Rebellion is opposition to authority and always begins in the heart; it always manifests as disobedience, choosing not to go the way directed or not doing what one is told to do. Rebellious human nature rejects authority, desiring freedom from any restrictions and accountability. With an arrogant and defiant attitude it says, ‘I don’t need rules or anyone telling me what to do, I’ll do things my way’.
Rebelling against God has a high price tag
into human nature, and brings deception. Negative attitudes, dissatisfaction, selfishness, complaining and pride give rise to resistance to what is right and then become open defiance or enmity against God (Col 1:21). Moses said of the Israelites, “I know how rebellious you are” (Deut 31:27). Rebellion is more than being ignorant of God’s ways or being independent, it is not obeying His commands or being submissive to divinely appointed authorities, instead going one’s own way (1 Sam 12:15; Isa 53:6; Rom 13:1,2,5).
Ezekiel was instructed to speak God’s word to the rebellious people regardless of their response. He himself was to listen and not be like those he was amongst (Ezek 2:5-8). Those who rebel against God’s delegated authorities are rebelling against God, culminating in the ‘man of rebellion’ – the Antichrist (Rom 13:1-7; 2 Thes 2:3-12; Tit 3:1).
King Saul only partially carried out God’s specific direction to “totally destroyed the Amalekites". He and his army kept what appealed to them, refusing to fully obey the Lord by doing exactly what He had said not to. The strong admonition of Scripture is “Rebellion is like the sin of witchcraft…Doing right is better than sacrifice” (1 Sam 15:1-23; Prov 21:3). The path of rebellion opens a person up to more evil practices. Witchcraft is totally forbidden and those practising it will not inherit the Kingdom of God (Deut 18:10; Gal 5:6).
Explicit obedience is required to experience the blessings of God. There is no success outside God’s will so don’t try and do things your way or harden your hearts and fight against God as the Israelites did…“See to it that you do not refuse Him who speaks” (Num 14:41-45; Heb 3:15, 12:25). Israel’s history was a cycle of rebellion and restoration yet God in His love forgives rebellion that is honestly repented of (Num 14:18; Jdg 2:10-19; Isa 59:13; 1 Jn 1:9). Do I have a similar track record of not obeying God's directives then returning to Him through repentance? When we rebel against His right to be our Lord, consequences follow (Rom 6:23).
Within human civilization, God has established a chain of command, and rebellion against His ordained order is sin. We are instructed to submit ourselves to the governing authorities, as long as those authorities do not require us to disobey the authority of God (Act 5:29; Rom 13:1-7). Rebellion against righteous authority leads to anarchy and the breakdown of society. Some of the authority structures God has setup are: national governments, church, employment, family.
Every human heart has the seed of rebellion germinating within and, when we believe someone is not respecting our rights, we rebel. Yet humbly appealing to authority by suggesting an alternative solution is one way to avoid rebellion and find a resolution to a problem. Offering solutions in respectful ways invites our authorities to consider options they may not have discovered without our input. Daniel's response with the Babylonian official is an example of showing respect and avoiding rebellion (Dan 1:8-16). While holding to truth often requires challenging those in authority, outright rebellion against any God-ordained authority is not sanctioned by Him unless it contravenes His Word and its principles.