Are We Fighting Against God?

Yael Eckstein  |  July 29, 2021

Welcoming the sun at dawn

Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. — Deuteronomy 10:16

Each week in synagogue, Jews read through the Torah from Genesis to Deuteronomy. The Torah portion for this week is Eikev, which means “therefore” or “heel,” from Deuteronomy 7:12–11:25.

As a parent, I have learned so much from my children about the way that God relates to us. I’ll never forget one time when my husband and I were out at a café along with our 18-month-old son. Not long after we began our meal, he spilled apple juice all over himself and began crying.

As I tried to change his clothing, not understanding that it would make him feel better, my son got even more irritated and “fought” me as I tried to change him. The more he resisted the clean dry clothing, the longer it took to change him and the more difficult it was for both of us!

I often think about that image and wonder if in life we sometimes do the same thing. Do we sometimes thrash about, stubbornly fighting for what we want, when if we were calm and more trusting things would turn out better for us? Are we sometimes like that child, fighting against God, our loving parent who is trying to help us out?

Fighting Against God?

In our Torah portion, we come across this interesting commandment: “Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer.” What exactly does this mean?

The verse implies that a circumcised heart is the opposite of being stiff-necked. Being stiff-necked is the kind of stubbornness that causes a person to focus in only one direction and fight against God, shutting out all other possibilities. In contrast, a circumcised heart is open, flexible, and willing to let God in, trusting that God knows best.

Your Turn:

Are there areas in life where you are “stiff-necked” and fighting God in order to be in control? Open up to God and watch how life opens up for you!