Home > Miscellaneous > Stubbornness is for the Arrogant, the Evil… and the Prophets

Stubbornness is for the Arrogant, the Evil… and the Prophets

It’s funny how people generally discuss stubborn people vis-a-vis the way that God generally discusses stubborn people. It’s not unusual to have conversations with people within which they express their frustration with someone that is stubborn because they refuse to: do something, see something someone else’s way, or change their character. You know who they’re usually talking about? Me. If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard, “Jeremiah, you’re so stubborn,” I’d probably have over a dollar. That’s a McDouble and I could get all my long distance calls for less than that. When I hear those words or a variation of them, my initial response is one of deep pain and fear because the way Yaway talks about stubbornness scares me.

YHWH describes it in a lot of different ways, and he usually attaches a somewhat (read: very) negative stigma to it. Stubborn is what the Jews are in the middle of their rebellion. Stubborn is the description of those who knowing refuse to be faithful to the covenant with YHWH. Stubborn are those whose hearts are in the process of turning to stone because of their selfish disobedience. The stubborn follow the evil inclinations of their selfish hearts as they walk a broad path that leads toward death. The stubborn are those on the precipice of falling into God’s wrath.

That’s why I cringe and am frightened when anyone calls me stubborn. If I am, then my life is an absolute mess. If I’m selfishly pursuing the wants of my evil heart whilst ignoring the voice of YHWH and His prophets, then I’m prancing along the broad path on my way toward destruction. If my heart is stubborn toward God, my whole life, what I purport to be and want to be, is a farce. That’s incredibly unpleasant. It seems, however, that most times in my life when I have been called stubborn, this sort of outright rebellion is not what people are intimating.

It seems that most situations in which people call me stubborn it is because I hold onto my beliefs firmly and I am idealistic about living by certain principles that don’t always line up well with the social norms. Individuals close to me often get frustrated with me because I’m not easy to sway when it comes to changing my thoughts on what is true. I have pretty good reasons for believing what I believe, and it takes someone with a stronger argument than me to convince me otherwise. And people get frustrated with some of the ways that I insist upon doing things differently than a lot of people do out of sheer principle. Sometimes what I do frustrates people and they insist I should do things differently because it seems innocuous to them for me to refuse to give in for some silly ideals. I am stubborn in those ways. I think there are good ways and good times to be stubborn. So does God.

In the opening chapters of Ezekiel, YHWH is talking to him about how the Israelites are set in the rebellion of their evil and obstinate hearts. He then tells Ezekiel, “I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house” (Ezekiel 3:8-9). “Hardened,” “unyielding,” and “forehead like the hardest stone?” These are just nicer terms for stubborn. And that’s exactly the way that God wanted Ezekiel to be. Ezekiel had to be firm in his good ways and hold to his message so stubbornly that no matter how much the Israelites mocked him, ignored him, persecuted him, or debated him, Ezekiel would be unwavering in his message. His stubbornness gives his words power amidst antagonism. So all this to say, I’m gonna remain stubborn damnit. Peace out.

 
 

At least that’s how I’d like things to end… but I’ve got a problem. The problem is in my fear that arises when I think of my stubbornness. Why is it there? Well, sometimes I am stubborn in my selfish ways. Sometimes I refuse to live by anything but the evil inclinations of an obstinate heart. I still have a susceptibility to turn from my God and live ignoring His voice. Don’t get your hopes up, I refuse to stop being harder than stone when it comes to living out what I believe to be kingdom values and I will not pretend you changed my mind on something when you haven’t. However, I hope my God will surround me with people who are “as unyielding and hardened” as I am if ever I recede into an arrogant obstinance toward Him. Live obedient always and stubborn when necessary.

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Categories: Miscellaneous
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