“Woe to her rebelling and becoming defiled, to the oppressing city!  (2)  She did not obey the voice; she did not receive correction. She trusted not in Jehovah; she did not draw near to her God”, Zep.3:1-2

Once people rebel against God, strange things happen inside a soul, of which one is hardly able to give an accurate account of. Nevertheless, this is something worse than one may be able to either believe or imagine. Just try following me in these steps downwards and see if you can, perhaps, turn back quickly in case you find yourself going down from trouble to trouble, and even blaming God for whatever may be happening to you during certain occasions of hardships.

The first sign of rebellion is: “She did not obey the voice…” When God talks, people easily and greedily avoid obeying God in whatever he says they must do to avoid a future collapse. They usually state it is not God speaking to them since the voice is taking away things which they would rather keep. They reason and argue against it the best they can. They say a God of love would not demand that from anyone, much less them. It is the first thing which happens to any soul which is rebelling. It will always devise ways of arguing against something which they find hard to give up or to let go for the sake of the calling of God. “She did not obey God…”

Once “She does not obey God”, it will happen that the soul will go step by step from there and it will become harder and harder to obey by the day. Then comes the corrections and “she will not receive them”. The second sign of rebellion is the unwillingness to receive corrections or perceive the main reason of them from a Holy God: “She did not receive (welcome) correction…” All He has given us, He may come and take away. He takes our stability away, He may cause our finances to drown, even if we receive much. Our love affairs may be banned, the family life is handed over to a disrupting spirit which will not stop until we hear the first Voice which we said did not come from God and which gets further and further from us. It may so happen that God may take all away from any of us whatsoever (whoever it is, for it may happen to anyone, to all). All the world has, all we may possess belongs to Him anyway. If He takes it away from any of us, it is His solemn right to do so and when loves demands that sort of thing He will. It can go so far as leaving nothing behind to look at. A land may be devastated, a soul may be turned into turmoil, a heart may only desire to die – and it may die. But, after death, things only get worse and there will be no rest for any such who rebels against God, ever for rebellion will carry on there. Death will not be the desired end to any soul tired out because of rebellion. The opposite of rebellion, however, no matter how difficult it may seem to any of us, will bring joy to the soul, because God Himself will kindle a fire of contentment from within which will never go down, unless by a future rebellion itself again. God’s grace will pay off, will compensate for any loss whatsoever. He Himself said once: “And everyone who left houses, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold (here on earth still), and shall inherit everlasting life (afterwards)”, Mat.19:29.  “And He said to them, Truly I say to you, There is no one who has left house, or parents, or brothers, or wife, or children for the sake of the kingdom of God,  (30)  who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and, in the world to come everlasting life”, Luk.18:29-30.

These corrections may amount to uttermost and unthinkable situations. We read that it may so happen that God will find nothing more to take away from us. “Why should you be stricken any more? You will revolt more and more; the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.  (6)  From the sole of the foot even to the head there is no soundness in it; only a wound and a stripe and a fresh blow; they have not been closed, nor bound up, nor soothed with oil.  (7)  Your land is wasted, your cities burned with fire. Strangers devour your land right before your eyes, and it is wasted, as overthrown by strangers”, Is.1:5-7. Then, bitterness will try to drive us even further from obeying God, for we will surely stop loving Him because of that and the door to loveless remarks will be wide open – and it will never be God’s fault at all. It so happens that, after we received a full measure for any kind of disobedience or sinning however small in our ouwn eyes and desires, we will be resenting to trust and obey God again. We will claim we have sinned beyond forgiveness and that God does no more love us. It is very difficult for a punished soul to trust God again, for it will look up unto God as an inquisitor, rather than a righteous God. Here is the third sign of rebellion, then: “She will not trust God”. It follows one sign upon another. "Those not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands", Rev 9:20. Bitternis will become an easier voice to listen to rather. This all happens only because there might be a small matter to fix in our lives which we do not link to the state of our actual living and feeling.

Whatever happens to your soul, bear in mind that you can turn to God at any moment, even if it takes going and believing against yourself and all words from demons overwhelming your mind. Just go against yourself and decide to trust God again and take Him as righteous for doing whatever He did or merely allowing it, even if it was done to you whom you started to pity so much. Remember that not even the devil can take anything away from you unless it so happens that God allows him to. So, if it is taken away from you, acknowledge it was God who did it, before that last sign of rebellion appears: “She did not draw near to God”. And this sign will be the last given to the soul. Drawing nigh to God will turn faith possible again and willingness to turn to Him should serve as the sign to deny ourselves wholly. Will you decide and draw nigh to God now? Or are you still expecting to have and breed good feelings of trust towards god while your heart is found in a state of real enmity against God? It is now time to do whatever it takes. You can always revert this course of things, for God is doing all of this simply because obedience should be simple to any of us. Will you avoid going still further down, if you are? Will you stop cursing, disobeying, smoking, flattering, abusing, pleasing people or whatever that voice inicially tried to tell you?

Or, will you help someone call upon God if you see any of these signs assaulting his life? Will you put your hand in the plow now and help avoid mischief to anyone who heard but did not obey? May you be blessed in so doing so, then. Amen.

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José Mateus