An evil man seeks only rebellion,
and a cruel messenger will be sent against him.
Such a person looks at life from the perspective of me versus everyone else. He is in rebellion against everyone because he sees everyone as competitor. The competitor may be someone over him; thus he looks at the competitor as an oppressor, someone whose chains must be thrown off. The competitor may be an equal, whom he sees as a combatant fighting to get ahead of him. The competitor may be under him, whom he regards as someone trying to undermine him. That is the way life is to him each person seeking power for himself. Rules are created by those in power to restrain those below them from rebelling. And so he rebels. He does not merely question authority; he seeks to undermine it.
Such a person must understand that his rebellious spirit and behavior brings the restraint he abhors. The more he rebels, the more competition will rise up. He is now seen as a threat to peace; certainly he is a threat to those over him. Whether those in power are good or evil, they cannot abide rebellion. The cruel messenger is the representative of the authority who comes to restrain the evil man. Whatever oppression he may have felt before, he certainly feels the weight of bondage now.
There is such a thing as righteous rebellion. There are righteous causes that call for rebellion against wicked rule. But be clear about that cause and especially your motive. Rebellion can seem glamorous. It stokes the ego. It allows you to gloss over your own sin as you focus on redressing the perceived wrongs committed against you. It can embitter your soul so that you see life as you versus everyone else, including your Maker.
Rebellion is the mark of the unsaved soul. If that soul is not willing to bend the knee to the righteous Authority who paid the greatest price to win the rebellious and to deliver them from bondage, then know that some day it will be not the messenger of peace who comes to him, but the cruel messenger of wrath.
“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.
If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;
but if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be eaten by the sword;
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken” (Isaiah 1:18-20).
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By D. Marion Clark. © 2022 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org