A Nugget from New Life Network
Scripture for the Day (September 11, 2017)
Now be ye not stiffnecked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves unto the Lord, and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified for ever: and serve the Lord your God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you. (2 Chronicles 30:8)
If you study the Exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt you will see numerous times where God himself called the people of Israel a “stiffnecked” people. There were times when God became so disgusted with them that He wanted to wipe them out and start over. But because of the prayers of Moses, who interceded for them (just like Jesus does for us today), God relented and let them live. In fact, if it had not been for Moses turning aside to see the burning bush, and listening to God, the people of Israel may still be slaves in Egypt.
It’s real easy to look at some of these stories in hindsight and be critical of the people of Israel. But, before we go too far down that road, we need to look at ourselves. These scriptures are given to us for our benefit and our instruction. We may not be building golden calf images to worship, but then again, we may be doing some things far worse.
God wanted to free the people of Israel out of Egyptian slavery and take them into a Promised Land flowing with milk and honey. It was a fight all the way! In fact, it was such a fight that only two of the original leaders (Joshua and Caleb), including all the ones that were under twenty years of age at the time they left Egypt, actually entered the Promised Land. All the rest did not enter because of their grumbling, complaining, and disobedience. Even Moses and Aaron could not enter because of their disobedience. I felt sorry for Moses at first but he later showed up on the Mount of Transfiguration with Jesus so God took good care of Moses.
Now, you may ask how does this apply to us today? Glad you asked. Do you remember who the first Christian martyr was? It was Stephen, a man full of faith and power that did great wonders and miracles among the people (Acts 6:8). Stephen was called before the religious council and was falsely accused of blasphemy. Stephen preached a lengthy sermon to the council which was a historical account from Abraham to Moses to the Exodus.
One of the last things Stephen said in his sermon was this, “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted?” That did not go over very well with these religious elites. In fact, they stoned Stephen to death.
This is the only time the word stiffnecked appears in the New Testament but that does not mean it is not any less important. It’s almost like we have never learned our lesson after thousands of years of God trying to lead us all into a Promised Land. The people of Israel rejected God’s leadership coming out of Egypt and murmured at, and rebelled against Moses and God the entire way; the religious leaders then rejected the leadership of Jesus (the Son of God) who is the chief cornerstone; and now many of our largest Christian churches and leaders resist the leadership of the Holy Ghost and label the works and gifts of the Spirit as works of the enemy.
We heard these same type accusations about Jesus before He was crucified. Are we not going down the same road all over again? Are we stiffnecked also?
Let me leave you with this. God is God; Jesus is God; and the Holy Ghost is God! This is our last chance to get it right. If you have the least little tinge of a problem with the statement that the Holy Ghost is God then you need to turn aside and re-examine your Bible. There is no place for a current-day Christian to be stiffnecked. We need to turn aside and listen to God, just like Moses did at the burning bush. Read what the Word of God says about the Holy Ghost. Do not rely on someone else to tell you what God wants to tell you personally. Read it for yourself!!! The Holy Ghost wants to talk to us!!! He wants to lead and guide us but we have to be open to that leadership and open to His ways. We cannot afford to be stiffnecked!