God honors obedience, despises stubbornness
Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness is as bad as worshiping idols. – 1 Samuel 15:23
7 So each generation should set its hope anew on God, not forgetting his glorious miracles and obeying his commands.
8 Then they will not be like their ancestors – stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God.
24 But my people would not listen to me. They kept doing whatever they wanted, following the stubborn desires of their evil hearts. They went backward instead of forward.
25 From the day your ancestors left Egypt until now, I have continued to send my servants, the prophets – all day in and day out.
26 But my people have not listened to me or even tried to hear. They have been stubborn and sinful – even worse than their ancestors.
“Those who never retract their opinions love themselves more than they love truth” (Joseph Joubert).
“I do not think much of a man who is not wiser today than he was yesterday” (Abraham Lincoln).
“To argue with a man who has renounced the use and authority of reason, and whose philosophy consists in holding humanity in contempt, is like administering medicine to the dead, or endeavoring to convert an atheist by scripture” (Thomas Paine).
“Pettiness of mind, ignorance and presumption are the cause of stubbornness, because stubborn people only want to believe what they themselves can imagine, and they can imagine very few things” (Madeleine de Souvre).
Stubbornness has two diametrically opposed meanings: arrogance or defiance on one hand and determination or perseverance on the other. The Father detests arrogant, defiant, stubbornness. The Scriptures are replete with His denunciation of rebellious stubbornness.
1 Samuel 15:23 Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness is as bad as worshiping idols.
The Hebrew word translated as stubborn is patsar. Patsar has the sense of being unmanageable. The verb means to push, urge, be insolent, display pushing, arrogance, presumption. In modern English, an expression captures the sense of this word is “push back.”
“Our heavenly Father places a high value on obedience, preferring it even to outward expressions of worship. In fact, our obedience is the ultimate expression of worship and service” (Stanley). “The Torah integrated sacrifice into the life of obedience to God; however, it never envisioned it as a substitute for obedience” (Bergen).
1 Samuel 15:22 Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offerings.
Obedience and submission are regarded highly while rebellion and stubbornness are denounced. Why is this so? “To know God’s will and deliberately disobey it is to put ourselves above God and therefore become our own god. This is the vilest form of idolatry” (Wiersbe).
REFLECT & PRAY
“God blesses obedience, not stubbornness” (Stanley).
Father search out every rebellious, stubborn stronghold within my heart and empower me to bring them captive to the obedience of Jesus Christ.
The story of Saul offers a window into a haughty, independent, stubborn heart. For Saul partial obedience was the same thing as total obedience. He substituted his plan for the Father’s plan. He had it all wrong. If are going to obey and serve the Father, we must do it on His terms, not ours. The Father is the implicit object of our rebellion and stubbornness. When we are stubborn and reject the clear direction of the Father, we are rejecting His authority and leadership. Ultimately we are rejecting Him.
“What is the difference between obedience and sacrifice? Sacrifice is one aspect of obedience, but obedience involves more than just sacrifice. We should never think that we can compensate for our lack of obedience to some of God’s will by making other sacrifices for Him.”
“Suppose one Saturday morning a father asks his teenage son to mow the lawn for him since he has to work that Saturday and cannot do it himself. Company is coming and he wants it to look good. The son decides that his dad’s car needs washing more than the grass needs cutting. Besides the boy plans to use the car on a date that night. When the father comes home, he finds that his son has not cut the grass. ‘I decided to wash your car instead,’ the boy explains. ‘Aren’t you pleased and me?’ His father replies, ‘I appreciate your washing the car, but that is not what I asked you to do. I would have preferred that you mow the lawn as I told you’” (Constable). In
It is possible to overcome stubbornness, if so how? It requires a massive perspective transformation.
4 Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?
5 But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
6 He will judge everyone according to what they have done.
Because of the Father’s wonderful kindness, tolerance, and patience, we should turn away from the sin of stubbornness. It is a matter of choosing to develop a resilient, flexible, and submissive spirit. Any child of the King can do it. It’s a matter of learning and putting into practice the inspired word of God.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.
17 God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.
The Father stands ready to enable each child of the King to cease doing what is wrong and to equip us to do what the Father desires us to do.