Stubbornness

Stubbornness

STUBBORNNESS – PART III

Series Verse: 1 Samuel 15:23
"For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry…."

"Stubbornness – A Reason for Your Defeat"

Study Text: Judges 2:6 – 23

As we continue our series on stubbornness we look at how and why it is a
reason for your defeat. First let’s get an understanding of what defeat is. We
usually define it as the loss against an enemy or an opponent. Even though
that’s true, in this case we also want to look at another meaning of the word:
"to prevent success or to thwart." We can also look at it this way,
"not getting EVERYTHING that you can get." For instance, if you
wanted to win the game by twenty points but won by ten, then you’ve suffered
defeat.

This week’s text gives us a summary of what happened after Joshua and the
Israelites renewed their covenant with the Lord at Shechem. Before the
covenant, Joshua divided the land so that the Israelites could enter into it.
Afterwards, the children entered into the land and served the Lord during the
life times of Joshua and the elders who saw the great works of the Lord (6th
& 7th).

After Joshua and the elders died a new generation was born that did not see
those miracles or know the Lord. They forsook the Lord and worshiped Ba-a-lim
(another god). This provoked the Lord to anger but guess what… they couldn’t
stop there. They then decided to worship other gods as well, Ba-al and
Ash-ta-roth. The 14th verse tells us that this made the Lord’s anger hot
against Israel. The Lord then delivered Israel into the hands of their enemies
and HE SOLD THEM into the hands of their enemies round about (all around them),
so that the Israelites could no longer stand before them (their enemies). Now
you know we’ve got to look at this.

GOD SOLD THEM!!! There is a slang term used to describe a person who
discredits his/her race for little of nothing. This person is known as a
"sell-out." Even if there is a great deal of money involved, the
money should never take precedent over loyalty. Well, the children of Israel
"sold-out" the Lord for these do nothing, be nothing gods… So to
return justice, the Lord sold them.

Now remember the scripture, "If God is for us then who can be against
us" (Romans 8:31). Well in the 15th verse we see the reciprocal, "the
hand of the Lord was against them" (Also See: Deu. 2:15, 1 Sam. 5:9, 1
Sam. 7:13). This is a bad place to be, in the midst of your enemies with the
hand of the Lord against you. Yes, the Israelites were there, front row center,
and they got tore up from the floor up!! But after the punishment we see the
Lord’s exceeding abundant mercy.

The 16th verse starts out NEVERTHELESS. This one word tells us, regardless
of how they (the Israelites) used to be and regardless of what they did, the
Lord showed them mercy. He extended his mercy by raising up judges which
delivered them. Now the book of Judges is not about judges like Judge Wapner or
Judge Judy. These judges were liberators or freedom fighters for their people.
The Lord lifted these men and women up to deliver Israel, but the 17th tells us
this, "And yet they [the Israelites] would not hearken unto the
judges." Then later in the 17th verse we see this, "THEY TURNED
QUICKLY OUT OF THE WAY WHICH THEIR FATHERS WALKED IN OBEYING THE COMMANDMENTS
OF THE LORD." Now what’s our definition of stubbornness? Deuteronomy 9:16:
"turning aside quickly out of the way which the LORD has commanded
you." So now we see that same stubbornness again.

Even though the Lord was with the judge, they did not listen to the judge.
But the Lord had pity on Israel’s groaning due to the oppression and affliction
they received from their enemies. And through all of this the Israelites still
didn’t learn. They weren’t listening to the judge while he/she was with them
and after the judge died the party really began. The 19th states, "that
they returned and corrupted themselves more than their fathers." [Doesn’t
this sound like the days and times we are living in. There is an overflow of
perversion and sin in this country and this world today.] The 19th continues,
"in following other gods to serve them, and to bow down unto them; they
ceased not from their own doings, nor from their STUBBORN ways."

In the 20th & 21st verses we see the result of their stubborn ways.
"And the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel; and he said, Because
that this people hath transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers
and have not hearkened unto my voice; I also will not henceforth drive out any
from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died." In other
words, those problematic people that are around you will stay around you
because of YOUR stubbornness. (Hmmm…. Keep this thought!)

"That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way
of the Lord to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not." (22nd)
Wait just a minute. Israel put themselves into a test. That’s where your
stubbornness leads you– into a test. Now where is the defeat? Well, instead of
being tested you could be getting blessed if you release that flesh. Here’s a
simpler way of saying it — Test or Blessed. By holding on to that stubborn way
(flesh) you will wind up in a Test when you could have been Blessed. That’s how
you get defeated.

The 23rd wraps up our message by telling us, "Therefore the Lord left
those nations [the enemies–the test] without driving them out hastily"
(Note: He could have ended the Israelites’ test quickly and blessed them just
as quickly, but they didn’t want that). "Neither delivered he them [the
enemies] into the hand of Joshua."

To conclude, we leave Israel in their test instead of being blessed, but we
hope we don’t leave you the same way. To the children of God that are holding
on to stubbornness, today we’ve got news for you, "IT’S NOT WORTH HOLDING
ON TO!" No more hating that person you hated twenty years ago because
right now you are being defeated for it. No more holding grudges because
someone hurt your feelings five years ago, it’s hindering your promotion. No
more "my way or the highway," especially in God’s church, it’s
keeping your prosperity from flowing. Stop being defeated!! Because as long as
you are not getting your blessings, the enemy is accomplishing his mission – to
steal (John 10:10). So let stubbornness go and watch the Blessings Flow!!