Ex 33:3 “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.”
God is speaking to Moses on the tail of giving him the Ten Commandments written by His own hand carved in stone tablets. Ex 31:18 “The two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.”
If you remember the account of what happened in Moses’ absence, the people of Israel rose up and went to Aaron complaining. “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”
So Aaron mad them a god of their gold rings, they worshiped it and fell into idolatrous revelry.
Do you see yourself anywhere in this narrative in Ex 33?
There are often times when my commitment to follow Jesus gets overshadowed by wanting to follow my own path, my own solution, which may take human effort, even skill but no faith whatsoever.
In Ex. 19:8 “All the people answered together and said, ‘All that the Lord has spoke we will do.’” The people were committed but by Exodus 33 they were haranguing Aaron to make them idols.
Can you identify with the Israelites and me?
Also – God calls the Israelites a stiff-necked people.
Do you have a pattern of sin that keeps dragging you down?
Do you give up too easily resisting the temptation to:
Overeat Over spend Worry Be angry
Be bitter Be unforgiving Gossip Exaggerate
Be proud Be lazy?
Is our resistance to full surrender stronger than our resistance to temptation? I’m ashamed to say – for me – too often that is true. I would think that resistance is what characterized being a stiff-necked person.
Reading the Old Testament, it is so easy to skim through the “stories” and think how foolish the Israelites were, but if we examine their humanness we may begin to see our own reflection.
Diane Hunt is part of the Development and Addiction Recovery teams at America’s Keswick. In addition to being a Biblical Counselor, she is a Women’s speaker for retreats, conferences and events. She is a regular writer for Victory Call and one of the authors of Crossing the Jordan Bible Study. She has been married to her husband John over 28 years. She has 2 adult children, 3 grandchildren, 3 adult step-children with 7 grandchildren making 10 in all. She delights reading and teaching, but mostly laughing at the funny things her grandchildren say and do.