Amos 4:13 “For behold, He who forms mountains, And creates the wind, Who declares to man what his thought is, And makes the morning darkness, Who treads the high places of the earth— The LORD God of hosts is His name.”
Stubbornness is a personality trait in which a person refuses to change their opinion about something or refuses to change their mind about a decision that they’ve made. Stubborn people have a resolute adherence to their own ideas and opinions. … A stubborn person has the “No I won’t, and you can’t make me” attitude.
What is it that makes someone so insistent about their position?
Within the field of psychology, the teaching adheres to a belief that most people’s behaviors are either reward-seeking or pain-avoiding. As children, stubbornness is a means for them to get what they want. If they get what they want by being stubborn, they will continue this response for each situation where conflicts of interest occur.
When a child grows older, stubbornness may be a defense mechanism when they think their freedoms are being taken away. The foolishness of a child leads them into trouble, although the parents may see trouble coming and thus institute measures to protect the child, the child only sees the action as restrictive and demanding. This child-like response is typical for adults who haven’t learned how to deal with restriction as kids.
When we have a false understanding of God, we falsely draw conclusions based off His actions. If we think of God as only authoritative and demanding, unloving and harsh, we imply poor human traits toward God who is faithful, He does not act with selfish ambition or vain conceit. The Lord does not punish unjustly and in everything He does, He acts in love.
To those who think God is just another bad father or mother image, the response toward God will be like a child that attempts to protect themself from further harm.
The prophet Amos was addressing a stubborn people as he related the word of God. With each subsequent judgement brought upon the people, they continued to harden their hearts and set their minds against God’s rebuke.
Amos 4:11 “Some of you I overthrew as I overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah,and you were like a firebrand snatched from a blaze, yet you did not return to Me,”
Stubbornness of Identity
Stubborn people are rigidly attached to their beliefs, opinions, ideas, and tastes. They can’t stand anyone disagreeing with them because disagreeing with them means disagreeing with who they are. If God declares them to be rebellious or apart from His will, these insights are not well received.
They become stubborn to the point that they don’t even consider the opinion of others because they feel threatened by people who disagree with them, even if it is God who is disagreeing.
So, in a way, this is also a type of pain-avoidance. This kind of stubbornness can hamper the growth of a person and badly affect their relationships with God and people. Some go a step further by totally avoiding people who don’t agree with them, closing themselves off to Truth just so they can live in the world of their own ideas and opinions.
Jeremiah 13:10 “This evil people, who refuse to hear My words, who follow the dictates of their hearts, and walk after other gods to serve them and worship them, shall be just like this sash which is profitable for nothing.”
Jeremiah confronted a stubborn nation, gave signs for what their stubbornness was leading toward, and placed himself in a position of brokenness, just so they could witness their future in some measure.
Feelings of Hostility
Some people act stubbornly just to annoy others. You may have caused them some kind of a pain in the past and now they’re getting back at you passive-aggressively. In many cases, the perception that God is to blame is also a reason for maintaining such an adamant position. Stubbornness allows them to release their hidden feelings of hatred and hostility towards you or toward God.
Numbers 14:11 “And the LORD said to Moses, “How long will this people treat Me with contempt? How long will they refuse to believe in Me, despite all the signs I have performed among them?”
Moses also had to work with a stubborn people, God would entreat Moses with a question that He already had the answer for. The questions were rhetorical in nature, more for Moses than for the Lord. God was revealing His heart to Moses, a heart that was concerned for a people that couldn’t see the love of God, nor could they know what goodness He was offering to them if they would just trust Him.
Inflexibility is a defense mechanism for someone who feels vulnerable. Their identity lies in their need to be correct, being proven incorrect can lead them to a sense of disgrace and the ego wont allow for this.
What deeper needs are there that people feel are not being met?
- A need to be understood?
- A need to be recognized as valuable?
- A need to be cherished and loved?
All of these questions God addresses.
2 Chronicles 36:15 “Again and again the LORD, the God of their fathers, sent word to His people through His messengers because He had compassion on them and on His dwelling place.”
The patience of the Lord is tribute to His mercy and grace. He recognizes not only our weaknesses, but He also sees value in restoring our walk with Him. In the early days of Israel, it was God’s temple that brought value among the people. The presence of the Lord descended into the Temple when the priests would offer up sacrifices for the people. The value of God’s people as a testimony to the world is why He brings us into His presence and makes us holy.
A Stubborn Reminder
Jeremiah 9:14 “Instead, they have followed the stubbornness of their hearts and gone after the Baals, as their fathers taught them.”
One aspect of a stubborn people that psychology overlooks is the direct relationship of people to God.
The desire for God can be overshadowed by a stiff-necked people who don’t like the attributes of God. The attempt to formulate a god in their own minds allows them to remove anything that brings judgement upon their heads. The myriad of false religions takes God’s holiness and reduces it down to man’s holiness. The more I try to prove myself worthy, the more I attempt to fruitlessly take responsibility for my own salvation and leave God’s standard to Himself. If I don’t like being held to God’s laws as a measure of my sin, I simply subscribe to an alternative religion that leaves them out or relabels them into a form that is acceptable to me.
It is this mindset that idolizes my own agenda and sins before a just and holy God.
There is a point when God has to remind us where our place is.
Job 38:4 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.”
Isaiah 40:12 “Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or marked off the heavens with the span of his hand? Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket, or weighed the mountains on a scale and the hills with a balance?
Jeremiah 10:13 “When He thunders, the waters in the heavens roar; He causes the clouds to rise from the ends of the earth. He generates the lightning with the rain and brings forth the wind from His storehouses.”
Can you perform such tasks?
God knows our thoughts, He treads upon the mountains, He measures the Universe with the span of His hand.
The Lord God is His name.
If you will only soften your heart. Stop being so close minded in your position and accept God for who He is and who you are, you too will tread upon the mountains.
Psalm 147:2-6 “The Lord builds up Jerusalem;
He gathers together the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds.
He counts the number of the stars;
He calls them all by name.
Great is our Lord, and mighty in power;
His understanding is infinite.
The Lord lifts up the humble;
He casts the wicked down to the ground.”
Humility before God is what He looks for in you. Are you able to accept Him for who He is, if so you will be rewarded greatly. If you continue in your sin and stubbornness, eventually you will be cast down into the ground, never to return. Your hard-heartedness will go with you into Hell and will be an ever present reminder that your position is one of great loss.
The outcome of your life hangs in a balance, righteousness or unrighteousness, as long as you still have breath in your lungs you have a choice.
I hope to see you upon that mountain.