Summary: There are times to be definite, clear, even stubborn: when you know the truth, when you understand your own motives, and when you can turn your stand into good news. Parts of the sermon were drawn from testimonies solicited earlier in the service around
Indelibly etched on my mind is the photograph of one of our
members, now deceased. If you go to Frances Flippen’s
apartment, you can see a picture of her late husband, John,
a military man, in full battle dress, helmet and all, standing
with his legs spread apart and his arms folded, and with a
most determined look on his face. The message it gives out
is clear and unequivocal. “I shall not be moved.” “You are
not going to get past me.”
Strong, decisive, firm. Some might look at him and say,
“stubborn”. Well, of course he was stubborn. He was
charged with the defense of this country. And when that is
your charge, there is no room for anything else but stubborn.
What was our opening Scripture? “If the trumpet gives an
uncertain sound, who will follow?” Military men know that
orders must be decisive, commands must be clear, security
must be vigorous. You take a stand. Just so, Proverbs
speaks about the righteous not giving way to the wicked.
There are times to stand firm, times to hold the line, times to
And there are times when stubbornness is just that and
nothing more. Some of us decide to hold the line on things
that do not matter. We are like the three-year-old child who
came to see his grandmother one day, and before she could
even say hello or offer him something to do, he just declared,
“Grandma, I won’t!” Whatever you are going to ask, I won’t.
We are like that. Just plain stubborn. It has nothing to do
with the righteous giving way to the wicked. We can simply
There are times to be stubborn and there are times not to be
stubborn. How do you know the difference? The central
truth lifted up in this passage of Scripture is that we are to be
stubborn, as God’s people, in not giving way to wickedness.
We are to stand up for what is right and we are to hold to it,
solidly, definitely. But, having said that, there is much more
that will help us look at what that means.
First, this passage urges us to be stubborn when we know
something. Not when we feel something or guess
something. When we know something. Be stubborn, give
no room for mistakes if you are very sure that you know the
truth. Proverbs says, “Like a muddied spring ... are the
righteous who give way before the wicked”. “Like a muddied
spring .. “ Be stubborn if you know the truth.
Knowledge is a very powerful thing. But when it is muddied,
it does more harm than good. When we do not really know
the truth, we will do some very messy things. If we do not
know what the facts are, we will fall back on our feelings and
will take some very wrong directions.
If you are trying to make a moral decision, there are plenty of
people out there with so-called information that is not true. If
you are trying to determine whether sexual activity is right for
you, they will tell you that holding back your feelings is
harmful and that you won’t suffer any problems by sleeping
around. Before you jump into that muddied spring, get the
facts about AIDS and about emotional damage! They will tell
you that a little alcohol is good for the tummy and that binge