Don’t Want to Be…..

Stiff-necked.

God describes the Israelites as “stiff-necked” people in Jeremiah 17.  He adds –

  • they do not listen.
  • they do not pay attention.
  • they don’t respond to discipline.

God is obviously not happy with them

I know God is saying that the Israelites are stubborn when he says “stiff-necked”.

As I’m reading this, I started to think about my own neck.  I have compressed disks in my neck so it’s always a little painful and will quickly become very painful and stiff if I do something to aggravate it.

When my neck is stiff, I find that I don’t turn my head very far to the left or right.  My sight becomes limited to what’s right in front of me.  I don’t see a lot of things around me and have a very small view of the world.  As a result, I probably don’t make as good of choices as I would if I was looking around, taking in more information and seeing a more complete picture.

When my neck is stiff, I am also in pain so my patience is short and I’m on edge.  It’s hard to focus and my frustration can quickly show.

All of these are negative things.  So I think God is not just calling the Israelites stubborn, he is also including all of these other issues that are part of having a ‘stiff-neck’.

No wonder God isn’t happy with them!

Please help me avoid all of the bad behaviors of having a ‘stiff neck’, Abba Father.

 

He Gives Unity

“The hand of God was on the people to give them unity of mind.”July 4 he gives unity 2015

Unity comes from God.

When we are all well-connected to God, we can hear his directions for us.  He gives us insight and understanding.

When we are not well-connected, our own desires often cause disunity.  When we put what we want in front of  Jesus’ desire for us to be ‘one’, we can create dissension.  We can become stubborn – the Bible often describes people like this as hard-hearted.   When we are focused on ourselves rather than submitting to God, we can become the problem, not the solution.

One way we often show disunity is by being critical of our spiritual leaders.  God calls us to encourage and support the leaders he has put in place.  He gives us the wisdom we need to do this when we are well-connected with him.

When we are feeling critical and dissatisfied with our church leadership, it indicates that we need to spend more time in prayer and meditation on God’s word.

Because God gives unity.

Thank you, Abba Father.

A Hardened Heart

We’re not listening.Jan 23 2015  ahardened heart a Jan 23 2015 a hardened heart b Jan 23 2015 c ahardened heart

We’re focused on doing our own thing.

We’re stubborn.

We want to control what’s going on.

We think we know what’s best.

Sometimes God will throw up a roadblock when we’re doing these things in order to get our attention and turn us in a different direction.

Other times, God just lets us follow our natural inclinations.  He knows we will have consequences to pay for the bad decisions we’re making and, hopefully, we’ll turn to him in our distress.  Hopefully we’ll ask for his wisdom and we’ll learn to become wise through the trials we are bringing upon ourselves.

Sometimes, God lets us do just what we want to do without trying to stop us.

That’s what he did in Moses’ epic showdown with Pharoah.  God let Pharoah follow his natural, stubborn, evil, greedy, self-centered inclinations.  God hardened Pharoah’s heart – he didn’t do anything to change Pharoah’s mind or open his eyes to the truth.

God let Pharoah do what he wanted to do and it led to the death of Pharoah’s firstborn son and destruction of his army.

When our ears are not open to the whispers of God, our hearts are hard.  Beware!

When we’re focused on getting what we want, when we want it – our hearts are hard.  We are on a path of heartbreak and destruction.

But our Father God is always near.  We just need to turn to him, confess our rebellion and get in step with him once again.

His grace is sufficient for us.

Thank you, Abba Father.