I have a rebellious heart.
It’s not something that comes out very often, any more. God has softened the hard rebellion that I harbored in my soul for so long. But, truth be told, if I’m not careful and if I let myself stray too far from spending regular time with God in prayer and study, that cynical, rebellious self comes to surface.
And it’s not pretty.
The title of his message was “Worship as an Act of Rebellion”.
I know nothing about Clayton King, and I don’t know the text or context of his message this week. I wanted to watch it on livestream, but it was right in the middle of a teleconference I was on. I’m hoping to watch it once it is uploaded to their podcasts.
But I do know something about worship. And I do know a lot about rebellion. So I’ve been reflecting on this phrase since I heard it a few days ago. Exactly how is Worship an “act of rebellion”?
I’ve come up with several ideas. All of them fit, to some degree I think. I’m hoping that you’ll find one of these ideas fit for you, as well.
- My mind instantly went first to the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. If you are not familiar with the story, essentially a king named Nebuchadnezzar ordered that an idol be made, and that all the people were to bow down and worship this idol. Whoever didn’t would be put to death in a fiery furnace. These three men, mentioned above, refused to worship this idol. They would only worship the one true God. In a sense, their worship was an act of rebellion–rebellion against the king and the worship of a godless idol of gold. When confronted by King Nebuchadnezzar and threatened to be thrown into the furnace, their response was (in Daniel 3:17-18) 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” They were thrown into the furnace, but as the king watched, he observed 4, not 3 men in the fire–and none of them harmed. He brought Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego out of the fire, and declared their God as the Most High God. But the point is this: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had faith. They had faith that their God would save them. And if He chose not to, they still chose to worship the one true God in rebellion–and refused to worship the golden image. That’s courage. That’s faith. That’s rebellion.
- The other story that came to mind was that of Daniel. You see, King Darius made a decree that only He was to be petitioned as god for the next thirty days. (Daniel 6). But Daniel refused. He rebelled. He rebelled against King Darius’ decree and Worshipped the one true God instead: 10 When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. As a result of his rebellious act of worship to the one true God, Daniel was thrown into a den of lions. However, the one true God calmed the lions, closed their mouths and protected Daniel from certain death. His Worship as an Act of Rebellion caused King Darius to change in his soul, leading to this:26 I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel,for the is the living God,enduring forever;
That’s courage. That’s faith. That’s rebellion.
But then, after considering these two stories, I examined my own life. How is my Worship an Act of Rebellion? How can it be an Act of Rebellion? This is where it gets personal. This is where it becomes real; where the stories are internalized. But I don’t have a king threatening to throw me into a fiery furnace. I don’t have a king threatening to throw me into a den of lions.
What do I have?
Maybe something far more dangerous. More dangerous because of the subtlety of it. More dangerous because Satan seems to know exactly how to attack me in my weakest places–and I know I don’t speak much of Satan or attacks here. But it’s true.
Let me explain. It’s Saturday night. And as I’ve shared in my recent posts, I’ve been struggling against a renewed attack of real depression. I’ve not left the house unless absolutely necessary. And tomorrow is Sunday. I didn’t go to church last Sunday because of this oppression. The question is, am I going to Worship tomorrow morning corporately with my church body as an act of rebellion against this darkness that grips my soul? Am I going to rebel against the thoughts that swirl in my mind, telling me to stay home. To stay away from people. To hide.
Even in my personal worship as a part of spiritual disciplines this week, it’s been a fight to worship. Not a fight to study, as I never seem to lack the motivation or will to do that. But the rebellious act of worship that says “God, you are my God, I worship you for you are Holy” has seemed to close-too personal to approach this week. This is what happens when my soul is numb, when my senses are dulled by the attack of depression, when I give up the fight.
But I know scripture. I know how we are called to worship numerous times in the Psalms. For example, Psalm 95:6-7 reads:
And part of that call to worship, is to worship corporately with the Body of Christ. With my church family.
Oh, it’s so easy for me to rebel in a negative sense. To rebel in a way that harms my soul, that hurts those around me. To rebel in my mind against my God and His will for my life. That’s easy. That comes as second nature. And it destroys me.
No, the real question is, will I muster up the courage–the will–to rebel against Satan and the attack of apathy and darkness? Will I fight for joy in the morning? Will I worship my God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, as a direct act of rebellion?
I need courage. I need faith. I need to rebel. I need to worship.