Tag Archives: Rebellion

Son of Man

What is man that you are mindful of him, 
and the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8:4 ESV)

Who is the son of man? The Hebrew phrase is ben adam. Jesus used this phrase for Himself over 80 times in the Gospels. He shows how small and insignificant is man, and Himself in the form of a man, when some asked about following Him.

Now when Jesus saw a crowd around him, he gave orders to go over to the other side. And a scribe came up and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”

And Jesus said to him, ”Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:18-20 ESV; see also Luke 9:58)

There are two places in the Psalms where this phrase is used, Psalm 8:4 and Psalm 80:17. Ezekiel uses the phrase “Son of Man” almost 90 times to refer to himself and his prophetic office. Daniel uses the phrase twice, referring to future accomplished events that precede the end of time. Jesus, being the author of Scripture, uses the phrase to establish His place before God and the people He created in His image, as their authority.

Jesus, on numerous occasions, foretold the truth of His coming death and resurrection at the hands of men. God is mindful, which means to recall, remember and think upon and to record, of all humanity in rebellion against Him. The juxtaposition and comparison of those who rebel against God with the one blessed Man of Psalm 1:1, is stark. Only one Man has ever and will ever do righteousness inherent to His image.  All others are in rebellion against He who created them for Himself. Jesus came to redeem and recreate those who are His, fitting them for eternity. “The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28 ESV). He accomplished this by offering Himself as a sacrifice for sin. Jesus told His disciples plainly what was to happen and why He would suffer. 

As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were greatly distressed. (Matthew 17:22-23 ESV; see also Luke 9:22, Mark 9:31 and 10:33)

God sent the Son of Man, His Son, to reign over His creation.  Those created in the image of God, created for relationship yet rebelling against God, will ultimately acknowledge His authority and the truth of who Jesus is because of the evidence of His life. That evidence is His rule and reign. “I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, ‘You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession’” (Psalm 2:7-8 ESV). Those who rebel against God will intimately and intellectually know Jesus is God’s Son once they have “lifted up the Son of Man” (John 8:28 ESV). Jesus redeemed those who are His by taking upon Himself the sin of the world when He shed His blood. He covered them with His blood giving His righteousness. “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV).

Though all people deserve death and eternal separation from God because of sin and rebellion, God chose, because of His love, to remember people. He desires relationship with all people and has made a way for all to intimately know Him. Not all people take advantage of God’s grace and are separated from Him. God offered His grace to all in the most intimate way by sending His Son, who set aside all of the privilege and authority of the Godhead, for a moment in time, in the likeness of sinful man. Jesus was not sinful but took upon Himself the guise of the flesh while retaining that which makes God, God (see Philippians 2:6-8). Jesus is fully God and fully man, the way God intended man, which is as a servant not a rebel. He is both the Son of God and the Son of Man.

Stilling the Avenger

Out of the mouth of babies and infants, 
you have established strength because of your foes, 
to still the enemy and the avenger. (Psalm 8:2 ESV)

Who is the avenger?

Before Israel entered the Promised Land, God told them to set apart three cities, and then later three more cities, as places of refuge. If someone unintentionally killed a person, they could flee to a city of refuge and not be killed by the kinsman redeemer, or the person related to the dead person with the legal authority to seek recompense. “You shall select cities to be cities of refuge for you, that the manslayer who kills any person without intent may flee there. The cities shall be for you a refuge from the avenger, that the manslayer may not die until he stands before the congregation for judgment” (Numbers 35:11-12 ESV). 

The word avenger in the book of Numbers is a different word than in Psalm 8:2. In Numbers the word represents a person who is related to the deceased. If someone murders another, the murdered person’s relative has the right of revenge, to take the life of the murderer. “The avenger of blood shall himself put the murderer to death; when he meets him, he shall put him to death”(Numbers 35:19 ESV). The rules for those who kill accidentally are strict, just as the rules for the avenger are strict.

The cities of refuge were places where an innocent person, who accidentally killed another, may flee from the avenger of blood. These cities were places where an innocent person could escape and trust that they would not be killed by the avenger. These cities were not asylums where those who intentionally murdered could flee to escape punishment. 

But if anyone hates his neighbor and lies in wait for him and attacks him and strikes him fatally so that he dies, and he flees into one of these cities, then the elders of his city shall send and take him from there, and hand him over to the avenger of blood, so that he may die. Your eye shall not pity him, but you shall purge the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, so that it may be well with you.  (Deuteronomy 19:11-13 ESV)

In The Law of Moses, the avenger is the kinsman-redeemer given the authority to both avenge and to ransom from slavery. They have the authority and responsibility over the people and property of their family.

In Psalm 8 the word for avenger means one who metes out just sentences against those who have committed crimes against God. It is the avenger who confronts the enemies of God, His foes, with justice. Most often in Scripture the word revenge refers to God taking action against His enemies. Where there is a place for vengeance in crimes against people, such as murder, after the crime is verified by witnesses, there is no hesitation on God’s part to extract vengeance when He has been wronged. 

You shall not hate your brother in your heart, but you shall reason frankly with your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD (Leviticus 19:17-18 ESV).

God alone has the absolute right to judge and avenge Himself against those who rebel against Him. He may use peoples and nations to execute His judgments but no one other than He occupies the position of judge over another. Yet, part of the sin nature is the desire to judge those who do us wrong, and to especially judge God. No created being has the right to judge the Creator. As Creator, God has the eternal right to judge those whom He has created.

Introduction to Psalm 8

Meditations on the Psalms

This is the first Psalm in the book of Psalms that sings God’s glory and majesty without responding to sin and rebellion of the wicked. The Psalmist, king David, does acknowledge the truth of man’s rebellion, but in a way that does not suggest the debilitating impact upon God’s creation. 

In this Psalm the Holy Spirit speaks in the third-person about God and God’s Son. The Spirit uses the proper name of God, YHWH, the Everlasting One, recognizing God’s preeminence over creation. God is Lord, which means firm and strong, the master and king, the Authority over all authorities. While all of the Psalms recognize God’s ultimate authority, they reveal an attitude of disdain those people who rebel against God show toward their Creator. In contrast to the wickedness of the rebellious, the Psalms also emphasize the blessedness of those who take refuge in Him. All of the Psalms are written by God the Son and poetically speak about His work in both redemption and judgment.

Psalm 8 is written for the choirmaster, or the chief musician, just as Psalm 4. David wanted the choirmaster to teach this Psalm to the people, to be performed under his direction, during times of worship. The instrument used is unknown, but is called a Gittith, possibly from the city Gath, a city where David left the Ark of God after the death of Uzzah. “So David But David took it aside to the house of Obed-edom the Gittite. And the ark of the LORD remained in the house of Obed-edom the Gittite three months, and the LORD blessed Obed-edom and all his household” (2 Samuel 6:10-11 ESV). The instrument Gittith is used for three Psalms, Psalm 8, 81 and 84.

We do not know why David composed this Psalm, other than his love for and worship of God. As a shepherd, the young David would live with his sheep, not leaving them at any time during the day or night. Watching sheep and keeping them safe, gave David time to contemplate the world in which he lived. His musical and poetic talents, inspired by the Holy Spirit, often resulted in a song. David intimately knew God and expressed himself, his love for and trust in God throughout his life.

Psalm 8 shows the absolute authority of God over all creation and the absolute authority given to Jesus by God over all creation. David recognizes the place of God over creation in the first and last declaration of His majesty.

Vocabulary of War

If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword; 
he has bent and readied his bow;
he has prepared for him his deadly weapons,
making his arrows fiery shafts. (Psalm 7:12-13 ESV)

Why would anyone want to invite the wrath of God upon themselves? Why would anyone willfully rebel against Him? This is exactly what both angels and people have done. God commands people to repent of their sin and rebellion against Him. God will establish the righteous after He tests their minds and hearts (Psalm 7:9 ESV). God commands people turn away from that which tempts and trains them to rebel, and turn toward Him. 

God demands repentance. God never asks people to repent. To repent is to turn, to come or go back, to lead away from one thing and toward another, to be restored. God makes repentance possible when He delivers over Jesus’ life as a means of righteously fulfilling the requirements of His law for those created in His image. God’s eternal compassion is on full display on the cross. “Turn,

O LORD, deliver my life; save me for the sake of your steadfast love” (Psalm 6:4 ESV). His enemies turn away from Him, ashamed by what they have done. “All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled; they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment” (Psalm 6:10 ESV). Either they turn to God at His command, or they turn away from God at His judgment.

God will not simply turn rebellious people away from His presence. He will fight and war against them. David uses words of war to describe God’s assault on those who actively rebel against Him and His authority. He will sharpen His sword, bend and make ready His bow, using arrows that are fiery shafts. God creates and implements new instruments of death, designed to kill, not maim. Those who are steadfast in their assaults and attacks will feel God’s full wrath.

Joshua faced the pre-incarnate Christ as he surveyed Jericho before the fall of the city. Joshua encountered a man standing with a drawn sword.

When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” 

And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD. Now I have come.” 

And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” (Joshua 5:13-14 ESV)

Jesus, the Commander of the Lord’s Army, does not take sides between two warring factions of people. He stands for God against all sin. His mission, while living as a man, was to command people repent of their sin and turn toward God. Speaking about people who died by accident or by the hand of a despotic leader, Jesus tells those who are following Him, they must repent or they will also die a spiritual death. In Luke 13 He uses the same phrase twice. “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3, 5 ESV). Repentance is not an option. Repentance is commanded and obedience is expected.

The world carries superstitious opinions about God, believing the God of the Old Testament, the Hebrew Scriptures, is a God of wrath, while Jesus, the God of the New Testament, is a God of love, peace and forgiveness. Scripture is filled with God’s compassion toward His people and wrath toward His enemies. Jesus did not come to bring peace to everyone. He came to separate those who are His from those who hate Him and rebel against Him. “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matthew 10:34 ESV). Those who follow Jesus must pick up their cross, which is His cross, and be willing to die to this world to live for God. Those who hate Jesus will persecute those who walk with Him. Since they cannot persecute and murder God they will do what they can to those who are God’s. Even members of a family will fight against each other. “And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:38-39 ESV). Those who follow Christ must completely abandon themselves to Him. Obedience is expected and carries no merit before God. Disobedience brings God’s wrath.

War terminology is used in this Psalm because we are engaged in war. Those who hate God, His enemies, want to destroy all God has created and subvert all God’s purposes for His creation. The Deceiver does not care about winning, knowing he has already lost the war. Those people who fight against God think they can win. Their view of God is superstitious and unreasonable. God fights for Himself, not for us. Yet, we receive the benefit of His compassion and mercy, freely given though our time in this world.

Justice

All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled; 
they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment. (Psalm 6:10)

His enemies are those who seek His life and who rebel against God. They will not succeed in their mutiny. They are the individual rebel and the countries that rebel, led by the kings and rulers who disobey God (Psalm 2:1-3). They cannot overthrow God or His Son, established as King in Zion. “The LORD said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel” (Psalm 2:7-9 ESV). They will perish, sent away from the source of life, out of God’s presence.

Jesus’ enemies face shame and are ashamed, the same word used twice, which means humiliated, disappointed, embarrassed and disgraced, regretful, as they face God’s eternal displeasure. Troubled is the same word He uses to describe His bones and His soul. “Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing; heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled. My soul also is greatly troubled. But you, O LORD—how long? (Psalm 6:2-3 ESV). Troubled means dismayed, terrified, and to hasten or quicken, vexed. That which Jesus felt and experienced as He took upon Himself the sin of all is felt and experienced for eternity by those who die as His enemies. They will experience shame in a moment, which means at any sudden time, coming without warning. Yet, God does warn, directing those who rebel against Him to repent and turn back in obedience. “Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him” (Psalm 2:10-12 ESV). Those who seek refuge in Him are saved from His wrath.

Hezekiah expressed his repentance in his song of deliverance from death. He knew God’s compassion, seeing it as God’s rescue of the nation of Israel from the hands of the Assyrians (2 Kings 19:20-37). Facing death by illness, Hezekiah prayed God would allow him to live. God did, answering his prayer, extending his life by 15 years. “Behold, it was for my welfare that I had great bitterness; but in love you have delivered my life from the pit of destruction, for you have cast all my sins behind your back” (Isaiah 38:17 ESV). Though Hezekiah deserved death because of his sin, he was saved from physical death because of God’s mercy. Hezekiah was a godly king. “And he did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, according to all that David his father had done” (2 Kings 18:3 ESV). Even those who are godly still disobey God and face the consequences of their sin. In the thinking of his heart, after God healed him if his mortal disease, Hezekiah became proud and stopped thinking about those who would follow him after his ultimate death. Isaiah spoke to Hezekiah about the future of his family and nation.

And some of your own sons, who will come from you, whom you will father, shall be taken away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the LORD that you have spoken is good.” For he thought, “Why not, if there will be peace and security in my days?” (2 Kings 20:18-19 ESV).

This did not trouble him because he knew he would die in peace.

Jesus died in agony, tortured to death by the Romans at the direction of the religious leaders of Judea. He did not stay dead but was raised in peace. His resurrection brings peace and rest to those who are His. But to those who reject Him, who wished Him dead and would want Him to stay dead, there is no peace and rest. They will face God’s wrath in a moment. 

But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. (Matthew 24:36-42 ESV)

Created in the image of God for relationship with Him, those who rebel campaign against God, ignoring Him, attributing to Him that which is untrue, making idols and worshipping that which is false. Paul tells us everyone knows God because He has given the tools to know Him in His image. Yet, people refuse to know Him, suppressing the truth of God and living according to a lie. “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” (Romans 1:18 ESV). They are His enemies and will suffer the consequence of rebellion against Him. That which they wished upon Him will come drop on them. They will stand before God in shame and find themselves eternally outside of His presence.

Can we say Jesus is vindicated? He fulfilled His purpose in coming, God as a man. He died and was raised. He bore our sins. Even the sins of those who hate Him. Even the sins of those who executed Him. He died blameless of any wrongdoing or criminal activity. He rose, justified before God. Those who continue to rebel against Him have no excuse for their rebellion.

Abiding Love

Turn, O LORD, deliver my life; save me for the sake of your steadfast love. (Psalm 6:4 ESV)

God turns toward those He calls, offering them His eternal mercy as they obey Him. He cannot abide sin in His presence. David’s words in this Psalm are a reflection of his words in Psalm 5, which pronounces judgment upon those who turn away from God. 

“For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you. The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers. You destroy those who speak lies; the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man. (Psalm 5:4-6 ESV).

God does not trust those who are in rebellion against Him. In the deepest thinking of their hearts lives the desire to do whatever can be conceived to hurt or kill God. People hate God and hate truth, evidenced by their clinging to the insanity of sin. Though created in His image, with all the tools needed to fulfill the design for their lives given by God, people are corrupt and unwilling to work for Him. No one who has sinned is able to do anything to make them righteous before God. God’s intent is to show all who rebel against Him their abject spiritual poverty and do for them that which they cannot do for themselves. He offers all people salvation from His justified wrath. But, they must trust Him and turn toward Him.

Mercy is active love. God actively loves those He has created in His image. Love is God’s active goodness and kindness toward everyone. His purpose for creating people in His image is for intimacy, which is a natural element of God’s eternal character. “Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:15-16 ESV).

No one controls God. Those He brings into His presence enter because they obey His command to repent and declare His Son Messiah, Savior because of what He did. God decided to place upon His Son the sin of those in the world, who rebelled against Him, because of His eternal love for them, not because of anything they could do. People can do nothing to earn salvation. Nothing. God delivers life because of His eternal love. Our response to His love is to love Him in return. 

Hezekiah’s words express his eternal response to God even while his eyes are fixed on his temporary circumstance. “The LORD will save me, and we will play my music on stringed instruments all the days of our lives, at the house of the LORD” (Isaiah 38:20 ESV). With the tools given in the image of God, people can think eternally. God wants us to recognize sin and hate it. He wants us to see our inability to do anything for ourselves that is righteous. He wants us to acknowledge all He has done for us by His grace. He loves us and wants an intimate relationship, receiving our love for Him as a natural part of our being His.

Turn means to return, come back, rotate toward. Where God turned His back on sin, He turns again and faces the one He loves. Deliver means to make strong, to withdraw or draw off, to rescue and set free. Soul is the same word used in 6:3. His soul was greatly troubled and now He is asking for God to withdraw His anger and wrath and give comfort and security. God’s steadfast love means His great mercy, His eternal purpose exercised in conjunction with His eternal goodness. To save means to give victory, be liberated and freed from the effects and sentence for sin. David, Hezekiah and Jesus all prayed God would keep them alive. Death is the ultimate consequence for sin. David and Hezekiah died and those who followed them turned away from God and were banished from the kingdom. Jesus died and was raised, and those who follow Him turn toward God as eternal citizens of His kingdom.

God turns toward the individual who rebels against Him, reaching out in compassion and love. He will not face them for eternity if they refuse to obey His commands and directives.

Obedience is expected and carries no merit before God. People continue to sin as long as they remain in the world. Sin has immediate and eternal consequences. Immediate consequences of sin affect the person and those who surround the person, who are influenced by them, even remotely. Eternal consequences are separation from Him who sustains life, which is existence without nourishment. Jesus took upon Himself the eternal consequences of sin and immediately gave to those who are His, the covering of His blood. People who sin, even those covered by the blood of Christ, suffer the immediate consequence but not the eternal effects. 

God turns toward us because we are found in Him. “Turn, O LORD, deliver my life; save me for the sake of your steadfast love” (Psalm 6:4 ESV). God delivers us from death because His Son died in our stead and was raised. God loves us with steadfast love because He created us for relationship, giving His image to people. We are saved by Him and for Him. That we would continually acknowledge and praise Him and grow in our intimate knowledge of Him should be natural.

Peace in the Face of Death

Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing; heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled.  (Psalm 6:2 ESV)

Is there a burden God cannot lift because it is too heavy? God created the heavens and the earth and all in the universe. He is not created but always exists. If there is anything heavy, it was He who created it for His purpose. There is nothing He cannot lift or carry, but there are many things He will not carry or lift. He cannot abide sin in His presence. “Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish” (Psalm 1:5-6 ESV). No one who sins against Him, who dies in their rebellion, will stand in His presence. Christ took upon Himself the burden of the sin of everyone who has ever lived or will live. This weight is unimaginably heavy because it is eternal, not just temporal. “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him” (Hebrews 9:27-28 ESV). That which Christ bore for all was the sacrifice required by Himself to atone for the criminal activity of all created in His image. His sacrificial act brought peace where there was only wrath.

Having peace with God brings security and rest. Our own sinful flesh, the tugs and pulls of the world, and the Deceiver, fight to interrupt and frustrate our peace with Him. When the war against our peace with God engages, the sabotage of the world and the Deceiver insinuates we never had God’s peace. Even our own flesh may work and fight against our reckoning of peace with God. There appears to be no peace because of the assaults.

What does it mean to languish? Languishing means weak and feeble, as when all strength is expended and the muscles no longer respond to the commands of the persons will. This happens when a burden becomes so heavy it can no longer be carried. Bones means essence and substance as well as, body, limbs, physical members. Troubled means dismayed, terrified, and to hasten or quicken, vexed. David, when he wrote these words, had come to the end of his abilities and strength. His being was quickened with fear, his heart racing with terror, his body battered into submission. His soul distressed, facing a danger over which he could not control, which wanted to destroy him.

Hezekiah sang to the LORD after his deathly illness, when God promised him another 15 years of life. He praised God and remembered how he felt upon knowing his death was imminent. “Like a lion he breaks all my bones; from day to night you bring me to an end” (Isaiah 38:13 ESV). Hezekiah faced death and it exhausted him. So, too, throughout David’s life, there were many times when he was surrounded by those who wanted him dead. He found himself in places where he could do nothing to save himself. Both David and Hezekiah faced the ultimate consequence of sin. They faced death. Hezekiah languished in his bed as he lay dying. His innermost self was disjointed, torn apart with grief. Both these men reflect the feelings of Jesus as He faced an excruciating death. 

Hezekiah was given another 15 years of life after God answered his prayer. Hezekiah then slept with his fathers and died peacefully. David was rescued from those who wanted to kill him, reigned as king and finally died peacefully.

Thus David the son of Jesse reigned over all Israel. The time that he reigned over Israel was forty years. He reigned seven years in Hebron and thirty-three years in Jerusalem. Then he died at a good age, full of days, riches, and honor. (1 Chronicles 29:26-28)