It’s not God that loads us down with guilt and shame about our past. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. For it tells us in Psalm 103: 8-13, “The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will He harbor His anger forever; He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” It’s only God’s merciful kindness towards us that takes our sins and throws them all into the Sea of Forgetfulness. It’s only us that dredge them back up and torture ourselves with them.
Moses was speaking to a defiant and rebellious Israel in the desert wilderness after they had returned from a disastrous battle with the Amorites. The enemy had chased the Jewish army down the hillside like a swarm of bees…beating them back…resulting in heavy casualties. The old saying, “I’d rather ask for forgiveness than ask permission,” just doesn’t work with God! Anytime we think we know more than God, we’re treading on thin ice…and anytime we act on it, we too will be marching out minus God’s blessing.
Admitting we’re wrong and asking forgiveness is hard to do. And when it comes to acknowledging our sin before God it gets even tougher. It’s not that we’re deliberately rebelling against Him…of blatantly and conspicuously sinning for all to see. No, it’s rather sins by omission that really mess us up. These are secret sins that are easy to hide…things that only we may know about. These sins of omission are things neglected and left undone in our lives…like regular time in the Word, or prayer. Or they’re things we chose to turn a blind eye to…knowing the Lord wants us to act, but choosing to be apathetic instead. These sins of omission are disobedience at its best and need to be dealt with, for as time goes on, it becomes easier and easier to allow these sins to hide in our sub-conscience and justify them rather than admit they are wrong.
Why do you persist in rebellion? Great question, right? We stubbornly continue down paths of disobedience and willful defiance against God…knowing full well, it’s only hurting ourselves. And if we think about it…most of the injuries we receive are self-inflicted because of the foolish choices we make. Jeremiah 30:17 says, “I will restore you to health and heal your wounds declares the Lord.” Disobedience causes unsoundness within us. But God wants to come and restore us back to health…returning us to wholeness and peace.
This Scripture specifically deals with immorality and adultery…but in the bigger picture, it deals with sin against God. Have you ever considered that every time you sin – you’re defying God to His face? For every time you allow evil to reign in your life, you’re in direct opposition to God and rebelling against Him. Joseph understood that giving into a temptation was a sin…but that sin isn’t self contained…for no matter how hidden we think it is, others will be affected by our lack of judgement. And ultimately, Joseph knew he would be sinning against God.
Rebellion is not a learned behavior…we are hard-wired to be defiant. Just ask any mom contending with her toddler! With independence and autonomy comes rebellion and disobedience. Fast forward to adulthood and we see people resisting and defying authority everyday…refusing to accept what they perceive as control over themselves. For many, this extends into their view of who God is and the refusal to accept Him, His laws, and His correction. Rebellion against God is futile vanity that will only lead to judgment someday.
Rebellion…if you’ve ever tried to reason with a toddler why he can’t do something, only to see him do it…you’d think we were born defiant! Unfortunately, since that moment in the Garden of Eden, humans have been on a path of revolution and resistance against God. But where has our fierce independence gotten us? Separated far from God as He looks on with great sorrow at the abject wickedness and corruption of His creation. Rebellion is the road to hell…the time is now to turn from evil and embrace obedience and submission.