“Go 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)
The Lord is talking to Moses; the people are stubborn and rebellious and God said He would not go with them because of His anger toward them. If anything, this passage shows how God feels when His people rebel against Him. Thank the Lord for His mercy and grace; thank the Lord for the blood of Jesus!
What an interesting term “stiff-necked” is. The Hebrew word actually is like a farming term, a term used when a farmer attempts to put a yoke on an animal and he won’t turn his head in compliance—he holds his head stiff and resists the yoke. It’s easy to see why the Lord called the children of Israel “stiff-necked.” It’s also easy to see how we could be called the same thing.
An interesting verse ties in with this reference to a “stiff-necked” people found in Matthew 11:28-30 . . . “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” But yet this verse is referring to rest and associating it with the yoke.
The children of Israel resisted the yoke of God’s authority. Jesus tells us in Matthew 11 if we will take His yoke upon us that we will find rest, that His yoke is easy and burden light. In other words, if we accept the yoke of God’s authority, we will find rest.
Have you ever noticed when you are struggling with frustration and disappointments and disillusionment in life, the very fact that you are struggling is a sign that the yoke of God’s authority is being resisted? Yet, when God is in His rightful place in your life, the yoke of His authority brings peace and things seem to flow much easier—have you ever noticed this?
Jesus invites us to take on His yoke, to allow Him to place it on us without a struggle and without being “stiff-necked,” and we will find we have rest for our souls and His yoke is easy and His burden is light.
Obedience is the remedy for a stiff neck. When mingled with humility, the stiff neck soon becomes compliant and easily submits to the yoke of God’s authority.
God’s authority—the authority of His Word is the yoke which brings ease and rest to our lives. Lay your burden down; stop struggling with life’s problems and let your obedience to God’s authority produce in you the peace that passes all understanding!
Lord, forgive me. Change my heart and show me how I can submit to Your authority. Father, I long for the rest, the light burden, the easy yoke Jesus spoke of in Matthew. Help me to apply Your authority in my life every place and in every area I have appeared to have a stiff neck. Help me, through obedience and humility, become compliant and submissive to Your will in order for Your peace that passes all understanding to be produced in me. Show me Your ways, teach me Your will, and help me to obey with a grateful and joyful heart. In Jesus’ name, amen.
“The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14)
© Jan Ross
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Today’s Devotion is based on a verse that describes our youngest grandson. After you read the devotion, you’ll understand more.
Ethan is the cutest little almost-11-month-old guy you’ll ever see (I’m not biased … I’m Nana). But as cute as he is, he is also about as stubborn as a child can possibly be. He is determined to challenge authority by demanding to do things his own way. There are certain things he does that, no matter how many times he’s corrected, he refuses to listen and insists on continuing to do things his own way. Of course, when his disobedience is corrected, he stomps his feet and lets us know he’s offended by rules, regulations, and boundaries.
He is so typical of many of us, me included! While we like to think we’re not stubborn or “stiff-necked” as described on Today’s Devotion, the fact is that many of us are, so much that our little Ethan looks like an angel in comparison!
Pray for Dana (Ethan’s Mommy) and for Nana and Papa (Ron and me) as we continue to teach this precious little guy how to conform to the authority over him. And then, pray for all of us that we will all more fully submit to the Authority of the Will and Word of God without throwing our little tantrums when we get caught or stopped in the middle of doing something we know we shouldn’t be doing!
Isn’t it funny how children teach us so many valuable lessons?