Small Group Tools
Contemporary Comments 2016
Texts: Genesis 4:1-15; 3:9-10; 4:9; 6:1-13; Psalms 51:1; Genesis 22:1-19; 28:12-15
Rebellion these days is just not what it used to be. Our nation arose out of revolt against the unfair tax practices of our British overlords. We romanticize stories of the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere’s ride, and Washington crossing the Delaware. We don’t even call this uprising a rebellion—it’s The Revolution. A closer look at the historical record, however, reveals our founders’ suffering as they fought through deprivation, starvation, blistering heat and bitter cold. This was not a quick social media blitz that upended the world in a week. The American Revolution lasted several years as our determined Continental Congress refused to bow to the hardships of the struggle. We eventually achieved the victory, but it was at a cost.
That’s why many people today snicker at the “rebellion” taking place in the high desert of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. A group of armed rebels recently invaded the refuge to take up arms against what they perceive as an oppressive federal government. One of the first things they did was broadcast a call for help: they needed snacks. The mother of one of the leaders recently asked people to send them French vanilla-flavored coffee creamer. It’s hard to imagine General Washington issuing a call for peppermint or chamomile tea to break the monotony of their plain old black pekoe.
As the Malheur stand-off drags on and law enforcement takes a low-key approach to the situation, the news media is gradually pulling out and moving on to cover other, more current events. It’s hard to provoke a serious rebellion when our 21st Century attention span is about as long as one typical news cycle.1
If Lucifer thought he’d take this planet quickly by fostering Adam and Eve’s rebellion in the Garden of Eden, he was sadly mistaken. Our lesson this week discusses the resistance of the Patriarchs against Satan’s incursion. Whatever attack he tried, God responded with a corresponding defense and a timely counter-attack.
Satan thought he ended God’s resistance when he stirred Cain to kill Abel, but Seth came along to take up God’s cause and father a line of believers. The devil gave humanity a thirst for blood violence, but God washed that generation away in a global flood. When it seemed like heaven lost this earth, God established a beachhead in the family line of Abraham. God’s cause could have died with Esau as the rightful heir of the family’s birthright, but God raised up Jacob to continue leading a faithful tribe. Joseph’s brothers meant to do him harm, but God turned their treachery into a blessing.
The faithful Patriarchs show us that God is in this for the long haul. Lucifer has to know by now that though rebellion often seems like the right approach at the time, it rarely turns out as planned.
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