Help for that Stiff Neck

Genesis 15:6, (NRSV)
And he believed the Lord; and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness.

Oh, My Stiff Neck

Got some time? Grab your Bible and turn to Nehemiah 9. The remnant of Israel, fresh from captivity in Persia, communally confesses to God:

“In all that has happened to us, You have been just; You have acted faithfully, while we did wrong.”
Nehemiah 9:33

Go ahead. Read through the history of God and His people.  

Done? Good. How many displays of God’s loving kindness did you count? How many times after times did God deliver them? How swiftly did they forget God’s goodness? How quickly did Israel’s collective neck become stiff?

How stiff is your neck?

Mine can be pretty rigid. And in its prideful stubbornness, egged on by my uncircumcised heart and ears, I easily disregard the innumerable times God has kept His covenant of love with me.

But it’s not entirely my fault that my neck can be stiff, my heart and ears uncircumcised. After all, I inherited this obstinate pride and refusal to listen.  

Like all humans, I was born in original sin. In the first display of forgetting God’s kindness, Adam and Eve, surrounded by the God-given delights of Eden, “trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food,”{Genesis 2:9} gave into temptation, and plunged humanity, including me, into a separation from God.

I forget God’s loving kindness. When God tells me not to be afraid, that He is my shield, my very great reward, just like Abram, I doubt His sovereignty.  

My neck stiffening with every word, I question Him: “But, God, the problem is still unresolved. You haven’t given me the solution.”  

My heart trapped in rebellion, my ears refusing to listen, my neck stiff as a board. I am dead in my sin and in the uncircumcision of my sinful nature.  

God is righteous and abounding in love.  He reminds me of all the times He, and only He, has brought me through all that has happened to me. He leads me to His creation and urges me to bend my neck skyward.  

Unlike Abram, I don’t see the stars. I see the cross.

I watch as God takes my sin that stands always against me, always opposed to me, forever separating me from His loving kindness. He takes it away, nailing it to the cross.

“In him, you were also circumcised, in putting off the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.”
Colossians 2:11-12 

In all that has happened to me, You have been just; You have acted faithfully, while I did wrong. I stand up and praise You, O Sovereign Lord, who is from everlasting to everlasting. Amen. 

See You In The Round,