What do you think of when you hear the word, “rebellion”? I think of Darth Vadar. He is doctor of rebellion. How would you feel if he were your father?
Whose authority do you struggle to submit to? Could it be an unfair teacher that everybody agrees has unrealistic expectations, an abusive parent, a coach who will not play you, a boss who doesn’t listen and shows favoritism to others, or a friend who is trying to help you? How do you react to their authority in your life? We live a day when it is cool to be rebellious. You hear people say, “I am the boss. I call the shots. I will do what I want to do, when I want to do it. This is my life. I make my own choices. I…I…I… me…me…me…You can’t tell me what to do.” You’d think people were trying out for the selfish opera.
Why do we think like this? Why are some people so rebelliousness? There are many reasons why people are prone to rebellion: jealous for control, delusional from a false view of authority, ungrateful for the place God has put them, stubborn, disappointed by their situation, or simply untrusting of anyone. In that last few generations we have seen an enormous upswing in rebellion against authority. Rebellion didn’t start in the “rebelutionary” 1960’s. It began in the beginning [Genesis]. Rebllion is the oldest sin in the Book.
The story of Satan is rebellion against God: also known as the me, myself & I monster. Satan was the worship leader of heaven. He didn’t like his gig. He wanted to be the top dog and run the show. He wanted to usurp God’s authority or so he tried [cf. Isaiah 14:13-14, “I will ascend to heaven, above the stars of God I will set my throne on high…I will make myself like the Most High.”]. This story sounds like a lot of people I know, myself included. When I rebel I try to take the place of God in my life.
Throughout the Bible we read story after story of rebellious people. In 1 Samuel, we read the story of Saul, King of Israel, who is the poster child for having authority issues. The prophet of God Samuel says to Saul who repeatedly disobeys God commands says, “Rebellion is the sin of witchcraft.” [1 Samuel 15:23] What is witchcraft? It is saying you are on the same team with Satan. Rebellion is having the spirit as the devil that allows him to rule our lives. Let’s see how God deals with this in the Bible:
Summary of Rebellion in the Bible:
Genesis 1—God sets up His authority over mankind and makes man in His image
Genesis 2-3—man rebels and listens to the serpent [Adam & Eve]
Genesis 4—man rebels again with an unworthy sacrifice [Cain & Abel]
Genesis 6—man rebels with worldwide wickeness [Noah]
Genesis 10—man rebels trying to aspire to God [Tower of Babel]
Exodus-Deuteronomy—man rebels by complaining in the wilderness [Moses]
Rest of the OT—man rebels against the prophets message [i.e. Jonah]
So are you wondering where authority issues lead? It should be somewhat clear from our summary of Scripture. Satan is cast out of heaven, Adam and Eve are cast out of the Garden, the children of Israel are cast out of Promised Land, Jonah is cast out of the boat, and we will be cast out of the presence of God for rebellion. There is a common theme of rebellion in the heart of man and common response by God: cast out.
If you look in the word authority the word “author” is in its beginning. God is the author of authority. What does good authority look like? Sovereignty: His rule in our lives. God has established His authority in our life from the beginning. He shows us and teaches us what good and godly authority looks like.
Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith [cf. Hebrews 12:1-4]. He is submitted Himself to the Father even to the point of death. Jesus submitted to God’s authority and the authority of man [Mt.22:21 “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesars and God the things that are His.”]. Lack of submission to authority is cowardly. The world thinks just the opposite. However, the manliest man in the entire world submitted Himself to sinful authorities that forced Him to carry the cross to His death. He did this for your example and your salvation.
Paul thought he was the authority of his own life. He was brilliantly smart, fanatically religious, came from a strong family, and was respected by his compadres, which fueled his pride and rebellion against God [cf. Philippians 3:4-8]. One day on the Road to Damascus he came under the submission of Christ. He finally realized what true authority was all about [cf. Romans 13:1-2]. God has appointed authorities in our life for our good. So what are we to do?
We need to get under the things God has put over us, so we can get over the things God has put under us.
Why does God put authority over us? First, to protect you. God want us to live under authority for our protection. He is like an umbrella that protects us from harsh elements. If I take myself out from under His authority I am vulnerable to all sorts of pain, temptation and mess. Second, God desires to mature you. As I look back in my life God has used some authorities in my life to help me grow up in my faith. Even those some were unfair, ungodly or abusive; they were placed there by God to mold me like clay into the person He wanted me to be. Third, God desires your worship. I am made in the image of God [cf. Gen. 1:26-28, You are a dominioneer]. Everything I do is about worship. 24/7 I am worshiping someone or something, and God desires that it be He alone.
Again, whose authority do you struggle to submit to? Is it a parent, spouse, mature friend, teacher, coach, boss or God? Do you believe God’s authority can transform the way you submit to the authorities or Darth Vadar’s in your life?