Plagued by Stubbornness

photo courtesy of Simon Matzinger

Adonai said to Moses, “Say to Aaron: ‘Reach out with your staff and strike the dust on the ground; it will become lice throughout all the land of Egypt.’”  They did it — Aaron reached out his hand with his staff and struck the dust on the ground, and there were lice on people and animals; all the dust on the ground became lice throughout the whole land of Egypt. The magicians tried with their secret arts to produce lice, but they couldn’t. There were lice on people and animals. Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God.” But Pharaoh was made stubborn, so that he didn’t listen to them, just as Adonai had said would happen.

-Exodus 8:16-19

My wife, Simone, and I have made it a rule that we dedicate Saturday to rest and relaxation, preferring to spend time out in the solitude of creation where we can be surrounded by the awe of what our creator has made.  That means that we usually get our grocery shopping done late Sunday afternoon.

Last Monday morning Simone asked me what I had done with the dog food.  “It didn’t get put away,” she said.  “Did you bring it in from the car?” she wanted to know.   

I said yes, bobbing my head up and down stupidly. 

She thoroughly searched the downstairs for the dog food, then asked again. 

Once more I said yes, now feeling a little perturbed. 

“Where is it?” her voice also a little strained. 

“Dunno?  Did you check the cupboard,” I replied half disinterested in the conversation. 

“Are you sure you brought it in?”  she asked doubtfully. 

all the certainty and confidence in the world I shot back with a definitive “Yes, I did!”

She stormed off to the closet, grabbed her coat and marched out to the car, while I flipped through the television stations looking for something to watch.  I was quickly startled back to the situation at hand when she flung the door open, glared at me and said “humpf” before marching off to the kitchen holding a bag of dog food in her hand.

I stopped and thought for a second before responding, “I guess not.  Sorry!”

Of course, the timing of this encounter struck me.  As we continue reading through Torah, or the Old Testament, we had come to the book of Exodus where one of the most recognized portions of the old testament deals with the conflict between Moses and Pharaoh.  

Moses and his brother Aaron come to Pharaoh at the request of God, demanding that Pharaoh let Israel go free, but Pharaoh was having none of it.  This left God no choice but to unleash the plagues on Pharaoh and Egypt.

Pharaoh would promise to let Moses and his people go free, but stubbornly he would go back on those promises.  Eventually, after much suffering and death, Israel was set free.

That leaves me right here, right now, thinking about my stubbornness about the dog food and the folly and tense feelings that it brought about.  But this is just the steppingstone to a series of thoughts about my past, leading me to recall many of the worst moments of my life. 

Suddenly, a light bulb goes off in my head.  Many of those painful moments could have been avoided if I just hadn’t been so darn stubborn.  Is it so important for me to be right about everything?  How many relationships have I damaged because of my stubbornness and how much time have I lost with people that are dear to me?

Unfortunately, we all have that Pharaoh that lives with us.  What are some of the Pharaohs in your life right now?  How has the stubborn Pharaoh inside of you effected your life? 

These are some good questions to reflect on.  But somehow, we need to find an answer so that we can find our way out of our own slavery to our personal Pharaoh. 

So, what can you and I do about that nasty little Pharaoh that we are dealing with?  Please take a moment to share your thoughts in the comments below.

Thank you for taking the time out of your day to walk with me for a little while on this journey through life.  I pray you will have peace and blessings as you trek onwards!

Shalom!

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