognize their calling. What is that person supposed to do? If that person does not begin to walk in their calling, they are for all intents and purposes, in rebellion against God. So it becomes an issue of do they remain at their Church and rebel against God or do they leave that church so that they can begin to fulfill what God has called them to do. No man should ever stop you from doing what God has called you to do. This also applies when a spouse attempt to get another spouse to stop serving God. If you are not doing what God has called you to do because someone said you couldn’t, you are in rebellion against God.

I’m not in the mood to do good and that person does not like me. What about something as simple as praying for someone? God lays it on your heart to go and pray for brother or sister so and so. Well because you were not in the mood, you chose not to do it. Not only did you choose not to do it, you justified it by saying something like “Well, they really do not want me to anyway.” In this situation you rebelled against God. Remember your history lesson. Moses rebelled once out of anger and he did not get to enter into the promise land. What promise land are you not entering because you are in rebellion against God?

I quit my job because I was tired of doing it. Can quitting your job really put you in rebellion against God? Absolutely it can. Let me tell you how. You were needing a job and you went before God “begging” Him to give you one. God opens a door for you to the job that He has selected for you, based on your prayers and what He knows is best for you. There is no doubt in your mind that God gave you the job and you are blessed. However, several months into the job, you realize that they actually want you to work. The work is hard and you get tired of doing it so you decide to quit. You turn your back on what God has given you because you just did not want to do the job. Whenever you turn your back on someone, you rebel against them. When God blesses us, with we should cherish it because it is a gift from Him, especially if it is in answer to our prayers.

Accepting bad advice. My last example for your consideration is when we accept bad advice because it agrees with what we want to hear. Have you ever been in a situation where you sought the advice of family and friends? Sometimes the advice is good and sometimes the advice is very bad. Well, when we receive and act on the bad advice that we know goes against God’s will, we rebel against God. You see, God should be the chief authority figure in our lives so His advice should take precedence over anyone else’s in our lives. Let me give you this example; several years ago a minister that I knew came to talk with me about a problem he was having with his wife. Based on the situation, people around him told him to leave her, which is what he wanted to do. I asked him based on his knowledge of God’s word, what should he do. He hung his head and stated that he knew he needed to stay with her, but he really did not want to and all of his friends understood what he was going through. I told him he had to decide who he would listen to, God or his friends. He is still married to his wife. Sometimes the advice we receive from family and close friends is not the advice we should follow. Whenever we accept other’s bad advice over God’s we rebel against God.

As we start this New Year, I want you to consider those areas in your life that you have not submitted to God. Maybe it is how you handle certain situations where you give in to your flesh instead of handling it God’s way. Maybe it is how you readily accept the advice of friends and family that you know is in conflict with the word of God. Maybe it is how you do your job everyday, not to your best although you know God gave it to you. Maybe it is how you perform in your ministry function, sometimes you show up, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you participate, sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you prepare, sometimes you don’t. I know what you may be doing you may not consider it as rebellion, but look at it through God’s eyes. There is no grey area with God. When you know what God’s will is for you in your situation based on His stated word, you have no good reason to reject it and follow the advice of someone else.

I am asking each of you to commit yourselves to fully walking with God, no more rebelling based on our situations. As we commit to God, we can come into agreement and really start moving things for Christ. Next week we will talk about the power of Agreement and what we can accomplish when there is agreement. May God bless you.