1 Samuel 15:23 – “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.”
But here in this passage, God likens rebellion to the sin of witchcraft. And any student of the Bible knows what God thinks of witchcraft. In giving the Law to Moses, God commanded in Exodus 22:18, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” Pretty harsh punishment for one who is “just curious” about the black arts – Satanism – Wicca – the drug culture – but we’ll save that for a later discussion. Rebellion was and is a very serious matter before God. It was Saul’s rebellion in this 15th chapter of 1 Samuel that caused Saul to disobey God’s direct orders – and then try to pass it off on the people. But what Saul was actually saying was, “I’ll do things my way, because that’s what I want!” But God said, “NO!” “Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.” This rejection drove Saul mad, and he sought out the counsel of one of the very witches that God had told him to drive out of the land. This rebellion caused the defeat of the Israelite armies – it caused the death of his son, Jonathan – and it caused his own death.
In Genesis 4, God prescribed a certain way that offerings were to be brought before God – a lamb had to be slain. Hebrews 9:27 says, “Without shedding of blood, is no remission.” Each lamb that was slain as a sacrifice was a shadow looking forward to the Lamb of God who would make the ultimate sacrifice. So God was very clear with His instructions. But Cain wasn’t satisfied to do it God’s way. What Cain was actually saying was, “I’ll do things my way, because that’s what I want!” But God said, “NO!” “Now art thou cursed from the earth … A fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.” Cain’s rebellion caused him to kill his brother Abel and forced God to expel him from his family to wander the earth for the rest of his life.
The final example of rebellion against God we find in 2 Samuel 11. David was now king over
Israel – he was
a mighty warrior – he was a just ruler – he was a beneficent despot. But he was still just a man – a man after
God’s own heart – but just a man.
Instead of going to the battlefield with his troops, he seceded to stay
home and rest. There he saw another
man’s wife, lusted after her, and took her in sin. To cover his sin, he even went so far as to
murder the husband. What David was
actually saying was, “I’ll do things my way, because that’s what I want!” But God said, “NO!” “Now
therefore the sword shall never depart from thy house; because thou hast
despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife.” He was caught – oh, the shame – the moral
dispatcher of God’s justice was caught in sin.
But what did David do? He
repented – his repentance was sincere (read it in Psalm 51) – and God forgave
him. He stuck with the punishment, but
He forgave David of the sin and restored David’s fellowship and joy.
"Lord, Thank you for your longsuffering - thank you for your forgiveness for our sin - thank you for your mercy. But Lord, help us to set aside our rebellious ways and live in perfect fellowship with you daily. Amen."