Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
- Picketing funerals,
- Burning holy books of other faiths,
- Gloating over natural disasters,
- Squabbling about evolution vs. Creationism,
- Condemning gay marriage,
- Judging the poor and/or unemployed as unworthy.
Monday, November 7, 2011
God calls His people, the Israelites, stiff-necked. A lot:
Exodus 32:9, Exodus 33:3, Exodus 33:5, Exodus 34:9, Deuteronomy 9:6, Deuteronomy 9:13, Deuteronomy 10:16, Deuteronomy 31:27, 2 Kings 17:14, 2 Chronicles 30:8
Remember, these are HIS people, the ones with which He made a covenant. He loves them. He continually accuses them of being stiff-necked, and each time He threatens to obliterate them (!) but Moses calms him down, and He doesn’t.
“I have seen these people,” the LORD said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people. Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.” Exodus 32:9
Go up to up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.” Exodus 33:3
Yeah. I’d keep my distance.
(I picture him as Ralph Kramden here, saying “Why, I oughta…” I hope that’s not too blasphemous.) But somehow, in spite of their constant disobedience, The people of Israel manage to not to get hit by lightning.
That had a lot to do with one person, Moses, constantly speaking on their behalf: “… Although this is a stiff-necked people, forgive our wickedness and our sin, and take us as your inheritance.” Exodus 34:9
So how does this relate to us today? Are we a stiff-necked people?
Stiff-necked mean obstinate.
Merriam-Webster says stiff-necked is “haughty” or “stubborn,” and stubborn, in turn, is defined as
(1) unreasonably or perversely unyielding or (2) justifiably unyielding.
We see stubbornness as a good quality... a sign of strength! A person with strong convictions is better than one who “waffles."
But God doesn’t see it that way:
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5.
Meek and obstinate are antonyms. (If you’ve forgotten your grammar, that means they’re opposites.) God prefers us to be meek. Meek doesn’t mean wimpy or cowardly, but it does mean gentle, patient, and kind. He doesn’t want us to hold obstinately to our opinions, so much that we refuse to consider others… even God’s!
So what we admire – stubbornness – is what God hates. I think we can become so stubborn – so sure of ourselves – that we refuse to listen to anyone or anything that we don’t already feel comfortable with. We sort of go through life with our fingers in our ears, saying “not listening!” But guess what; it might be God who's trying to talk to us. Only perfect people don't need to listen to new ideas. And last time I checked, nobody's perfect but God.
Don’t be stiff-necked. If you want to please God, be more like Moses. Talk to God. Ask him to help you be meek. And while you’re at it, pray for the stiff-necked people around you.
Peace, Love, Patience