Stiff-necked

This morning I awoke and I had a really stiff neck. I tried to rise off my pillow, but it really hurt. For about a half hour all I could do was stare ahead because my neck would not allow me to see any further. Being stiff-necked was very limiting. Well, I slowly eased out of bed and as I moved around a bit, I was finally able to move with ease only feeling some pain as I moved to an extreme position quickly. I got the dogs collars on them and we went to the trail to run.

Korah leads the rebellion against Moses

This morning the Bible reading at breakfast was from Numbers 16:1-40.  Korah, Dathan and Abiram gathered 250 other prominent leaders of Israel when they were in the wilderness to rebel against Moses and Aaron. They wanted to be priests and enter the Holy of Holies. They didn’t want to follow the Lord’s instructions as set down by God through Moses. They went to Moses and Aaron and said, “You have gone to far! Everyone in Israel has been set apart by the Lord, and He is with all of us. What right do you have to act as though you are greater than anyone else among all these people of the Lord?”

I knew they were in trouble when Moses threw himself face forward to the ground, “Tomorrow morning the Lord will show us who belongs to Him and who is holy. The Lord will allow those who are chosen to enter His holy presence…You Levites are the ones who have gone to far!” They certainly were a stiff-necked people. They had seen miracle after miracle. How did they forget? How did they not know who was in charge? Indeed the pillar of fire was with them through the night and the pillar of smoke through the day, every day. They had seen the glory of the Lord before as they stood at the base of Sinai. It filled them with such fear that they told Moses to talk with God alone and get the message for them. (Exodus 20:18-20) Now they were begging to go into His presence.

My stiff neck this morning did not allow me to look to the left or to the right. I couldn’t do anything until I slowly got released from its grip. Thankfully, I was able to do so. The 250 rebellious leaders got released from their stiff necks, also, through an earthquake and fire. The rest of the people watched the destruction of those in rebellion and still mustered up a larger protest in the community the very next morning. 14,700 people had to die in a plague before the Lord got their attention. Once He had their attention He was able to speak through Moses through the miracle of the almond-sprouted staff of Aaron found in Numbers 17.

This morning’s stiff neck hurt me physically, but it’s the spiritual stiff neck that can really do me and those around me damage. Today I’m asking God if there is anything that He is/has been trying to get across to me that I just won’t see? Is there an attitude or error in perspective or rebellion that is keeping me from looking to the left?  from looking to the right? Today I can go right into the Holy of Holies. Jesus did that for me through His death on the cross. I can talk right to God without fear. I will.

At the throne of grace,

Dawn

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4 comments on “Stiff-necked

  1. Dawn, those are such hard questions to ask of the Lord, and might I say even daring and brave. I say that, mainly because I know those ARE the kind of questions He loves to answer. I hate to admit that there have been more times than I can count that I have been stiff-necked. And does it not all root itself in pride? I learned very early in life to “buck up”, to not show emotions, to not ask for help, to be self-sufficient, self-reliant, etc. (Lots of self in there.) Some of this can be good, but when it gets to where we can’t even turn our necks to see others, to see the right way — the way God has chosen — to to bow our necks and heads in worship and humility, then we are in trouble with our prideful hearts. I had to chuckle a little as I began reading your post. I get stiff necks, too. And those verses from the Old Testament always come ringing in my ears, “Oh ye stiff-necked people. . . .” It is a reminder to do a self-check. Thank you!

  2. Dear Cora,

    When I read this story in Numbers and then the one of the plague after it, I was so upset. I wanted to say, “That’s not the God I know.” Then I watched a You Tube video from Ann Voskamp’s blog that really spoke to me on this issue of trying to make God who I want Him to be.

    The group of believers I have the privilege of knowing through the internet is so invigorating. Cora, you bless me far more than you’ll ever know. Your response to my post today was so very helpful.

    Enjoy the rest of your day of rest,
    Dawn

  3. I was reading Psalm 91…He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
    and farther down… He shall hide thee… thou shalt not be afraid…
    and then…A thousand shall fall at thy side and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee!
    Because thou hast made the LORD, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation…
    Sometimes God limits our side vision to keep us focused on Him. Sometimes though A thousand may fall on our left and ten thousand on our right He knows that if we take our eyes off Him we might fear, or become too confident in self and hold on to a bit of arrogant pride, so he keeps our vision on Him alone, who is our refuge… a stiff neck in this case keeps us looking in humbleness to the author and finisher of our faith… and keeps our vision off what might make us fall…
    I like what you all wrote and agree with you … just thought this was a different angle

    you all make my day much sweeter

  4. Dear Susan,

    I must get this off to you before I shut down for the night. I might lose my “train” of thought if I don’t. In Numbers there were thousands that fell, but Moses told the people before it happened, “Don’t go near here or don’t touch this or that. If you obey the Lord your God you will be spared.” Yes, they had to have the kind of stiff-necks you talk about here. They had to remain focused on God. Interesting thought, that one…having a stiff neck being a situation in which we’d be unable to view that which might make us fall.

    Good one!
    Dawn

    PS I love Psalm 91 “the secret place of the Most High”

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