From Adam to today, humanity has continuously battled the devil. The enemy wants to destroy God’s image. The only way he can “hurt God” is to attack us. Only those with a strong relationship with God will overcome the adversary’s threats. You can be just a victim or choose to become the victor in your personal struggle, depending on how you respond to the devil’s threats.

Why am I still being tempted?

Say you fight through every stronghold of evil until all the bad stuff is gone from your life. God breaks your bondage, and only righteousness dwells in your soul. Does this mean sin will never touch you again? No. Temptation surrounds us.

God left wicked nations all around His people after they settled the Promised Land (Judges 3:1-4). He left them there to prove His people, tempt them, and teach them how to fight. If they did not have to fight for their faith, they would lose it. If they lived for God because they had no other option, they would not be serving Him out of love.

God sends us events and issues in life to perfect us (James 1:2-4). God puts evil all around us to tempt us and perfect us. We grow strong by resisting the lures of sin. We draw closer to our Lord when we depend on His strength for our daily life.

We need godly leaders.

To keep the people out of trouble, God sent them leaders (called judges). Men like Gideon followed God’s battle plan in defeating the enemies. Samson received mighty strength by the power of the Spirit. Deborah used divine wisdom in routing the nation’s enemies. The last prophet was Samuel.

Going back from God’s rule to Man’s.

God’s people began desire to be like the pagan nations around them. They especially wanted a king to depend on. While this does not seem like a strange request, this would demote them from being a theocracy (a nation ruled by God) to being a monarchy (ruled by a king or queen). Samuel, the last judge, told God about the people’s desires. Even though this request would hurt Israel, God answered their prayer. Be careful what you ask from God.

What is rebellion?

God told Samuel to anoint Saul as king of Israel. Saul seemed like he would be a great leader as he could bring together an army and was willing to do his job. The first big problem came, however, when the prophet Samuel sent Saul into battle against the Amalekites. Saul did not finish the battle as the Lord requested. He did about 95% of the job, but did not finish it. Samuel told him, “rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft” (see I Samuel 15:22-23).

We have already talked about the doors of sin we need to shut. Rebellion opens an industrial-size, bay door to Satan. Just as witchcraft invites demonic power into a person’s life, so rebellion beckons the hosts of hell to invade your soul. Rebellion includes:

  • Wives who refuse to honor their husbands.
  • Men who will not respect their bosses.
  • Children who refuse to obey their parents.
  • Church members who speak against their elders.

What does God do to those who are rebellious?

God removed Saul from being king. After following the path of rebellion, Saul ended his life by depending on witchcraft and killing himself. God anointed and appointed David to take his place as monarch of Israel.

David had a tender heart of worship before the Lord. He brought peace to the kingdom. In spite of making some raunchy mistakes, David loved God passionately and served Him to the end. David intended to build the Temple for God, but could not.

David’s son Solomon became king and fulfilled his father’s vision of building God’s Temple. He did not have a pure heart before God and later fell into all kinds of pagan worship with his 700 wives and 300 mistresses.

When is it right to rebel?

Solomon’s son Rehoboam became a heartless king in Jerusalem. He raised taxes in the land and treated the people like dirt. Another man, named Jeroboam, took ten of the twelve tribes and formed the northern kingdom. These offended citizens were right about Rehoboam being a bad leader. However, Jeroboam was wrong to leave with a rebellious spirit.

Rebellion is wrong, even if you are right. Rebellion is a spirit. You can obey rebelliously just as you may have to disobey submissively. Rebellious obedience slams the door and throws the garbage bag when taking out the trash. Submissive disobedience opens the Bible in an anti-God country.

Rebellion brings us back into bondage. God’s people who followed the spirit of rebellion reentered captivity. The same nation that escaped the slavery of Egypt then became captive to Assyria. Later Judah, the southern kingdom, fell prey to the invading armies of Babylon.

How do you get back to God after walking away from Him?

When the people followed God, He protected them. When they walked away from Him, He left them and the enemy took over. After being in captivity for 70 years, the former inhabitants of Jerusalem returned to their hometown, seeking to restore what they had lost.

They arrived at a city in ruins. What does a person rebuild when everything is in ruins? Do you first build the grocery store? Or should they get a government building built first? Or were their homes more important? The people chose to prioritize God’s house, the Temple (Ezra 5:2).

First, Meet with God.

When you have fallen away, you need to run into the arms of the Lord. Even before you go buy a brand new Bible or a WWJD t-shirt, get on your knees and get back into the presence of the Lord. Rebuild the relationship with your Savior. You must seek Him with all your heart. You ran after sin full-throttle, now do everything you can to get back into His presence (Jeremiah 29:11-12; Hebrews 11:6).

Second, Seek His Truth.

Having the Temple did not solve everything. They had to relearn how to please their God. They began searching out the word of God with the help of the priest Ezra. This man had given his life to the study of scripture and sharing it with others (Ezra 7:10).

We cannot just pray. We must know God’s word (Hosea 4:6). Prayer alone does not set us free. Jesus said we will find freedom in the truth we know (John 8:32).

Brace for impact!

As you travel from sinfulness into God’s truth, you will soon hit a speed bump: you will encounter something not to your liking and it may slow down your progress. You may even want to park everything right there. You have to decide you love God more than your preferences. Do not let anything or anyone stop you from arriving at your spiritual destination. Remember, obeying God’s Word brings you freedom, but rebellion leads to more bondage. Do not resist the Lord.

Next time…

We will look at how to make sure our hearts are ready for God.