‘I have seen these people, and I know that they are very stubborn.’
Exodus 32:9 NCV
We can all be stubborn at times. We get fixed on our ideas or traditions and refuse to make changes, even if we can see that we’re in the wrong. But stubbornness can damage our relationships with others. It can make it difficult for people to want to spend time around us, or to share ideas with us. Stubbornness doesn’t just affect our human relationships, it can also damage our relationship with God. When we harden our hearts to Him and refuse to surrender to His ways, we end up drifting away from Him. The Message paraphrases Proverbs 29:1 like this: ‘For people who hate discipline and only get more stubborn, there’ll come a day when life tumbles in and they break, but by then it’ll be too late to help them.’ This is exactly what happened to the Israelites. God said: ‘I have seen these people, and I know that they are very stubborn.’ God repeatedly warned them to turn away from the things they were doing. But they wouldn’t listen. In Psalm 81, God says: ‘Israel did not want me. So I let them go their stubborn way and follow their own advice’ (vv.11-12 NCV). Because God loves us, He doesn’t force us to connect with Him, repent of our sins, or surrender our plans. He allows us to go our own way, if that’s what we choose. But He doesn’t want that to happen. His ways are far better than ours. And sometimes, even though we don’t want to admit it, we know that we would be so much better off if we allowed God into our lives. So are we going to be like the Israelites who were stubborn, or are we going to allow Him to soften our hearts? What Now? Have a read of Ezekiel 36:26. If you’ve been struggling with stubbornness towards others, or towards God, ask Him to give you a new heart and new spirit.