The first ten verses of this chapter is a synopsis of what God has done for Israel. The tenth verse is “I, the Lord, am your God, Who brought you up from the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.” Then, in the very next verse we are told, “But My people did not listen to My voice; And Israel did not obey Me.” God then “…gave them over to the stubbornness of their heart, to walk in their own devices.” Obedience has been a problem for mankind since Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden. Have you ever stopped to consider what this world would be like if, and it is a big “if”, Adam and Eve had obeyed God’s only request of them. Just one small request, “do not eat the fruit of that one tree.” God supplied all of their needs and had personal fellowship with them and had only the one very small issue that He wanted obedience from them, “Do not eat the fruit of that tree!” And, we all know exactly what happened, they ate the fruit!
I do like how verse 12 describes their disobedience as, “the stubbornness of their heart.” I have been working in the church nursery for a while and if there is one thing that I have gleaned from the time I have spent there it is that “stubbornness of the heart” is a condition we have from birth. You can see it on their faces, they want things done their way or else no one is going to be happy. Luckily, it is not something that affects all of the children, all of the time. But, it does affect all of them at some point in time. Then, when they get a little older, you can see it when they are asked not to do something. It is like magic, as soon as you ask them not to do it that is all they want to do. And, as we get older, it does not change. If you or I were in the Garden of Eden with every need met and in our daily walk with God, He asks us not to eat the fruit of that one tree, that piece of fruit is the one thing, the only thing, we would want to eat!
God pleads with Israel in verse 13, “Oh that My people would listen to Me, That Israel would walk in My ways!” If they did that God’s promise to them (verse 16) is that He would feed them with the finest of wheat and with honey from the rock He would satisfy them. And it is not just Israel that He asks for obedience. We are asked for obedience to His statutes all through Scripture. We are told in Scripture that His yoke is easy and His burden is light! He asks us to obey and life would be so much the better for us if we would. Remember His promise to Israel if they would just listen to Him and walk in His ways. He would feed them with the finest of wheat and with honey from the rock He would satisfy them.