Daily Archives: November 5, 2010

What Does God Think Of James Dean?

He personified the word “rebel.” James Dean only lived to see his 24th birthday, and 55 years later, Hollywood still mourns his early death. In their 1974 album, The Eagles dedicated a song to the 50’s cultural icon describing him as “too fast to live, too young to die.”

Strangely enough, this talented actor only played a leading role in three movies. While East of Eden won him an Academy Award nomination and Giant garnered him the Best Actor award, his role as Jim Stark in Rebel Without A Cause defined him as the embodiment of a legend. Perhaps he played the role well because James Dean, was in fact, a rebel.

And deep down, isn’t that what most people yearn to be? A rebel? Minus, of course, the tragic death.

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Ezekiel 12:1-14:11
Hebrews 7:1-17
Psalm 105:37-45
Proverbs 27:3


Ezekiel 12:1-14:11. God warns the people against false prophets “who prophesy out of their own imagination” (13:2,17). They tell people what they want to hear. They tell people they can believe what they want to believe, that they can choose from the marketplace of gods that suit their desires. “[False prophets] lead my people astray, saying, ‘Peace,’ when there is no peace, and because, when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash,” (Ezekiel 13:10).

Any time a prophet or pastor or television evangelist builds a successful ministry on telling people what they want to hear, they’re a false prophet.

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While God surely loved James Dean, I doubt he respected the man’s pursuit of the rebel life. God spoke to the prophet Ezekiel, “Son of man, you are living among a rebellious people. They have eyes to see but do not see and ears to hear but do not hear, for they are a rebellious people” (Ezekiel 12:2). If those words seem familiar, Jesus quoted them in Matthew 13:13.

This statement, though, gives us a unique definition of a rebel: seeing what we want to see and hearing what we want to hear. Rebellion is the insistence on interpreting the world through our opinions. Facts be damned and truth be damned.

And let’s be honest. None of us relish dissenting opinions to our views. We don’t like to be told what to do. We don’t like to be told what is truth. We want to decide for ourselves…even if it means we’re wrong.

The height of arrogance is constructing our own beliefs according to our desires because we don’t want anyone else telling us what to believe or do. And at times, we don’t even want God telling us what to do.

Our reading in Psalms reinforces this. In it, we read about the plagues God poured out on Egypt. Nevertheless, Pharaoh determined to harden his heart. He saw what he wanted to see and heard what he wanted to hear.

So how did God deal with these rebellious people? He allowed them to experience hardship. The Jews were sent into exile and Jerusalem was destroyed. Pharaoh’s hardness of heart opened the door to nine plagues which the nation of Egypt suffered. Last of all, it cost Pharaoh his son.

Rebellion comes at a high price.

Just ask James Dean.


  1. What spoke to you in today’s reading?
  2. To what extent are you a rebel at heart? What drives this?
  3. What do you tend to rebel against?

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Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church with Eugene Scott in Littleton, Colorado.


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