Ex. 32:9


“I have seen these people, and they are a stiff-necked people.”


A couple of Sundays ago a friend of mine showed up at choir practice looking a bit strange.  He sat straight up in his seat while we were singing and never turned his head.  In fact, if he wanted to look at you he had to turn his whole body.  He had, what the people back in Missouri called, a “crick in his neck”. 


Has that ever happened to you?  If so, you know how debilitating it is.  You don’t want to move, because every time you do IT HURTS.  If you pick something up IT HURTS.  If you laugh IT HURTS.  Thinking about moving HURTS!  You get the picture.  Now think about how it would be if everybody had that problem at the same time; everyone looking straight ahead, unable to turn, unable to see what is around them or behind them.  It makes me think of how, nineteen times in the Old Testament, God describes Israel as being a “stiff-necked people”.  Of course, God wasn’t really talking about muscle cramps, He was talking about spiritual cramps.  And it seems that the whole nation had the same problem at the same time.  Clearly, theirs was a condition of the heart, not a condition of muscle and bone.  But in either case, it makes people unable or unwilling to be turned and unable or unwilling to see the whole picture.  It puts them an uncomfortable, inflexible, and unfruitful condition.  


In Deut. 10:16 God describes the cure, He says: “Circumcise your hearts, and do not be stiff-necked any longer.”    Wow, that sounds like some serious scary surgery.  But fortunately, Paul gives us some help understanding what God means by “circumcise your hearts” when he writes in Romans 2:29 that real circumcision “is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit.”   The spiritual cramps that God’s people get from time to time also has a spiritual cure – and the Holy Spirit is the Healer. 


Listen, if you get a spiritual “crick” you can call on God to help you work it out.  He is always available and the Holy Spirit even makes house calls. 


Pastor Keith Andrews