SEPTEMBER 13, 2017
The Word: Stubbornness
“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams” (1 Samuel 15:22).
A diamond is possibly the hardest of all-natural substances known to mankind, according to geologists. A diamond does not become a diamond overnight. It is developed naturally over a long period of time. Time is both a diamond’s best friend and its worst enemy. Similarly, time is one of the worst enemies of developing a stubborn-hearted man or woman.
From birth, Sam was a stubborn-hearted infant. She always wanted to have things her way. She came out of her mother’s womb yelling and screaming as if nothing and no one could ever satisfy her. As a baby, it wasn’t unusual for Samantha to cry all through the night. Mary and Ray didn’t know what to do with a child with a temperament like Sam’s. She continued to be their most difficult child. She did everything the hard way.
It was as if she had been bitten by a “serpent of rebellion.” When she was baptized at age 10, her mom and dad prayed that God would take away her rebellious and stubborn-hearted spirit.
Sam went through high school with little change in her stubborn-hearted spirit. Mary and Ray often joked behind closed doors by saying. “At least she sleeps though the entire night now.” However, during the day at school, she virtually lived in the principal’s office. It was not unusual for Mary to receive a half dozen calls from the school every week.
Sam completed high school at age 14. She graduated tops in her class. She never had a problem studying and making grades but her stubborn-hearted spirit trumped her academic success. College and universities across the nation and around the world called her mom and dad. She received offers for from Oxford University in England and to Harvard, Princeton, and Yale in America. She was a perfect student academically, but a stubborn-hearted person personally—until one day something happened to her that literally changed not only her life, but the life of her entire small town.
Sam had returned from abroad studying—seeking to become an astrophysicist, she suffered a brain aneurism. She was found face down in her room. Mary and Ray immediately called 911. Within a matter of minutes, the paramedics were there. They immediately begin to do CPR. It appeared that she was DOA. Then when they had given up, she sat up and said, “Where am I?” She appeared to be a completely different person. The color of her eyes had changed. Her skin tone was brighter. Her smile was sweeter. Her voice was now seasoned with pleasant expressions like “Thank you.” “I love you mom and dad” and a host of other gracious expressions. She went from Sam to Samantha. As Sam, she was the hardest of the hardest stones known to mankind; as Samantha, she was the most precious of stones known as a diamond.
No longer was Samantha stubborn-hearted. She was now a new person. Mary and Ray looked each other in the eye and smiled and said, “Truly God answers prayer.”
In 1 Samuel 15:22, Saul rejected God’s Word. But Mary and Ray never once rejected or denied what God could do for their little girl who had now become a gentle-hearted young woman—ready to transform the world.
Due to the pressure of persistent prayer, God birthed a diamond of a daughter from the dust of this sinful earth. Tenderness always trumps stubbornness when it comes to obeying God’s Word.
“Will power does not change men. Time does not change men. Christ does.”
Jesus, thank You for knowing how to heal a stubborn heart and toxic spirit. Heal not just our outside. Heal us through-and-through. Lord, we desire to be Your precious diamonds, even when trapped in disobedient and stubborn-hearted human sinful flesh. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Devotional taken from Today’s WORD: Ancient Wisdom for Modern Times by Robert F. Loggins Sr.