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Rebellion and Judgment

(Jeremiah 6:15-21, 26-28)

Lesson 5 -- fourth quarter 2002
September 29, 2002

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2002, Christian Light Publications

Rebel hearts

A rebel heart knows the right way, but has no interest in following it. The idea of walking in such a narrow way is revolting to it. It has no inclination toward abiding by the restrictions of godliness and the limitations of righteousness. Enter at the strait gate? Forget it! The rebel heart wants to walk in its own way, not realizing (and at times not caring) that it is a way whose end is death. The way of the rebel heart is the course charted by the devil and leads to the devil's destiny. Never forget that!

A rebel heart knows the right Person, but rejects the invitation to a relationship with Him. It has no intention of establishing a binding covenant of voluntary, unrestricted submission to Jesus. The rebel heart would accept Jesus as limited Lord, but He does not offer such an option. To follow Jesus on its terms would be a workable arrangement for the rebel heart, but since Jesus insists on all or nothing, the rebel heart chooses nothing.

Do you have a rebel heart? I suppose the fact you are reading this could be taken as an indicator that you do not. But whether you read it or whether I write it, we both need to be on guard against a rebel heart. I suspect most persons with a rebel heart came to such a state because they did not guard their hearts. Lest that fate should overcome me and you, let's consider two warning symptoms of hearts inclining toward rebellion.

Discarding known truth. When I excuse or justify disobedience in areas of former obedience, I am tossing aside truth and saying with the Israelites, "We will not walk therein" (Jeremiah 6:16). The first part of that verse reveals the message from God to which they were responding: "Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls." God called on them to opt for obedience. But they would not, choosing a rebel heart instead. My friend, every time someone chooses to discard truth, he chooses a rebel heart. And the more we make choices like that, the more corrupted our hearts become. The best way to avoid developing a rebel heart is to reaffirm our commitment to God and His ways. Keep the truth, don't lay it aside!

Disregarding warnings. I warned him about the icy bridge. He had to choose between heeding my warning or disregarding it. He could have heeded my warning in various ways, two of which would have been to take a different route home or to drive very slowly over the bridge. He could have disregarded my warning by mocking it (and me) or by graciously accepting it (but not allowing it to influence his driving). When God used prophets as watchmen to warn the Israelites, they contemptuously answered, "We will not hearken" (Jeremiah 6:17). How do we respond to the warnings and cautions of others? To disregard is to choose a rebel heart. Let's decide to listen carefully for God's message in every warning; better to assume it's there than to not care. With that kind of humble, careful spirit, God will surely help us to discern His warnings.

Harvesting our thoughts

Jeremiah 6:19 brings me up short, reminding me again of the importance of maintaining a godly thought life: "Behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts." What we sow, we reap!

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