Watch Your Stubbornness
Today's Reading: Hosea 1-4; Revelation 1
“For Israel is stubborn like a stubborn calf; Now the Lord will let them forage like a lamb in open country." Hosea 4:16
Giving my dog a bath gives me a good glimpse at a stubborn animal. He instinctively knows when I am getting ready to bathe him. Once he is convinced that I am coming to get him, he tries to hide. At that point, talking to him will not get him to change his mind. He must be dragged by the collar to the hose outside (hot and cold water, of course). It is not like he isn't spoiled and usually gets what he wants, but a bath is what is best for him, and for those around him. When the bath is over, he is the happiest, most energetic dog I have ever seen. He seems to like the after effect much more than the process he has to go through to get there.
The Lord compared Israel to a stubborn calf. They would not listen to the Lord's commands and would not obey His Word. Regardless of how much God blessed them, they still returned to their wicked ways. Regardless of how much they saw God's hand taking care of them, rescuing them, and providing for them, they had a short memory of those things. They were constantly returning to their sinful practices of worshiping other gods and pursuing their fleshly desires. Stubborn and stiff-necked is how God referred to them as He looked upon their rebellious ways.
I wonder how often the Lord looks at us the same way. How often do we rebel against what God has for us because we do not want to go through the process (or the bath we need)? For me, even though I revel in the after effects of God's touch, I still resist that necessary cleansing of the sin in my life. If we are not careful, we will find ourselves too comfortable with being unclean. Once that begins to happen, we may also find ourselves slipping into practices that do not glorify God, just as the Israelites did. When you know the Lord is coming to get you for that special time of bathing, just let Him have His way with you. The process will go much faster and you will feel so much better when you surrender to Him. I keep giving my dog the same advice even though he is not catching on. But we should.
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