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Rebellion

Growing in Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
July 11, 2021 7:00 pm

Rebellion

Growing in Grace / Doug Agnew

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July 11, 2021 7:00 pm

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If you have your Bibles with you, turn with me if you would to 2 Samuel chapter 15.

We're going to start out verses 1 through 6. In the verses of such and such a tribe in Israel, Absalom would say to him, See, your claims are good and right, but there is no man designated by the king to hear you. Then Absalom would say, Oh, that I were a judge in the land.

Then every man with a dispute or cause might come to me, and I would give him justice. Whenever a man came near to pay homage to him, he would put out his hand, take hold of him, and kiss him. Thus Absalom did to all of Israel who came to the king for judgment.

So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. Bow with me as we go to our Lord in prayer. Heavenly Father, we were born with a sinful, rebellious heart. Being obedient to our God-given authorities has not come natural to us.

We like calling the shots. We enjoy getting our egos stroked as we act rebellious. Fill us with your Spirit, Lord, that our desires would be submission to your will and not rebellion. Three thousand years ago, the prophet Samuel rebuked King Saul and said to him, rebellion is like the sin of witchcraft.

Witchcraft is associating ourselves with the demonic. We don't usually think of rebellion or unsubmissiveness as being that dangerous or radically bad. Use this scripture today to prove to us that rebellion is extremely wicked and then give us the heart to fight it.

Absalom was a liar, a murderer, a crooked politician, one who seemed to have no heart for the things of God. May we leave this place today realizing that rebellion leads us down all those wrong paths. Help me to preach truth today and to exalt Christ for it is in the precious and holy name of Jesus that we pray. Amen.

You may be seated. We are going to be focusing today primarily on the rebellion of Absalom. In the next few weeks, we're going to see how Absalom had no idea how terrible that rebellion was and how much it was going to cost him. But I want you also today to keep your eyes on David because this rebellion of Absalom tore David's heart to pieces. David wanted to do something about it and he tried to do something about it.

And David's love for Absalom was forcing him into compromise as a king and as a father. Parents, listen to me carefully here. As your children grow and mature, they can come to the point where they very well may try to rebel against your authority. You will face the decision at that point in time of having to either please God or to please your children. This is tough stuff because you love your children and you want your children to desire fellowship with you. But what happens when they buck your authority and they thump their nose at God and God's Word? What happens then when they essentially say, I'm living my life as I want to live my life.

I'm doing what I want to do. And I expect you, Mom and Dad, I expect you to condone my sinful lifestyle. Do we have scripture that might help us out here?

I think we do. I'll go back to the parable of the prodigal son in Luke chapter 15, a parable that Jesus taught. And we hear about the prodigal son who desires a party life. He desires to go to the far country where he can spend his time in drunkenness and with prostitutes and living out of life as if God doesn't exist. What did the father do?

What should he do during that time? Should he just quit loving his son? Absolutely not. Did he do that?

Absolutely not. Should he just give in to his son? No, he should not do that.

Should he just quit offering counsel? No, he should not do that. But what did he do? He let him go. He let him go to the far country. And when he went to the far country, he lost everything.

He lost his name, he lost his money, he lost his health, he lost his dignity. And while he was there, he was broken. And so he came back home and he came back home with a repentant heart and a repentant spirit. He came back home and where was his dad? His dad was right there at the gate waiting for him to come home. And when he saw his brokenness, when he saw his willingness to repent, he ran to him and he hugged his neck and he kissed him and he invited him back into the family. But the father never reduced his standards.

He never ignored his son's rebellion. Now, who does the father represent here? The father represents God. And folks, God always does right.

I would submit to you today that David is violating God's example of fatherhood. He should never have allowed, never have allowed the standards of God's Word to be broken without repentance and confession of sin from Absalom. He should not have allowed Absalom to come back to Jerusalem until there was genuine repentance, until there was genuine brokenness. But he did do that.

And what happened? It created a hell on earth for David, for Israel, and also for Absalom. Roger Ellsworth said it this way, Absalom was a truly despicable human being. He thought of no one but himself. He was proud and arrogant. He was deceptive and dishonorable. He was a cold-blooded killer. But David refused to let go of this dangerous love. He sold principle down the river in favor of his personal feelings for this deadly viper of a son. How many today are repeating David's error?

How many subject principle to feeling? So I want you to keep David in mind as we go through this passage, but primarily we're going to be looking today at Absalom's rebellion. When I was in seminary, I worked at a place called Max Produce in the farmer's market in Raleigh. I had to be at work at four o'clock in the morning. One particular morning I got hungry before I got there and stopped off at the Waffle House. And so I was sitting there at the Waffle House and all of a sudden a man came in with two young ladies and they'd been partying all night. And they came in and they were drunk and they were loud and they were obnoxious.

When anybody else came in after that, they would get as far away from them as they possibly could. Well, they were sitting there at the table and all of a sudden one of the women got mad. And she reached over and she took a plastic container of cream that they used in the coffee and she took it and she squeezed it and squirted milk all over the man. And then the man got mad. He picked up another plastic container and he squeezed milk all over her. There was milk everywhere.

On the floor, on the tables, all over them. And then a little waitress got up. She had kind of an agitated look on her face but she wasn't going to say anything. She brought the mop over and she brought rags and she cleaned it all up, got it all cleaned up. And then one of the ladies said, you know, maybe we ought to stop this stuff. And the guy said this. He said, why should we?

What can she do to us? Hmm. His attitude is pretty typical of a lot of Americans today. And what was his attitude?

His attitude was this. I have no respect for God-given authority. The only time that I will bow to my God-given authority is when that authority is more powerful or stronger than I am. You know, this might sound strange to you but in that situation, in that restaurant, this little waitress, who probably weighed less than 100 pounds, was that man's God-given authority. Now she had the responsibility to wait on them and take care of them and serve them their food but she also had the authority over him to tell him what he needed to do in that particular restaurant.

That was very, very important. Folks, Portland, Oregon has made a decision to ignore their God-given authority and to ignore the laws of the land. They've made that decision. They invited Antifa into the city back last summer when all these riots were going on. They made a mockery of the police.

They made a mockery of the security guards. Antifa came in. They burned down buildings. They burned down the police department. They destroyed buildings.

They destroyed police cars and they stole just millions and millions of dollars worth of merchandise. Since that time, the crime rate has increased 525% in Portland, Oregon. And the mayor said, well, this is just what we need to do.

We just need to let it go. And politicians and college professors all over America have given that the thumbs up. They want rebellion and brothers and sisters, rebellion is killing this nation. So our crime rate is soaring. Families are splitting. Churches are dividing and attitudes absolutely stink.

Here's where the deception lies. The world tells us that rebellion is freedom, but the scriptures teach us that rebellion is bondage. The rebellious heart says, I don't want limits on my life. I don't want restrictions that mess up my fun. I don't want restrictions that keep me from reaching my potential. I don't want boundaries in my life.

I want to live my life as I want to live it and I don't want anybody saying anything about it. Folks, that is not freedom. That is bondage. Back to Absalom. Absalom was a young man who had everything in the world going for him. He was good looking. He was strong.

He had hair that any woman would have died for. He was an extremely intelligent man. He was a born leader. He was a man who had a magnetic personality and he was heir to the throne of Israel.

In fact, when David would die, he would be the one that would automatically succeed David as the king of Israel. But Absalom did not want to wait. He didn't want to wait to become king. He wanted to become king right then and there. And what he wanted was his father's authority. Now, I want to share with you today four principles concerning rebellion.

Point one, a perilous decision. Look with me at verses one and two. After this, Absalom got himself a chariot and horses and fifty men to run before him. And Absalom used to rise early and stand beside the way of the gate. And when any man had a dispute to come before the king for judgment, Absalom would call to him and say, From what city are you? And when he said, Your servant is of such and such a tribe in Israel.

So the key to the whole rebellion problem is the heart. I've shared this with you before, but there was a little boy who was standing up in the backseat of his dad's car. They were riding down the road and father looks in the mirror, sees him standing up, and he said, Son, you need to sit down.

Little boy shook his head no. Dad could see it in the mirror. And so his dad lifted his voice up a little.

Son, you need to sit down right now. Little boy just crossed his arms, looked in the mirror at his daddy, shook his head no. Well, at that time, the father reached back to the backseat.

Pow! Just slapped him right on his rear end. And then the little boy just kind of slid right down in the seat. He was sitting there with a scowl on his face and a big mule lip. And the father looks back in the mirror. He said, Son, do you have something to say? And the little boy said, Yes, sir.

He said, I'm sitting down on the outside, but I'm standing up on the inside. Folks, that's a heart problem. And until that heart problem is solved, obedience is always going to be a problem with that little boy.

Because where your heart is, eventually your feet are going to follow. So what am I saying? Well, let's say you've got a problem with a rebellious heart, and you just don't want to submit to your God-given authority. That authority might be a boss. It might be a supervisor. It might be a parent. It might be a husband. It might be a teacher.

It might be a coach. Here's a good question. If you don't feel like obeying that God-given authority, and you obey it anyway, are you being a hypocrite?

And the answer to that is no. I don't like paying taxes. And I think our government is spending our tax dollars in some very foolish ways. Right now, our tax dollars, a lot of it, is going to countries that absolutely hate us. And I think they're probably using that money to build weapons that they might one day use against us.

That kind of thing drives me crazy. Yet God has given me a command in His Word that I am to pay taxes. And if God gives me a command in His Word that I am to pay taxes, then whether I like it or not, I am to pay taxes.

When I do that, it bolsters my witness, and it also helps me to realize that this world is not my home. Absalom has made a conscious decision. He says, I will no longer be submissive to my dad's authority. And when that decision has been made in his mind, his conduct immediately changed. I mean immediately.

Why? Well, when a person makes that decision that he's going to be rebellious against his God-given authority, and he continues on in that, the time can come when God will lift His hand of restraining grace off of that person, let that person do what his wicked heart wants to do. And it's not long before his conscience becomes extremely hardened, and it's not long before he can do things he never imagined that he could do, and his conduct becomes extremely evil. So Absalom goes out to the busiest gate he can find in the city, and he begins talking to the people as they come through.

That takes us to point two, a political deception. Look with me at verse three through five. Absalom would say to him, see, your claims are good and right, but there is no man designated by the king to hear you. Then Absalom would say, oh, that I were judge in the land, and every man with a dispute or cause might come to me, and I would give him justice, and whenever a man came near to pay homage to him, he would put out his hand and take hold of him and kiss him. Does that not sound like a lot of American politicians?

My goodness. Put down your opponent, constantly point out their failures, and then make a plethora of promises that everyone knows, including yourself, that you're not going to keep. Kiss a few babies. Get everybody swayed to your side. Roger Ellsworth said the following, Absalom was a very shrewd man. He knew he could not possibly wrest the kingdom from his father by simply announcing that he wanted to be king. He knew he would first have to wage a successful campaign for the hearts of the people. That is, he would have to turn their hearts from his father to himself. In addition to this, Absalom began to build the reputation of being a man of the people.

He always made sure that he was at the gate of the city very early in the morning. The gate was the place where the elders heard and settled various cases and grievances. Evidently, the duly appointed officials were not always there early in the morning.

Perhaps they'd grown careless in discharging their responsibilities. This gave Absalom an opportunity. He would talk to the aggrieved parties gathered at the gate, assure them that their claims were valid, even though he had heard only their side of the story, and casually observe that it was a shame that the king's officials were not even there to hear the case. All in all, Absalom made the case that justice was going down the drain in Israel and that he was the lone champion who was seeking to stem the tide. In addition to all this, Absalom perfected a very personable, winsome approach with all those who approached him.

Refusing to let them bow before him, he rather treated them as dear friends and equals. It takes us to point three, and that's a prideful theft. Look with me at verse six. Thus Absalom did to all of Israel who came to the king for judgment. So Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. Through lies and false promises, Absalom stole the hearts of the people of Israel away from David.

Now let me tell you how wicked rebellion is. People who become rebellious will do whatever they have to do to hurt their God-given authority, that authority that is over them. And they lose respect, total respect for that authority. And they actually desire to hurt their authority. Now, I don't think Absalom wanted the throne. I think he did want the throne a lot. But I don't think he wanted it near as much as he wanted to hurt David. It was this idea, I resent your authority, David.

I resent your authority and I'm going to show you, I'm going to show you that I'm smarter than you are and that I'm more capable than you are. Oftentimes children rebel against their parents and they do that because of the parents' restrictions on them and those restrictions give the child the idea that the parent is an enemy to them. I heard about a little girl who was trapped in a basement and there was a terrible flood that was going on. The door of the basement was locked and the water was up already over the door. The little girl was in that basement and the only way out was going through a heat duct that would take her to the outside. But the little girl was claustrophobic. She was scared to do that. Her father begged her to come.

She would not. So finally the father had to go crawl down the heat duct by himself. He grabbed his little girl in his arms. He pulled her kicking and screaming and they went through that heat duct.

They finally got outside. Not long after they got outside the water in that basement rose all the way up to the ceiling. She would have died if she had not gotten out. She would have drowned to death. That little girl, who's now an adult, still thanks her dad for forcing that issue. Well, in the confines of that heating duct she viewed her dad as an enemy.

But when she was on the outside and she saw the water rising up all the way to the ceiling of that basement, she knew that that would have been her watery grave. And she quit resenting her dad. He had used her authority to save her life. People don't fight your authority unless your authority is commanding you or forcing you to sin. Peter's a good example of this. Peter and John were out preaching and the authorities in Jerusalem came up to them and said, Look, you will never preach or teach in the name of Jesus again.

And Peter almost laughed. He said, Well, whether that's right in the sight of God, you're going to have to decide that, but I can promise you this, I will never quit preaching and teaching Jesus. He bucked the authority because the authority of God was more important than the authority of man and he would not sin and quit preaching the gospel. We have a pastor right now in Canada that is in prison because he would not close the doors of his church down during the COVID pandemic. And because of that, they took him and they put him in jail.

And so he's in prison. And they ask him this question. They said, Why are you being so belligerent?

He said, I'm not being belligerent. I'm being obedient to the Word of God. And the Word of God says in Hebrews chapter 10, verse 25, that we are not to forsake the gathering together of the brethren. And yet we are commanded to obey our authorities unless they are forcing us or commanding us to sin. Romans 13, one through three says this, Let every person be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore, whoever resists the authorities, resist what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority?

Then do what is good and you will receive his approval. I want you to notice the cleverness of Absalom's attack on David. While David is busy running the country, doing the kingly things that the king has to do, during all this time, Absalom is playing on the heartstrings of the people of Israel. Those people were coming to David with their complaints, with their gripes, with their concerns. And they would come to David and his counselors and they'd say, We have this concern. This is not going the way that we think that it should go. And they were not getting taken care of.

And so what does Absalom do? He goes to these people and he says, I wish I could help you out. I feel your pain. I see the plight that you're under. And if I were the king, none of this would be happening. You would be taken care of. I would be ministering to you. I care about you, but this David, my daddy, doesn't give a hoot for you.

He's not concerned about you at all. And in that evil, deceptive way, Absalom stole the hearts of the people of Israel away from his dad. Fourthly, there's a powerful problem. Look with me at verses 12-13. And while Absalom was offering the sacrifices, he sent for Hithophel, the Gileanite, David's counselor, from the city Gallo. And the conspiracy grew strong, and the people with Absalom kept increasing. And the messenger came to David saying, the hearts of the men of Israel have gone after Absalom.

Absalom had even stolen away some of the hearts of the counselors and the trusted advisors of David. One of them was an elderly man whose name was Ahithophel. Now who was Ahithophel? Ahithophel had a son whose name was Eliim. Eliim had a daughter whose name was Bathsheba. Ahithophel was the grandfather of Bathsheba. Can you imagine the conversation that Absalom had with Ahithophel? Absalom probably said, my dad used your granddaughter to gratify his sexual needs. He used her. He took advantage of her. She was happily married. The family had a good name. And boom, David came in.

He forced her to commit adultery with her, and then he killed her husband, Uriah the Hittite, a mighty man of valor, a man who was greatly loyal to David, and killed him and took his life in order to cover over his sin. That's the kind of thing that's going on here. Just wicked, wicked thing. So Absalom has many of these people on his side now. And there's this false sense of security that's being built up in Absalom's heart. He believes that his rebellion is paying off. He believes that he's getting away with it. He believes that he's outsmarted his dad. He believes that he has pulled the wool over God's eyes, and actually thinks that he's gotten away with it.

Well, in a few chapters we're going to see just how deceived he was. For Absalom does not take the throne. He is killed, and he dies an ignominious death. Joab finds Absalom hanging from a terebinth tree, from his long, beautiful locks of hair, and Joab goes up to him.

He takes sword-like sticks and jabs them through his heart and puts an end to his life. Folks, Absalom made the decision to rebel. He refused to submit to his God-given authority. He said, my will is more important than God's will. His rebellion sent him to a godless grave and to an eternity in hell. That happened three thousand years ago.

That's about a thousand, I mean a million, ninety-five thousand days ago. And let me tell you this, every single day, Absalom thinks about that. Why was I such a fool? Why did I think getting my way was all that mattered? Why didn't I just submit to the Lord and live? Absalom should have studied the life of King Saul, David's predecessor, and one day Samuel came to Saul and said, God's getting ready to tear the kingdom out of your hand, and he's going to give it to a man after God's own heart because you have rebelled against God. And then God said this to King Saul. He said, rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. A person who is involved in witchcraft has given himself over to Satan and his powers, and a person who is rebelling against God's authority is doing the same thing.

He doesn't realize that it's that serious, but it is that serious. I want you to think for a minute about the last time that you had a rebellious heart, that you felt a rebellious spirit against somebody that was your God-given authority. Maybe it was a supervisor at work. Maybe it was a boss. Maybe it was a parent. Maybe you're a wife and your husband is your God-given authority, but you feel like he hasn't been loving you as Christ loved the church. Maybe it's an elder that you're in disagreement with.

Maybe it's a teacher. Whatever it is. Let me ask you this. When that rebelliousness filled up in your heart, what kind of feelings did you have? I'll tell you what you had. First of all, there was anger. There was horrible anger where you were all frustrated and you were just ill and you were lashing out at people for absolutely nothing. Then there was confusion. Things were disorderly and things were disorganized.

It seemed like nothing would come together. Then there was guilt. You hurt people during that time and you hurt the heart of God. You hurt people that you loved. And while it's going on, you didn't even care that you were hurting. But then later, it was all this horrible, terrible guilt. What happens when you allow a rebellious spirit to rule in your heart? What happens then? You pull yourself out of God's protection.

God Himself primarily protects His people. You've experienced it. I've experienced that.

I mean, in ways that we could just share testimonies about over and over again. Sometimes He just does it just God. And sometimes He uses human authorities to protect us, whether it be a boss, a parent, a husband, a teacher, whoever it might be, He uses those authorities. It's like God has a spiritual umbrella over you, and when that spiritual umbrella is over you because you're under that God-given authority, then Satan tries to fire those fiery darts at you and it doesn't work. They just bounce off that spiritual umbrella. But you become rebellious and you move out from under that spiritual umbrella and Satan's darts find their way home. Psalm 17, verses 8 through 9, God's authority, and David's the one who wrote that psalm, God's authority is pictured as a hen gathering her chicks together and protecting them up under her wings.

Beautiful picture. I had a first church that I pastored was in Creedmoor, North Carolina, and while I was there, there was a terrible fire, and a fireman went to the fire. It was at a farmhouse. And at this farmhouse, there was a barn and it was a lot of pasture land around it, a big barnyard, and it was very, very dry. And the pasture caught on fire, the house caught on fire, the barn caught on fire, the barnyard caught on fire, and there were a lot of animals there. Horses died, cows died, pigs died, chickens died, ducks died, and then finally when they got the fire put out, the fireman started walking through, just checking things out to see if there might be some hidden spark somewhere.

And as he walked through the barnyard, he saw a little mound that was standing there, and he walked over and he kicked it, and when he did, all these little chicks came running out. He said he stood there with tears rolling down his cheeks as he realized that that mother hen had given her life to save those chicks. That's the illustration that David uses to explain to us how God protects us. It is also the illustration of what Jesus did on the cross of Calvary. For Jesus became our substitutionary atonement. Jesus died for us. Jesus died that He might take our sin and give us His righteousness, that He might take our hell and give us His heaven. Why should we not rebel?

I think here's the reason. Because nobody's ever loved you like Jesus Christ loves you. Oh, Lord God, hide us under the shadow of your wings. Let's pray. Heavenly Father, when things don't go our way, it is easy for us to mock our God-given authorities. For example, our police are being denigrated, laughed at, ignored, and abused. You said in Romans 13 that you put them in their position and gave them to us for our protection. Cities all over America are ejecting their authority and the consequences are unbelievably horrible.

Crime rate is soaring, people are being brutalized and murdered, property is being stolen and vandalized, the nation is reeling, and the problem is rebellion. Father, help us as Christians to set the example. Lord, also we ask that you use Absalom as a reminder to us that rebels against God don't finish well. Help us as parents to teach our children the dangers of being an Absalom. We love you, Lord. Thank you for loving us. Lord, it's in the precious and holy name of Jesus that we pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-23 08:22:22 / 2023-09-23 08:34:37 / 12

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