Revival, Rebellion, & Stubborness
by Keith Hassell | September 13, 2010
Revival confronts the rebellion and stubbornness that resists the true worship and government of Christ in His church. In the nation of Israel, King Ahab and Queen Jezebel misused their governing position to oppose and cast aside the true worship of YAHWEH and replace it with the idolatrous worship of Baal. The mastermind of Israel's idolatry was Jezebel. She was the daughter of Ethbaal, king of Phoenicia. She influenced her husband to turn to false worship and rebel against the LORD. She utilized her husband's position and authority to oppose and slaughter the true prophets of God and made the LORD their enemy. God judged Israel's idolatry by bringing a drought upon the land. At the command of the LORD, the prophet Elijah prophesied that it would not rain for three years--and it didn't. Then at the command of the LORD he challenged the rebellion and idolatry of Israel at Mt. Carmel. The people's hearts were divided between the true worship of the LORD and the idolatrous worship of Baal. Revival in the land demanded that the rebellion and stubbornness be broken off of God's people. Rebellion and stubbornness always distorts a people's evaluation of their own heart and the nature of true worship. Consider King Saul. He began as a humble king but soon became lifted up in pride. overestepped his position, and transgressed against the LORD. He even tried to defend his disobedience with his intention to sanction a form of free-style worship. God, however, rejected not only king Saul's worship but He also rejected Saul from being king:
1 Samuel 15:22–23 (NKJV) "So Samuel said: 'Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, As in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. 23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king.'"
This passage clearly reveals that Saul's sin of rebellion is like the sin of witchcraft and that his sin of stubbornness is like the sin of idolatry. Why does God liken rebellion to witchcraft? Although we often think of witchcraft in connection with black hats, broomsticks, and covens, the apostle Paul lists witchcraft as one of the sins of the flesh right alongside hatred, jealousy, envy, and outbursts of wrath (Galatians 5:20 KJV). At its root, witchcraft is the pursuit of control through intimidation, manipulation, and domination. While the fleshly sin of witchcraft can employ dark demonic methods such as spells and black magic, it can also seek illegitimate control in the church through overt power struggles or through the subtle and covert manipulation of prayer, prophecy, teaching, ministry, and strategic acts of kindness. Why does God liken stubbornness to idolatry? Although we often think of idolatry in connection with the worship of molten or carved images, idolatry is actually a stubborn adherence to anything that prevents us from worshiping and obeying only the one true God, the LORD. Stubbornness is an unreasonable, self-justified, obstinate, and perversely unyielding attitude. Stubbornness defends and worships its own lofty self-willed opinion and is, therefore, kin to idolatry or false worship. Stubbornness lifts itself up against and stands in contradiction to the true knowledge of God (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). Stubbornness is rooted in pride. King Saul's stubbornness caused him to pursue, trust in, and defend his own free-style of worship that violated God's command. It was rebellion and stubbornness that led to the downfall of King Ahab, Queen Jezebel, and King Saul. Revival comes when God judges rebellion and stubbornness in His house and then restores submission and obedience in the hearts of His people and true worship and kingdom government in His church. May we judge ourselves so that we will not be judged in the season of revival.