Have you ever had a stiff neck? You wake-up and immediately you know that you’ve slept wrong. Your stiff neck seems to incapacitate the rest of your body, too. It is beyond annoying or inconvenient. And it is sometimes even dangerous.
Have you ever had a spiritually stiff neck? Perhaps you’ve had one for so long that you aren’t even aware that you should feel any other way. Or perhaps you think that having a stiff neck is what being a Christian is all about. You know, being steadfast.
I began thinking of my own stiff neck when I was studying through Nehemiah for a sermon. The more I considered the texts I had come across, the more concerned I was about the spiritual health of my neck. I’m going to share with you what I discovered about the dangerous condition of having a spiritually stiff neck.
Deuteronomy 10 beautifully illustrates how merciful God is toward us, as it records that He re-established His covenant with Israel after their failure at Sinai. A little over half-way through the chapter God advised them how to ensure that they didn’t fall again.
Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer. (Deut. 10:16)
I’m not sure if this is the first place that God describes His people as stiff-necked, but it is a wonderfully clarifying text for anyone who even remotely thinks that he/she can be saved by what they do.
All these centuries later, we often smugly cross our arms at this text and nod our heads. “That’s right,” we say. “You tell them how is it God. They need to get their act together.” And as we stand there in our spiritual arrogance, we fail to notice that these word were spoken to God’s people. That would be us today. Eye opening, isn’t it?