Systemic Rebellion II

Systemic Rebellion II

Written by: Larry Elliott

It seems I have written too many blogs on rebellion. Unfortunately, rebellion is a significant story line in the OT. From the divided kingdom after Solomon’s death to the Babylonian captivity covered over 400 years. In that span of time Judah and Israel had a total of 39 kings, only 8 of them, all from the southern tribe of Judah, “…did what was right in the sight of the Lord.” There was not one (1) good king from the northern tribes of Israel! Not a good batting average.

Scripture is replete with stories of the overt evil that plagued the nation both before and during this time. Outright evil and pervasive disobedience were the order of the day. Both men and women continue to rebel, impoverished and wealthy, educated and not, prestigious and not, popular and not, intelligent and not, Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, religious and irreligious, all nations, and all races continue the rebellion!!!

One simple, yet profound, observation as we consider this rebellion story is the obvious conclusion that leaders frame the trajectory, for good or for ill, of the nation and whether it will follow God or, in more modern times, a nation’s policies and moral direction. This is also true for institutions and families and individuals.

Is it possible to be a part of this rebellion and eventually turn to follow God? Does God give us any examples of this kind of story and its outcome? He does indeed, but there are far more stories of those who do not.

Consider, first, the eight good kings of Judah:

Asa, I Kings 15
Jehoshaphat, I Kings 22
Joash, II Kings 11-12
Amaziah, II Kings 14
Azariah, II Kings 15
Jotham, II Kings 15
Hezekiah, II Kings 18-20
Josiah, II Kings 21-23

Four of these good kings followed bad kings and often blatant corruption. What caused them to follow a different path is unique to each of them and not subject to their predecessor. This should provide us some hope in God’s gracious plan. It does not matter what your parents or siblings believed or how they lived, the dysfunction or trauma of your past, under God’s dispensation every human being gets to choose to follow him or to embrace a world bent on destruction. Every human being has the option to break the generational pattern of disbelief and rebellion. We are not destined nor obligated to repeat the godless direction of our ancestors or the world.

The prophet Jeremiah said it like this, “What injustice did your fathers find in Me, that they went far from Me, and walked after worthlessness (emptiness, NASB) and became worthless (empty, NASB)?” THIS is among the reasons God forbid idol worship; the nation who was to represent him, must not look just like all the other nations. Do I think any differently, act any differently than the world around me?

What biblical characters come to mind who were successful in this transition from rebellion to truth? Perhaps Abraham, Rahab, or Esther in the OT? The prodigal, Saul or, Onesimus in the NT? There are, no doubt, many others and millions who simply lived a quiet, godly life and never graced the pages of scripture. When the story is told about who you followed, who/what was the object of your worship, what will be said? Your choice.

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