Of David, a contemplation. Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Psalm 32:1
Transgression/Sin – What is the opposite of rebellion? If you’re thinking in Greek, you might suggest “peace.” The Greek thought of peace as the absence of war. War was the natural state of existence, but once in awhile, there was no war and peace prevailed. We have converted this outlook into its psychological equivalent. My struggle with life is war. When God forgives I have peace. It’s nice, but it’s still Greek.
In Hebrew, the opposite of rebellion is contentment. But it isn’t necessarily contentment with the way life is. It is contentment with who God is, not with my circumstances. If contentment meant passive acceptance of my circumstances, then there would be no motivation for change. I would cease to study Torah. I would stop trying to master the yetzer ha’ra. I would no longer attempt to fulfill the prime directive (cf. Genesis 1:28). In fact, if contentment means passive acceptance of whatever occurs, I could almost make the case that it is sin. No, contentment must be focused on who God is, not what happens in my life. I cease being rebellious when I turn my Standard Operating Procedure over to the character of God. In other words, rebellion is an attitude that says, “I desire control of my own life. I deserve to have life on my terms. I refuse to submit to the rule and reign of any other sovereign.” Contentment says, “I acknowledge God as my Sovereign and my life is directed according to His desire. Come what may, I am submitted to His character and I will live accordingly.”
Rebellion is discontent with the character of God. If I am going to cease my rebellion, I must stop fighting who God is. Notice that it is entirely possible to ask for forgiveness of individual sins and yet maintain a rebellious heart. I can go to the altar every Sunday, drop to my knees and plead, “Lord, forgive me for doing __________.” But that won’t change my rebellious heart. I can still be discontented with God’s character. I can still question His motives. I can still doubt His love for me. I can still think that I know a better way. In fact, I can even be compliant and be rebellious. All that is needed is to say in my heart, “Why should I have to live like this?”
What is the difference between a truly contented life and a life of compliance? On the outside, both lives may look the same. Neither is passive. Both may struggle for change. Both may accomplish great things. But the man who is content is unruffled by “twists of fate.” He is not defeated by unanticipated upheaval. He is rock-solid in crisis because he trusts the character of God. He may be just as concerned, just as involved and just as forceful in making changes as any other man, but his view of life is not dashed to pieces on the rocks of calamity. He serves a sovereign God and he is willing to let God manage the big picture.
A state of bliss describes the man whose rebellion is lifted. His rebellion is lifted because life is no longer completely up to him. Someone else is involved – Someone he can trust completely. That is bliss!
Topical Index: rebellion, bliss, Psalm 32:1, contentment