Unthread the Rude Eye of Rebellion
Can the will of the King be counted as dross to be cast to the wind? It appears to be the case with some. And perhaps even ourselves. Consider this.
It was early in the morning. One could hear the bleating of the sheep. The lowing of the oxen. Typical sounds one might hear throughout the hills surrounding Gilgal. And yet the bellowing cries heard on this particular morn indicated something more. For the king of Israel, it marked the end of his reign.
“For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and presumption is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has also rejected you from being king.”
1 Samuel 15.23
God’s instructions regarding the Amalekites were explicit. “Devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them” (1 Samuel 15.3). And yet we find that Saul sins by failing to obey God’s commandment to the letter. In fact this narrative of disobedience is a repetition of the same kind of disobedience seen earlier when Saul offers up a burnt offering instead of waiting for Samuel (1 Samuel 13.13b-14). Saul does most of what God instructs him to do through Samuel, but he does not obey completely. Saul was appointed king over Israel. His task was to know God’s commands, obey them and to lead the nation in obedience. And yet, he failed. Miserably. His refusal to totally annihilate the Amalekites costs him his kingdom. It is a most serious sin.
The text not only exposes Saul’s sin, but it may also very well expose our own. The nature of Saul’s disobedience is very much like the disobedience prevalent among Christians today. Disobedience sometimes occurs in bold, blatant forms, such as Adam and Eve’s disobedience regarding the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. But even partial obedience is not the equivalent of obedience. James reminds us all of that fact (James 2.10). The king attempted to rationalize and redefine obedience. But redefining obedience is rebellion. It really is as simple as that. And yet how many times do we fail to grasp the severity of the message? It’s amazing how many of our Lord’s commandments we have convinced ourselves are no longer applicable to us today. Cavalier attitudes towards sin become commonplace.
The eternal implications and consequences are dire.
There will always be something distinct about our present day, yet history haunts. How rebellious and stubborn are we? More tumultuous than one could ever imagine. Nations rage against the Lord of Hosts. And lest we forget, so do individuals. But as the psalmist says those schemes are vain (Psalm 2.1).
Rebellion per se is not a virtue despite what the pundits might say. We cannot drown our truths, no matter how deep or far we let them sink. We all have sinned. And in so doing, fall short of the glory of God. Yes, "Israel has been in rebellion against the house of David to this day" (2 Chronicles 10.19). And so have many of us. We surrender our autonomy on the altar of self-reliance. Never realizing that capitulation can seal our destiny.
An evil man seeks only rebellion, and a cruel messenger will be sent against him.
Rebellion is a treasonous act against God. From the first foul revolt of the infernal serpent against which the Supreme Majesty of Heaven sent forth the armed myriads of His angels, the unavoidable truth is this: God will come to execute judgment on all and convict the ungodly of their rebellious deeds.
Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.
This is what rebellion looks like. Presuming where we ought not. Defying the authority of our Sovereign King. Man's rebellion against God has always been prevalent because he would rather fall in pride than rise in humility. Some today would even dare say that if you obey all the rules, you miss out on life. Such words are the words of a hardened heart. One who desires to please self. Who neglects to hear the voice of God. The simple truth of the matter is that if we fail to bend the knee to the Most High, we are in danger of missing much, much more. Yes, our God desires all men to come to repentance and turn to Him. He is indeed long-suffering. As is found in Jeremiah:
I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me.
Comforting words indeed. And yet, many today are in actuality comfortably numb. Numb to the pleas of our Lord. Numb to the offering of salvation and an eternal home with Him. Numb to the fact of acknowledging Him as Lord and walking in obedient faith. We need but do as Shakespeare so eloquently said:
“Un-thread the rude eye of rebellion, and welcome home again discarded faith”
We must awaken from our slumber and heed the words of our Lord. Forfeit our trust in the delusions that Satan spews forth from his venomous lips. Light again the lanterns of faith that have been darkened by the foolishness of the wisdom of the world. Come home and embrace once again the faith we have abandoned through our rebellious actions. Realizing that we are now engaged in a great war testing whether we can endure. And pray that fewer people will listen to just plain nonsense. Truth is not whatever we determine it to be. Presumption is iniquity. The truth is in Jesus (Ephesians 4.21).
Unthread the rude eye of rebellion.
Our God will deliver us from the wrath to come. If we but heed His voice. Utterly.
“O Father save us. All praise to Thee.”
This be our prayer.