Reading the king James version of the bible especially the Old Testament, one of the phrases God always used to describe the children of Israel is “Stiff Necked”.
For instance; Deuteronomy 10:16 says “Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer.”
2nd Kings 17:14 says “But they would not listen and were as stiff-necked as their ancestors, who did not trust in the Lord their God.”
Acts 7:51 says “You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit!”
So what does it mean to be Stiff Necked? it’s is an adjective that describes a person’s character or disposition towards being a thing or doing a thing no matter whether it is temporally or permanently.
Two words stand out in defining Stiff Necked and they are “Stubborn and Haughty”.
It’s a character of wanting to have your way regardless of the consequences because you believe that your views and ways are better and superior to others. It is standing firm on a view point or an issue when the outcome is opposite your expectations and you know it to be so. Forging ahead on a path of destruction(which you know already) and refusing to back down or let or change course because of pride and arrogance.
The fundamental theme of being Stiff Necked is “DISOBEDIENCE” and this is intentional and deliberate disobedience that borders on prideful ignorance and foolishness.
Stiff Necked people are hardly friendly and do not have friends because they are difficult to get along with and they usually believe they know better than everyone. People tend to avoid them because they are hard to please or convince.
Are you Stiff Necked?…Romans 12:3 says “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”
Many are Stiff Necked amongst us today especially concerning our walk/work with God. Either by way of express Words from the Holy Spirit or direct Words from the scriptures(Bible), God has revealed to us time and time again His instructions and directions for our lives and daily living which is pleasing unto Him but we choose another path instead(deliberately most of the times) either because we are already on the wrong path and turning around at His instructions and Will will make us look weak and a failure in the eyes of other men and so arrogantly with pride we cannot admit our errors and short-sightedness and accept His correction or simply because His directives are not convenient and comfortable or In tune with modern and convention means and methods and our adherence to His Will will make us look odd and unacceptable to our world. .. Mark 8:36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?
By now I am sure we already understand that it is not a compliment to be called a Stiff Necked person but rather a derogatory and unsavoury remark and when such a remark is coming from Our Lord, Savour, Redeemer and God, then it should lead us to asking for mercy and embarking on soul-searching repentance.
Let’s see some examples of being Stiff Necked;
In Exodus 32, Moses had just led the Israelites out of bondage(Egypt) and was now on/in the mountains receiving instructions and directions from God. whilst he was there the member persuaded Aaron to build them a Idol(Golden Calf) and they worship it…in verse 7 to 9 of that same chapter 32, God said to Moses “Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’ “I have seen these people,” the Lord said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people.”
They saw God disgrace and humiliate the idols of Egypt by Ten Plagues and witnessed great deliverance. For what purpose? That they would serve God and God alone. The directives and instructions were clear but because they were familiar and comfortable with Egyptian gods and it’s worship was convenient(something they could see), they quickly built one.
Jeremiah17: 22-23 says “Do not bring a load out of your houses or do any work on the Sabbath, but keep the Sabbath day holy, as I commanded your ancestors. Yet they did not listen or pay attention; they were stiff-necked and would not listen or respond to discipline.”.
Are you Stiff Necked?
Are you Obstinate?
Do you always insist on only your way or NO WAY?
Are you extending this character to God and His Will and Word?
So we now understand what it means to be Stiff Necked, in Part B will discuss God’s response to being Stiff Necked with an interesting character in the Bible who was not an Israelite..
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