Rebellion: What Is It? Is it Always Wrong?

 

Isaiah 30:1 “Woe to the rebellious children,” says the Lord, “Who take counsel, but not of Me, And who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, That they may add sin to sin;

The simple definition of rebellion is: “The action or process of resisting authority...”

Rebellion is a major program in every area of life and society. There are also instances were rebellion is warranted. We'll touch on that later.

Rebellion is an artifact of human nature. It naturally occurs in all people, including you and me. In fact, we were born with rebellious tendencies because people are born and shaped in iniquity.  

Psalm 51:5, Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.

One of the most important features of child training is to check the rebellious spirit. A child who's allowed to be rebellious will grow up as a rebellious adult. A child who grows up resisting the guidance and authority of his parents will become an adult carrying that same attribute. Rebellious people always wind up in trouble or worse.

Some quotes on rebellion:
“A creature revolting against a creator is revolting against the source of his own powers–including even his power to revolt. It is like the scent of a flower trying to destroy the flower.”  C.S. Lewis

“For there is no one so great or mighty that he can avoid the misery that will rise up against him when he resists and strives against God.”  John Calvin

“The beginning of men’s rebellion against God was, and is, the lack of a thankful heart.” Francis Schaeffer

The Bible is very clear about rebellion. 

1 Samuel 15:23, 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. (Speaking to Saul who defied the instructions of the prophet Samuel)

Proverbs 17:11, Evil people are eager for rebellion, but they will be severely punished.

Romans 13:1-2 Everyone must submit to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist are instituted by God. So then, the one who resists the authority is opposing God’s command, and those who oppose it will bring judgment on themselves. (This is also used in wrong ways)

In our country, peaceful protest is acceptable. However, rioting is illegal and destructive. It is clearly rebellious and it undermines credibility and achieving justice.

Dr. King and the people of the Civil Rights were correct in their approach. They practiced "civil disobedience" which many called rebellion. They were not rebellious because they remained submitted to authority in other areas of their lives.

There is the story of a wife who was married to an unsaved man. He told her that she could not go to Wednesday evening Bible Study, and that if she went he would lock her out of the house. She went and he locked her out. She came home. When he opened the door the next morning, she fell in because she fell asleep sitting against the door.  She got up, said "good morning" and asked him what he wanted for breakfast.

Notice she rebelled against him telling her that she could not go to church, but she remained submitted as a wife. The man got saved and became the great evangelist named Smith Wigglesworth.

A rebellious person is consistently out of order in their lives, not submitted to authority, and not accountable to anyone but themselves. A lack of accountability and being answerable is the soil of a rebellious spirit.

Luke 6:46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?”

Isaiah 63:10 But they rebelled against him and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he became their enemy and fought against them.

2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will multiply teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear something new. They will turn away from hearing the truth and will turn aside to myths.

Matthew 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Hebrews 12:5-6  And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 6 For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.”.

2 Timothy 3:1-5 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

You have a duty to rebel against ungodly authority like Hezekiah.

2 Kings 18:1, Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea the son of Elah, king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz, king of Judah, began to reign.  4 He removed the high places and broke the sacred pillars, cut down the wooden image and broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made; for until those days the children of Israel burned incense to it, and called it Nehushtan. 5 He trusted in the Lord God of Israel, so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor who were before him. 6 For he held fast to the Lord; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the Lord had commanded Moses. 7 The Lord was with him; he prospered wherever he went. And HE REBELLED against the king of Assyria and did not serve him. 8 He subdued the Philistines, as far as Gaza and its territory, from watchtower to fortified city.

 

 

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