Scripture for Today: Nehemiah 9:17a “They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles You performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery.”
When a donkey refuses to budge, it might as well stick out his tongue at you! Donkeys have the reputation of being strong willed and obstinate. But in their donkey brains they are stubborn for a reason. No matter how hard one pulls on a donkey, he will not move if he feels in danger or if he feels he is being overworked. Sometimes a donkey just has to stop and think whether he wants to obey or not. And if not, they will plant their hooves and refuse to move.
Today’s verse describes the Israelites as stubborn and stiff-necked. God had made His commandments very clear, but they refused to listen to His voice. They also chose not to remember all His miracles in leading them out of slavery in Egypt. The result was a stubborn conviction that their way was best, even if it meant returning to that slavery! They planted their feet and refused to go on. Perhaps they felt it was just too hard to obey. Thankfully, God did not give up on them (verse 17b). Because He is gracious and compassionate, He forgave them.
It is easy to see their stubbornness but I tend to gloss over this trait in myself. Any time I refuse to listen to God’s voice of conviction, I am at risk of stubbornly returning to sin’s slavery. Any time I forget all of what He has done for me, I am likely to stubbornly do what seems best to me.
Thank you, Lord that You do not give up on me. Help me to listen and remember today!