A Stiff-Necked People

Stiff-Necked: Stubborn and arrogant or aloof. Synonyms: obstinate, stubborn, headstrong, stiff-necked, bullheaded, pigheaded, mulish, dogged, pertinacious.These adjectives mean tenaciously unwilling to yield. Obstinate implies unreasonable rigidity. From: American Heritageģ Dictionary, 4th Ed. with thesaurus

 

(Deu 10:12-20 NIV)And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, {13} and to observe the Lord's commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good? {14} To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. {15} Yet the LORD set his affection on your forefathers and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations, as it is today. {16} Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer. {17} For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes. {18} He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. {19} And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt. {20} Fear the LORD your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name.

 

(2 Ki 17:13-16 NIV)The LORD warned Israel and Judah through all his prophets and seers: "Turn from your evil ways. Observe my commands and decrees, in accordance with the entire Law that I commanded your fathers to obey and that I delivered to you through my servants the prophets." {14} But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their fathers, who did not trust in the LORD their God. {15} They rejected his decrees and the covenant he had made with their fathers and the warnings he had given them. They followed worthless idols and themselves became worthless. They imitated the nations around them although the LORD had ordered them, "Do not do as they do," and they did the things the LORD had forbidden them to do. {16} They forsook all the commands of the LORD their God and made for themselves two idols cast in the shape of calves, and an Asherah pole. They bowed down to all the starry hosts, and they worshiped Baal.

 

(Prov 29:1 NIV)A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed--without remedy.

 

(Acts 7:51 NIV)"You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit!

 

So how does this apply to us? Simply put, we are just as stiff-necked today as they were then. Same man, different clothes! Notice that God is speaking of His own chosen people! Today, that would be you and me. Letís look a little closer.

*†† It is difficult to appear humble with a stiff neck!

*†† A stiff neck is often related to a pain in the neck!

*†† A stiff neck makes it difficult to assess your surroundings.

*†† The same could be said of any people. Arrogance and love of self more than love of God is pretty much universal. God does not show partiality in His judgments.

*†† Israel lost faith when things didnít go as they expected or wanted. Godís timetable took too long, or so they thought.

*†† God is patient; His people are not.

*†† God is faithful; His people are not.

*†† God works for His people; His people do not work for God.

*†† Todayís idols are just as worthless & dangerous as in biblical days

*†† The cure for a stiff-necked people is repentance!

 

(Mark 16:11-14 NIV)When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it. {12} Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. {13} These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either. {14} Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.

(2 Chr 7:11-14 NIV)When Solomon had finished the temple of the LORD and the royal palace, and had succeeded in carrying out all he had in mind to do in the temple of the LORD and in his own palace, {12} the LORD appeared to him at night and said: "I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices. {13} "When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, {14} if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

 

(Eph 4:17-23 NIV)So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. {18} They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. {19} Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, with a continual lust for more. {20} You, however, did not come to know Christ that way. {21} Surely you heard of him and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. {22} You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; {23} to be made new in the attitude of your minds;

 

(1 Cor 13 NIV)If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. {2} If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. {3} If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. {4} Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. {5} It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. {6} Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. {7} It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. {8} Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. {9} For we know in part and we prophesy in part, {10} but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. {11} When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. {12} Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. {13} And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

 

In closing, the answer to a stiff neck is Love. Love God, trust God, submit to God, follow God, live a Godly life. Put off the old man and embrace the new man in Christ!