Stubborn and Wrong

He who is often rebuked, and hardens his neck, will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. – Proverbs 29:1.

Since the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have even sent to you all My servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them. Yet they did not obey Me or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck. They did worse than their fathers. – Jeremiah 7:25-26.

For Israel is stubborn like a stubborn calf; now the LORD will let them forage like a lamb in open country. – Hosea 4:16.

Stinson Bailey trying to explain after starting a fire that destroyed three buildings in a town in Arkansas said, “I would’ve been all right if the wind hadn’t changed.” Maybe it happened because of Bailey’s stubbornness? A fire chief did see some smoke and investigated finding Bailey trying to finish the demolition of the building by burning. The fire chief advised Bailey that it was illegal and Bailey advised him that his services were not needed. The fire chief then told the people at the site that he was requesting a fire truck to put out the fire. The fire chief was told not to be concerned and that he should just come back later.

Some people do appear to be stubborn and set in their ways even when their course of action is disastrous. An elderly man I know has promised his wife that is bedfast that she will never have to go to a nursing home. Four years ago, she was placed on hospice believing she would soon die but she is still alive. On the surface, the promise of the man to his wife is admirable; however, sometimes you have to give up on some promises and dreams. Why? In this situation, the woman is receiving poor care due to the inability of those caring for her to properly give medication. As a result, the woman is hallucinating and is violent. Every time the giving of the medication is corrected to the proper dosages, it quickly and rapidly deteriorates. This particular man is unable to see that his wife is very miserable and would have a much more pleasant life in a different place than home.

When given advice how do you react? Do you harden your neck as Solomon puts it? Does it just make you more determined to continue on your original course and actions? Does it make you hate the one having the nerve to give advice to you? (Of course, to all of us advice givers, does it make us hate the one rejecting our good intentioned words of wisdom?)

The prophets of the Old Testament had a most difficult calling! They had to continue telling forth the Words of God even though the people rejected those Words over and over again. What did God say about those people who were given opportunity after opportunity to turn to God? “Yet they did not obey Me or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck. They did worse than their fathers.” “For Israel is stubborn like a stubborn calf.” What was the consequence for those stubborn people? “…now the LORD will let them forage like a lamb in open country.” The stubborn God rejecting people were left to their own devices outside of the protection of the Shepherd “like a lamb in open country.” There in that “open country” they were vulnerable to all kinds of predators and evil.

Have you been rejecting God? Have you been rejecting godly counsel, wisdom? Maybe it is finally time to drop that stubbornness and become instead teachable and malleable under the protection of the Great Shepherd?

(The danger of being stubborn.)

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