Friday, March 9
Scripture: Deuteronomy 10-12, Mark 16
Deuteronomy 10:16 Therefore, circumcise your hearts and don’t be stiff-necked any longer.
Circumcise your hearts. They were physically circumcised; the sign of covenant was in their flesh, but not in their spirits, their hearts. They were outwardly conformed but not inwardly transformed. This is a reminder that there is a big difference between being outwardly religious and being transformed in the heart!
Don’t be stiff-necked any longer. This jumped out at me. I discovered it is an idiom based on a farm animal stiffening its neck to refuse the yoke. It is a graphic picture of a proud, stubborn refusal to submit and obey. Israel was often described as “a stiff-necked people.” (Exodus 32:9, 33:3, 33:5, 34:9; 2 Chronicles 30:8, 36:13; Nehemiah 9:16–29; Proverbs 29:1; Jerermiah 7:26, 17:23, 19:15)
This made me wonder how often I am stiff-necked. Are there times when I stubbornly refuse to obey? What about the times I refuse to admit that I’m wrong, and instead of softening and owning up, I stiffen and defend myself. There is a big difference between a stiff-necked person and a soft-hearted one.
I also thought about Jesus’ wonderful words:
Matthew 11:28–30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Prayer: Lord, give me a soft heart, not a stiff neck!