ABC Extra: Children Who Rebel

May 3, 2010 at 4:45 am 1 comment


Rebellion has become a sort of rite of passage as children move into adulthood.  The teenage son breaks his curfew to sneak out with his friends and party late into the night.  The teenage daughter secretly dates that cute boy she’s head over heals for in spite of her parents’ strong objections.  The Fourth Commandment, “Honor your father and your mother” (Exodus 20:12), seems of little consequence to many teenagers.

It is a common misconception that it didn’t used to be this way.  Children did not used to so headily and so arrogantly rebel against their parents.  The truth of the matter, however, is that children have been rebelling against their parents for centuries.  Jesus puts it like this:  “Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death” (Mark 13:12).  Indeed, the rebellion of children against their parents goes back even farther.  It stretches all the way back to the Fall into sin.

In Luke 3, the evangelist presents us with a genealogy of Jesus Christ.  And what a genealogy it is!  It traces the Lord’s lineage all the way to the first man, Adam.  It’s especially interesting the way Adam is talked about.  In the midst of a bunch of genealogical standard fare – “so and so was the son of so and so, and so and so was the son of so and so” – we come to this:  “Methuselah was the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalalel, the son of Kenan,  the son of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God” (Luke 3:37-38).  Luke says that Adam, like everyone else throughout the course of history, was a son.  He was a son of God.  And just like every son that has come after him, he rebels against his parents, or, more precisely, his Father.  God commands His son Adam not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and Adam sneaks off and eats from the tree anyway.  The first sin was one of rebellion.  And children have been rebelling against their parents ever since.

This weekend in worship and ABC, we studied 1 Samuel 2 and the story of the rebellion of Hophni and Phineas against their father and against God.  The author of 1 Samuel is pointed in his analysis of the sons’ character:  “Eli’s sons were wicked men; they had no regard for the LORD” (verse 12).  Their rebellion was two-pronged.  On the one hand, they took animal sacrifices that were properly to be burned in honor of the LORD and instead kept these animals for private meals (cf. verses 13-15).  On the other hand, they engaged in sexual immorality with the women who served at the temple where they were priests (cf. verse 22).  Eli, Hophi and Phineas’ father, although he condemns the latter sin, does not condemn the former.  We find out why he does not condemn the former sin just verses later when a prophet of God arrives at Eli’s doorstep and rebukes Eli for too partaking of animal sacrifices which properly belong to God!  The prophet asks in the stead of the LORD:  “Why do you scorn My sacrifice and offering that I prescribed for My dwelling?  Why do you honor your sons more than Me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by My people Israel” (verse 29)?

The Hebrew word for the “choice parts” of the Israelite offerings on which Eli and his sons are fattening themselves is re’shi’ith. Interestingly, this word is most often associated with the practice of tithing:  “Bring the best of the firstfruits of your soil to the house of the LORD your God” (Exodus 23:19).  The Hebrew word for “best” is again re’shi’ith. Be it Hophni or Phineas or their father Eli, this is a family that is not interested in bringing their first and best before God.  And so they receive judgment from God.

Does your family bring its first and best before God?  Does your family give the first of its week to God in worship?  Does your family give the first of its money to God in finances?  Does your family give the first of its day to God in prayer and study of God’s Word?  Although the practice of giving the first to God in your family’s life may not prevent those hoary teenage years of rebellion altogether, it is good training in righteousness – for your children…and for you.  And righteousness has a mysterious way of repressing rebellion.

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ABC Extra – Be Reconciled Today “There’s Truth In That Thar Text”

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Don Novian  |  May 3, 2010 at 9:49 am

    Ah yes rebellion; the sin we all live with and practice at times. Father against son, son againts father, daughther against parents and parents againts their parents… And all against God, Our Father. It seems to go on forever; and yet, we are lucky to have an understanding and loving Father that sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross so we could be saved from our rebellion and sin. Yes God, Our Father is “GOOD”! He loves us in spite of our rebelious ways. I pray that You Father will continue to forgive me, so that one day I may be with You in Heaven.

    Reply

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