“I am the Lord your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt; open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. But My people would not heed My voice, and Israel would have none of Me. So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart, to walk in their own counsels. Oh, that My people would listen to Me, that Israel would walk in My ways! I would soon subdue their enemies, and turn My hand against their adversaries” (Psalm 81:10-14).
The rock musician Scott Stapp once said, “I always believed in God and Christ, but I was in rebellion trying to make my relationship with God fit into my life instead of making my life fit in with him. I was stubborn”. Can you relate to that statement? Do you find yourself at times stubbornly resisting God and trying to make Him fit into your will instead of being submissive and allowing Him to fit you into His Will?
In Psalm 81 God speaks of how He had blessed His people when He delivered them from Egyptian bondage: “I removed his shoulder from the burden; his hands were freed from the baskets. You called in trouble, and I delivered you; I answered you in the secret place of thunder; I tested you at the waters of Meribah” (Psalm 81:6-7). However, His people were being tempted to turn away from Him and worship other gods (Psalm 81:8-9). God promises them great blessings if they will continue to follow Him: “I am the Lord your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt; open your mouth wide, and I will fill it” (Psalm 81:10). God would give them the finest of wheat and honey from the rock if they remained faithful (Psalm 81:16). Furthermore, the Lord promises them deliverance from their enemies: “Oh, that My people would listen to Me, that Israel would walk in My ways! I would soon subdue their enemies, and turn My hand against their adversaries” (Psalm 81:13-14).
However, God’s people rejected Him: “But My people would not heed My voice, and Israel would have none of Me” (Psalm 81:11). What an incredible statement by God! God says His people, the very ones he rescued from Egyptian bondage, would now have none of Him! God desired greatly to bless them, but now He could not. He had to leave them over to their own devices and give them up to their own stubborn will: “So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart, to walk in their own counsels” (Psalm 81:12). God had to let them learn the hard way by allowing them to experience the consequences of their own choice to reject Him!
Am I stubborn? It is good to be persistent and refuse to give up when following God’s Will in our lives (e.g. the persistent widow, Luke 18:1-8). It is evil to stubbornly resist follow what God tells us to do. Again, do I find myself acting like the musician Scott Stapp who struggled with trying to fit God into his will instead of subjecting Himself to God’s Will? When I persist in stubbornly refusing to humble myself before God and submit myself to His Will, there will come a point when God can no longer help me and will have to give me over to my own stubborn heart. The father of the prodigal son had to do this. He had to allow his son to move away and experience the consequences of his stubborn rejection of him (Luke 15:11-21). Today, I will strive to have a submissive heart before God so that I can open my mouth and let God fill me with His blessings. I rejoice in God’s leadership in my life and will refuse to rebel against God so that He will not have to give me over to my own stubborn heart!
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud. He who heeds the word wisely will find good, and whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he” (Proverbs 16:18-20).