Characteristics Of A
Rebellious Child Of God

By Beth Moore

Let’s face it: without God’s intervention in our lives, we all tend to be pigheaded.  We want to boss ourselves, but bossing ourselves is a ticket to slavery.  Each of the following phrases from Isaiah 30:8-21 characterizes rebellion.  Several of the characteristics signal impending disaster…


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1.  A rebellious child of God doesn’t act like a child of God [v. 9].

Deceitful means “not acting like sons…giving a false impression of who you are.”  If you are in covenant relationship with God but not acting like His child, you are living a lie!  The world preaches the “be true to yourself” philosophy.  Christians can only be true to self when demonstrating that they belong to God.

Characteristics of a rebellious child of God.

2.  A rebellious child of God isn’t willing to listen to the Lord’s instructions [v. 9].

The Hebrew word for “listen” is shama, meaning “to give undivided listening attention.”  Rebellious people don’t want to listen.  Sometimes we’re unwilling to listen to God because we’re resistant to being corrected.  That’s rebellion.  The tragedy is that God would never tell us anything to defeat us.  He has a one-track mind as far as we are concerned.  He wants us to live like the overcomers we are…

3.  A rebellious child of God prefers pleasant illusions over truth [vv. 10-11].

We crave messages that make us feel good.  When we are living in rebellion, the last thing we want is to confront the Holy One of Israel.  Notice the demand of the people of God in verse 10: “Tell us pleasant things.”  Who doesn’t like to be flattered?  If enjoying flattery puts a noose around our necks, then seeking flattery hangs us!  Satan could have written a book Flattery Can Get You Anywhere.

Paul the apostle correctly warned that, “the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.  Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears what to hear [2 Tim. 4:3].  If we strongly prefer certain teachers and preachers over others, we are wise to ask why.  If our basis is anything other than balanced biblical teaching, we could be in rebellion while occupying pews every Sunday.  Let’s make sure we are not looking for people to scratch our itching ears and hide us from the truth.

4.  A rebellious child of God relies on oppression [v. 12].  

Here’s a shocker.  Not only can God’s children be oppressed, but we can come to rely on that oppression. The word relied in verse 12 is the Hebrew word batah, meaning “to attach oneself, to trust, confide in, feel safe.”  The Hebrew word for oppression [osheq] indicates oppression by means of fraud or extortion, a thing “deceitfully gotten” [Strong’s].

We might say this: People who detach themselves from truth inadvertently attach themselves to lies that defraud and extort.  God created us to be attached to Him; therefore, He made us with a very real need to be attached.  Satan knows he cannot entice us to simply detach from God and His Word and be independent.  In reality, there is no such thing as a completely independent human psyche.  To entice us, Satan offers us alternate attachments masquerading as fulfillments to our inner needs.  Any attachment other than God is a fraud.  The word attachment in this contest differs from healthy relationships with things or people.  The key word is reliance.  Wrong attachment means growing dependent on something other than God.

I grew up in a stronghold of fear.  I longed to find a safe place to hide.  I desperately wanted someone to take care of me.  From the realm of my own painful experience, let me alert you to a toxic emotional cocktail: a relationship made up of someone who has an unhealthy need to be taken care of and someone who has an unhealthy need to caretake.  The relationship ended up extorting God-given liberties and proved fraudulent.

Any place we have to hide is not safe.  In Christ, we find the freedom to be safely exposed!  If only we could begin to understand that God’s authority does not imprison; it sets free…

5.  A rebellious child of God depends on deceit [v. 12].

The Hebrew word for “depended” is sha’an, “to support oneself, lean against.”  Any time you’ve seen someone walk with a cane or a crutch, you’ve witnessed the word picture drawn in this phrase.

The paired phrases in Isaiah 30:12 - “relied on oppression” and “depended on deceit” - particularly strike me.  Any time we attach ourselves or seek safety in a fraudulent saviour we have to depend on lies to support the habit…Satan uses countless unhealthy attachments to things or people.  Interestingly, the lost world characterizes Christians as emotionally needy people who use religion and faith as a crutch.  How wrong they are.  The biggest crutch of all is deceit.  Satan’s lies keep us walking in our chains.

6.  A rebellious child of God runs from the real answers [vv. 15-17].

God said, “In repentance and rest is your salvation,”  but the people said, “No, we will flee on horses.” [vv. 15-16].  Have you experienced a season in your life when you know what would rescue you but you ran from it?  Like me, you may rank these memories among your greatest regrets.  Virtually everyone has run from real answers at one time or another.

In Isaiah 30:15, the word salvation is not used in a strictly eternal sense.  The word represents being saved or delivered from any kind of calamity or attack.  God presented the truth in the form of an equation:

Repentance + Rest = Salvation

Eternal salvation requires that we repent of our sins and depend on the work of Christ.  Our need of deliverance does not end, however, once we become Christians.  We still need lots of help avoiding snares and pitfalls.  The same equation applies: “In repentance and rest is your salvation!”

Excerpt from Breaking Free: Making Liberty In Christ A Reality In Life by Beth Moore.

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