Ever dealt with someone stubborn?
I mean really stubborn, as in talking-to-a-brick-wall stubborn?
I’ve heard some folks describing themselves this way, as if it were something to brag about.
Or at least God never uses it that way. In fact, sometimes it’s translated with a word that creates an interesting image:
And the LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people” (Exodus 32:9).
“Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; but I will not go up among you, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people” (Exodus 33:3).
And then Stephen used it here to describe his audience:
“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you” (Acts 7:51).
“Stiff-necked” reflects a beast of burden who’s refusing to lower its head to receive the yoke . . . the animal is stubborn, unyielding.
The image applies to us human beings as well.
It’s someone who is obstinate, unwilling to budge, unsubmissive.
Someone who won’t admit he’s wrong, who won’t say she’s sorry, who refuses to follow anyone’s guidance.
You don’t need to go far to find someone who epitomizes this trait, of course. The unpleasant attitude usually makes quite an impression.
But, like most things, the place to look for it isn’t at work or school, or at home in our spouses or kids.
There’s a bit of stiff-necked-ness in all of us, isn’t there?
Do you ever tell your spouse you were wrong?
Did you admit to your children that it was sinful yesterday when you lost your temper with them?
When deciding between God’s way and your way, do you always lower your head and submit to his yoke?
Unfortunately, stiff necks didn’t only exist in Bible times. There’s a stubborn streak in most of us.
Today—in your devotional time—talk to the Lord about it.
Ask him to help you see your struggles in submitting. Ask him to shine his light on that area of your life that you’re stubbornly keeping from him.
And then ask him to give you a submissive spirit . . . one that humbly lowers the neck to receive his yoke.