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

be stubborn.

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

be stubborn.

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

drinking is just harmless fun. Before you plunge into that

muddied spring, get the facts about alcohol-induced deaths

and about drunk driving accidents! They will tell you that

fudging on your tax returns is not cheating, just good

business. Before you drown in that muddied spring, get the

facts from the IRS code! Go with the facts, not the feelings.

When I was a college student, my pastor got caught up in a

big church fight. There were many accusations about what

he was supposed to have done. One of the deacons who

was on his case reported that the pastor had said nasty and

inappropriate things about sex to one of the young women in

the church just before her wedding. And, as it happened,

since that young woman had suffered an accident as a child

and had lost an arm, there was a special climate of sympathy

around her. People “felt” for this young woman, and were

out to hang the pastor! Well, when all the facts came out,

the young woman herself testified that the pastor had simply

given her a little booklet about the place of sexuality in

marriage; her parents had seen the booklet and had jumped

to a conclusion; and the deacon to whom they told their story

never even bothered to ask the bride what had happened.

They drank out of muddied springs! They did not actually

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