Stubborn Children

Ah, stubborn children, declares the Lord, who carry out a plan, but not mine, and make an alliance, but not of my spirit, that they may add to sin,” Isaiah 30:1

Imagine engaging someone in conversation with the words of Isaiah.  Typically this is not the best way to begin a conversation, but in Israel’s case this was crunch time.  There was no time for diplomacy nor was their time to just talk about life in hopes that the conversation would turn to spiritual matters.

Israel was on the brink of disaster and was about to make another foolish decision.  She was about to turn to Egypt for help against her enemies.  A careful study of chapters 25-31 helps us to understand that God was not the lord of these stubborn children.

As I read through these chapters, in particular chapters 30-31 I saw a nation that. “were children who were unwilling to hear the instructions of the Lord; who say to the seers, ‘do not see,’ and to the prophets, ‘do not prophecy to us what is right, speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions,'” 30:10.

Can you believe what you just read?  These people wanted to be told they were ok with God and they wanted to be told doing what they wanted to do was alright.  Does this sound familiar to you?  Does this description reach beyond their generation?

The fact is every generation has those people who can be described as, “Stubborn children.”  But before we start naming names, consider this, “I too am stubborn.”  If not for God’s grace and power in my life, I would rebel at every turn.

These chapters challenged me to mortify the deeds of my flesh and to focus on walking in the new life I have in Christ.  The Apostle Paul said it best, “refuse to let sin reign in your mortal body,” Romans 6:12.  My life does not have to be characterized by stubbornness, it can be characterized by submission to the Holy Spirit in a process called sanctification.

Even deeper than this I realized the love that God has for stubborn children like me.  In Isaiah 30:18 we find the following words, “Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.”  After all of our stubbornness God still offers mercy.  A few verses later the bible says, “As soon as He hears it, He answer you,”

What is it that God hears?  “In returning and rest you shall be saved,” 30:15.  The word returning can be translated, “repentance.”  As you and I recognize our stubbornness and we repent of this stubbornness God extends mercy and grace in cleansing our sin and creating a right spirit within us.

Question, “Are you being stubborn today?”  If so follow Isaiah’s direction, “repent.”  This alone will bring the rest you need in your troubled heart.  Thank God for His mercy.

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