Friday, March 9

Stiff-necked

Scripture: Deuteronomy 10-12, Mark 16

Deuteronomy 10:16 Therefore, circumcise your hearts and don’t be stiff-necked any longer.

Observation

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)

Application

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!