God had essentially made two covenants with the people He had selected or called apart to worship Him and became the nation of Israel. The first is the promise God made to Abraham that He would bless the people and that He would bless the whole world through the sending of the Messiah through this nation.
Second, was the covenant He made by the giving of the Law to Moses. Between the time of Moses’ death and when Israel (the Northern Kingdom) falls, the people of Israel would become more and more rebellious against God.
While King David and his son, Solomon were not perfect, they kept the nation of Israel following the Lord God. But as they passed, disagreements arose, and various leaders began to split the nation of Israel. And around 900 Israel was split into two nations – Israel (to the north) and Judah (to the south). They would have about 20 kings between them and these two nations wouldn’t get along.
The kings of both nations can be characterized by these words, “He did evil in the eyes of the Lord.” They allowed sin to run wild and worshipped everything but the true God. They both became idol nations, no longer worshipping and serving God. The consequences of this were disastrous – Israel was destroyed in 722 and sold in slavery while Judah was overthrown in 605 by the Babylonians and the people in Jerusalem and their possessions were taken away to this foreign country.
At this point, you may want to read: 2 Chronicles 36:11-14
This is the story of rebellion and rebels!!
This is a theme throughout the bible – from the time Adam and Eve rebelled in disobeying God, to Cain killing his brother, to the Israelites complaining and making a golden calf, to David lusting after Basheba when he shouldn’t have, to these kings and the people of Israel turning away from God to do their own thing and fulfill their own pleasures.
But they aren’t the only ones, are they?
It didn’t stop with the people in this story, did it? In fact, as we look around today, we see plenty of rebellion against God’s Law…his Word…and worshipping things other than Him.
In fact, some of us might have been rebels at one point, maybe even now!
You know, it is one thing to make a stupid decision… maybe we didn’t have enough information. Maybe we were given wrong information. Maybe we allowed our emotions to get the best of us and we said or did something we later regretted. Or maybe we just didn’t think far enough ahead. These are all one thing.
But rebellion is when you knowingly and consciously do the wrong thing.
And lets be honest – it is sort of cool to be a rebel.
Just the way we walk…carry ourselves…or talk… can give away that we are a rebel.
It’s cool to have a stride… to walk to a different beat… to do it “your way.”
Especially as kids, it is fun to break the rules…see if you can get away with something…take it to the edge…
When you are a rebel, people who keep the rules are LOSERS!
They are “goody-to-shoes” and nobody wants to be called one of those.
Rebels have the attitude – “I know its wrong, that’s why I’m doing it anyway…There is nobody like me…No one can get away with this but me… everyone else might get caught, but not me.”
Rebels not only live on the edge, but live over the edge…live outside the lines… run out of bounds…
Anybody remember a time in your life when you were feeling these emotions and having these thoughts?
You see, people in the bible weren’t any different than you. You can relate to these kings and these people who lived outside of the lines, who lived over the edge, and essentially said, “God, we can do what we want…”
In fact many people don’t even acknowledge God, they simply feel they make up the rules. They either don’t believe in God… don’t believe God can do anything to stop them… or just feel like life owes them and they are going after what ever they want, regardless of what God might think.
You may want to stop here and read: 2 Chronicles 36:18-20
And here is the thing about being a rebel – because God has given us choice and free-will, we can choose to follow God or we can rebel and do it our way.
And God in his grace will give us a long leash… He will give us time to live in rebellion. Just like the Prodigal Son. He rebelled… he went away to do his own thing for awhile… but then came to his senses, repented and went home.
But the point of the story here in Chronicles is that the people lived chronically in rebellion – knowing the right way…knowing God’s laws…knowing God’s love – but they chose to walk away and not come back.
What happened? They lived so long in a state of rebellion that they became hard-hearted against God. It’s not that they no longer believed, they just didn’t care. They had gotten into such a pattern that all that mattered to them was their agenda… their comfort… and what they wanted. This went on for a long time.
And what happens when this goes on for a long time and God sees that the hearts of people aren’t going to return to Him, He pulls back his blessing of protection.
It isn’t that He was out to get the people or that He was vindictive, but rather they knowingly and consciously walked away from God. And with it, they left his protection.
You see, when you are living in rebellion, the only thing that matters is doing what you want to do and managing outcomes so you can escape consequences or being found out.
Your only real prayer when in rebellion is “Please don’t let me get caught.”
In other words, “Please don’t let my life catch up with me.”
But as see throughout the bible, rebellion will catch up with us.
You see, rebellion isolates you (it gives you a powerful feeling for awhile like you are out there alone…you are strong…invincible…get away with what others can’t); but it doesn’t insulate you from consequences.
Rebellion causes us to live in our Super Ego – which is the place where we think we are above and beyond not only God, but the rules of others and everyday consequences.
But God in his mercy gives us a solution to rebellion – it is called turning from your super ego to surrendering to Him – or repenting!
Rebellion has two consequences:
1. Temporal consequences – consequences in this life
2. Eternal consequences – it is the utter rejection of God in your life. And if you die in this state, you don’t get another chance to make things right according to the writers of the books that make up the bible.
Questions to reflect upon…
- Am I currently in a state of rebellion against God? Some of the symptoms could be, being too busy for God…enjoying pleasures too much that you know are wrong…finding ways to escape living the way your conscience is telling you…)
- If you take time to assess your life and find that you are living in rebellion, what do you plan to do about it?