“Resistance is futile!” This infamous malediction from Star Trek’s Borg collective has lodged firmly in the bosom of post-modern pop culture. Appearing in everything from alternative music to political non-fiction, the Borg’s ominous mantra epitomizes as sense of hopeless resignation – usually resignation to the will of some irresistible power. History is filled with ‘lost causes’ and futile resistance. The tyranny of the statement, “resistance is futile” inspires generations of radicals and revolutionaries willing to venture everything on their lost cause.
Our society, birthed as it was in revolution, harbors a spirit of resistance. Surely resisting every form tyranny is a virtue. With slogans such as “Don’t tread on me” and “Come and take it!” our brief national history is one of fierce independence. Like Pa Ingalls’ we demand a life which is ‘Free and Independent.’ Resistance is woven into the fabric of our culture and consciousness. Absolute freedom and self-determination are cardinal virtues. Or are they?
Is resistance always virtuous or does it easily become an outlet for our total depravity? Long before the Borg announced “resistance is futile” the Bible declared the same truth regarding God’s will. Job and his friends debated the futility of resisting God’s judgements. Isaiah wrote of God’s sovereign power over creation. The Psalmists declare God’s inscrutable wisdom. And in Romans 9, men facing God’s decrees rightly declare, “who can resist His will?”
The scope of God’s sovereignty is absolute and pervasive. It is irresistible. The Westminster Shorter Catechism summarizes God’s the scope of God’s sovereignty well when it asks.
What are the decrees of God? The decrees of God are His eternal purpose, according to the counsel of His will, whereby, for His own glory, He hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.Westminster Shorter Catechism, Question 7
Even before the beginning of all things the Lord decreed and ordained every last detail that would come to pass. He did not consult anyone nor does he change. He depends upon nothing he has made, nor is contingent upon anything that is. There is no resistance to his will. Resisting God is futile! And more than that, when we understand God’s goodness and grace, why would we want to? Yet, the ugly reality of our sin is that we do resist. We have rebelled against God’s grace? Every sin is a rejection of God’s Lordship. Our spirit of resistance is not merely an American ideal, but deeply ingrained in our fallen nature. Who can resist his will? Resistance is futile – but it does not stop us from trying.
But we are in good company. Many faithful men in the Bible struggled with obedience. God’s patience toward them should encourage us to stop kicking against the goads. God’s call to Moses in Exodus 3 is remarkable. Late in life, Moses receives the call he always wanted. Out of a burning bush at the foot of a desolate mountain, God spoke and called Moses to deliver his people. Moses had waited a lifetime for this opportunity. But now in is waning years, was it too late?
Moses’ response to God is somewhat unexpected. The man who forty years ago rose quickly and decisively to right every wrong and to seek justice for every injustice, now wavers. He attempts repeatedly to excuse himself from God’s call. Four times Moses makes excuses and offers objection after objection. Finally, he simply asks God to find someone else. But resistance is futile. God’s call is a command not an offer – a promise, not a proposition.
Have you resisted God’s calling? The calling to come to Christ or to serve Him? How is that working out? Peace will never come by resisting the Lord’s good and gracious calling. Resistance is futile. Moses had to learn this. And so do we. God was patient and kind to Moses, even in his struggle to obey. And he is patient and kind with us. Join us this Lord’s Day as we examine Exodus 3:11-4:17 and consider the futility and the foolishness of resisting God.
We meet from 5:00 – 6:30 pm in The Commons at St. Andrews Anglican Church at 8300 Kanis Rd in Little Rock for worship. Get directions here or contact us for more info. You can also join us on Facebook Live @RiverCityARP or on YouTube.