Devotions from Psalms Series: Stubborn Is as Stubborn Does

Then they will not be like their ancestors—stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful, refusing to give their hearts to God. Psalm 78:8 NLT

Something magical happened when my grandfather whispered the words, “Giddy up.”

I’ve only seen a few mules in my lifetime. Yet being familiar with the saying, “stubborn as a mule,” gives me a clue about their personality. My grandfather was familiar with mules and their nature. His father died when my grandfather was twelve, leaving him to run the family farm.

An uncle helped him, but for some reason, mules didn’t appreciate Uncle Ransom. When he gave the command to “giddy up,” they didn’t—most of the time. Or if they did, they stubbornly plowed a crooked row. When my grandfather asked, however, they plowed in straight rows. Something in Uncle Ransom’s nature conflicted with the stubbornness of the mule’s nature.

Later, after my grandfather gave up farming and began working for an ice and later an ice cream company, he encountered stubbornness once again—and benefited from it. Some business owners were quite challenging to work with because of their stubborn nature. What other salesmen couldn’t deal with, my grandfather confronted with his patient nature and won them over as customers.

God also encountered stubbornness—but not so much in pagans. He discovered it in his chosen people. The people he called out from among all people groups of the world. The people he gave a Promised Land. The people he delivered from four hundred years of slavery. Instead of worshipping him, they often stubbornly followed the wicked ways of their unbelieving neighbors.

I can name a few times when I’ve been stubborn as well. Wanted to do things my way instead of God’s way. Thought I knew best. God gave me good examples to follow, and I stubbornly chose the bad instead.

Stubbornness keeps us out of God’s will. Like a mule, we’ll refuse to budge toward God’s revealed will, or we’ll plow a crooked row of inconsistency in our obedience. When we’re out of God’s will, paucity follows. God’s blessings can’t or won’t flow when we’re living in stubborn disobedience.

God suggests a cure for stubbornness: remember his blessings of the past and obey his commands. When we do this, we’ll “giddy up”—and gladly, when God whispers the command.

Don’t let stubbornness cause you to miss God’s best.

Photo by Ron Hansen on Unsplash