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 Rebellion - 12/21/10

They Shook their Fists at God

December 21, 2010

I have recently been reflecting on the contents of Revelation chapter 16 and thinking about the three times that it says people blasphemed God as He poured out vials of wrath on them in punishment for rejecting Him. In each of the three instances, the scripture says that they did this IN RESPONSE TO PAIN that they were experiencing and their response was to blaspheme God. This response on the part of these people appears to me to be the ultimate form of blatant rebellion and I have trouble envisioning how anyone could be so defiant in the face of the Almighty God when there is no question that it is His hand at work.

But brothers and sisters, as I think about that scene, God has been showing me lately that those people who are so blatantly defying Him could easily be you and me if it werenít for Godís abundant grace. The people that will rebel this way when God pours out His judgment will do so because they are sick with the disease that we all suffer from -- a sinful nature. And at the core, each and every sin that man has ever committed equates to rebelling against the will of God. Also note that in every case there was pain involved which helped to trigger this deep-seated response. Brethren, this is a response and a disease that infests me and you, indeed all of the saints. On any given day, we can find ourselves when pressed or hurt in just the right way shaking our fists at God.

The LORD showed me an illustration of this from His word in the life of King David. We all know that he was a strong leader who was highly anointed with the Spirit of God from his youth. Even throughout the time when he was on the run for his life from Saul, David was always careful to respect Saul as being Godís anointed king and to not stretch forth his hand against him to retaliate or defend himself. We also know that David was not perfect and that he committed some major sins that brought about Godís judgment for correction in his life (e.g. the sin with Bathsheba in 2 Sam 11 and the numbering of the people in 2 Sam 24). But in one particular case in 1 Sam 25, David is highly offended (hurt) by Nabalís ingratitude, slap in the face, and refusal to reciprocate with help. David very much loses his composure, gets angry and becomes temporarily blind spiritually and sets off to kill Nabal and all of his helpers. During this momentary blindness, David forgot about (and could not hear) what God said about not taking vengeance or shedding blood without a cause. David had known these things but the pain that he felt from being insulted by Nabal triggered his emotional response and drove him to move toward these acts of rebellion.

BUT GOD had a plan Ė The word of God says that there has no temptation taken you but such as is common to manÖ but God is faithful with the temptation also to make a way to escape. Here for David, Godís way to escape out of this was through Nabalís wife Abigail who came to David and gently reminded him of who he was in God and specifically about not avenging himself or shedding innocent blood. She was able to bring David back from the brink of falling into yet more sin and David was able to see the faithfulness of God as He Himself repaid the wickedness of Nabal so that David did not have to commit evil.

The message in this is that if it werenít for the grace and mercy of God, I could easily find myself responding to some perceived pain in my life and shaking my rebellious fist at God in ways that would surprise me. We could all find ourselves in this place if pressed with the right type or level of pain in our lives. This is why I need you and you need me (indeed, we need each other so very much) in this journey that God has us on. On any given day I need you to be my Abigail (or you may need me to be yours) to shake me when I am temporarily blinded and remind me of who I am in Christ Jesus or to point out to me that I am entering a path of rebellion.

When we fall into these situations, the 11 verses of Psalms 32 are an excellent refuge of encouragement of Godís mercy and forgiveness for His children who fall into this. For truly I tell you that HE KNOWS US very well (nothing is hidden by us from him). Also, always remember Psalm 139:23-24 in your prayers.

All glory be unto God the father and our Lord Jesus Christ, and peace and grace be unto us all.

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© 2010 Gerald L. Prater

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