The Future of the Stiff-Necked

   Written by on November 23, 2016 at 10:50 am

logo-hevenerIn Proverbs 29:1, Solomon writes: NecksStubbornness, Consequences OfSelf WillRejection Of God’s CallSudden Destruction

Death Of The WickedConsequences Of ObstinacyProcrastinationThe Insecurity Of The WickedSelf Justification

A man who hardens his neck after much reproof will suddenly be broken beyond remedy.

Literally, stiff-necked means “hard of neck”:    As it is figuratively used, the word means “stubborn,” “hard to be led.” The derivation of the idea was entirely familiar to the Jews, with whom the ox was the most useful and common of domestic animals. It was especially used for such agricultural purposes as harrowing and plowing.
The plow was usually drawn by two oxen. As the plowman required but one hand to guide the plow, he carried in the other an “ox-goad.” This was a light pole, shod with an iron spike. With this he would prick the oxen upon the hind legs to increase their speed, and upon the neck to turn, or to keep a straight course. If an ox was hard to control or stubborn, it was “stiff-necked,” (International Bible Encyclopedia.)

In Acts 6: 8-15, we read that the Jewish leaders were stubborn.  Stephen was accused of blasphemy (insulting God): 8 And Stephen, full of faith[a] and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. 9 Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen, disputing with Stephen. 10 And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke. 11 Then they secretly induced men to say, 13 They also set up false witnesses who said, “This man does not cease to speak blasphemous words against … the law; 14 for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs which Moses delivered to us.” 15 And all who sat in the council, looking steadfastly at him, saw his face as the face of an angel.

Acts 7:51-52 records Stephen’s speech before he was stoned to death: “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did.”Which one of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? They killed those who had previously announced the coming of the Righteous One, whose betrayers and murderers you have now become.

Another example of one being stiff-necked is found in DANIEL 5: 19-21.  King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was stubborn, but was humbled by God.  Whomever he wished he killed and whomever he wished he spared alive; and whomever he wished he elevated and whomever he wished he humbled. …He was deposed from his royal throne and his glory was taken away from him. “He was also driven away from mankind, and his heart was made like that of beasts, and his dwelling place was with the wild donkeys He was given grass to eat like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until he recognized that the Most High God is ruler over the realm of mankind and that He sets over it whomever He wishes.

Stubbornness was also found in the King of Egypt. When Pharaoh refused to let the Israelites, slaves, leave Egypt, God poured out the following plagues:

First Plague: Blood. In the first plague the Lord turned the water of the Nile River into blood. (Exodus 7:14-24).

Second Plague: Frogs. In the next plague the Lord sent frogs throughout the land of Egypt. Moses warned Pharaoh but he hardened his heart against the Lord and would not let God’s people go. (Exodus 8:1-15).

Third Plague: Lice. In the third plague the Lord sent lice, because Pharaoh hardened his heart once again. Pharaoh’s magicians saw this plague and said “This is the finger of God.” four

Fourth plague:  The Lord sent flies. Moses warned Pharaoh, and Pharaoh hardened his heart against the Lord and would not let the people go (Exodus 8:20-32).

Fifth Plague: Disease on Livestock. In the fifth plague God sent a terrible disease on the cattle. Pharaoh was warned again, but he hardened his heart. (Exodus 9:1-7).

Sixth Plague: Boils. In the six plague the Lord sent open sores or boils on the skin. This time the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart. (Exodus 9:8-12).

Seventh Plague: Hail. The next plague the Lord sent a great hail . (Exodus 9:13-35).

Eighth Plague: Locusts. In the eighth plague the Lord sent a miserable plague of locusts. (Exodus 10:1-20).

Ninth Plague: Darkness. The ninth plague was a great darkness throughout the land of Egypt, a darkness which could be felt. The darkness remained in the land for three days. (Exodus 10:21-22).

Tenth Plague:     Now the LORD … said to Moses, “I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. After that, he will let you go ….”  So Moses said, “This is what the LORD says: `About midnight I will go throughout Egypt.  Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the slave girl, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well.  Then Moses… left Pharaoh. (Exodus 11: 1-10.)

Therefore, as Solomon warns, those who are stubborn “will be broken beyond remedy.” Let us heed instruction!

Until next week, may God richly bless you and yours.

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©2016 by Fillmer Hevener

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