Sixty-year-old Jan Davis was a professional parachutist. She was also involved in the dangerous sport of “BASE jumping.” “BASE jumping” is leaping off fixed places, plummeting toward the earth for a few seconds, and then pulling your parachute chord. The letters B-A-S-E represent the fixed places from which one can jump: B (buildings), A (antennas), S (spans, bridges), and E (earth, cliffs).
On October 22, 1999, Jan and four other jumpers were in California’s Yosemite National Park to jump off the 3,200 foot granite cliff known as El Capitan. They were jumping to protest the fact that the Park had made BASE jumping illegal in the wake of the six deaths and numerous injuries that jumpers had incurred in the Park. In the minds of Jan and her group, their jump would prove the safety of their sport. Jan’s husband had come along to film the event, and several reporters were also on hand.
Jan was the fourth of the five jumpers. She launched off the cliff, fell for twenty seconds, and then fatally crashed into the rocks. Her chute had failed to open properly. Her husband and the reporters stood there stunned, having just watched Jan plunge to her death. The husband even had it on film.
I’m really not trying to be insensitive to the Davis family, but I think we can glean a spiritual lesson from Jan’s needless death. Over and over again the Bible warns against the sin of rebellion — such as rebelling against a logical law that has been enacted. Consider the following passages (all from the N.K.J.V.):
1. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry… (1 Samuel 15:23)
2. A evil man seeks only rebellion; Therefore a cruel messenger will be sent against him. (Proverbs 17:11)
3. There are those who rebel against the light; They do not know its ways Nor abide in its paths. (Job 24:13)
4. “Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land; But if you refuse and rebel, You shall be devoured by the sword”; For the mouth of the Lord has spoken. (Isaiah 1:18-20)
5. God sets the solitary in families; He brings out those who are bound in prosperity; But the rebellious dwell in a dry land. (Psalm 68:6)
And so it is with these verses firmly in mind that I ask you, “Are you, in some way, playing the rebel these days?” If you are, my next question is, “Do you really think that God is going to let your rebellion go unpunished?” If He did that, He’d become a rebel Himself, a rebel against His own written word. That, of course, isn’t going to happen, which means that your wisest move is to quit playing the role yourself.