Are You Stiffnecked?
(Deuteronomy 9:4) Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the LORD thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee. (Deuteronomy 9:6) Understand therefore, that the LORD thy God giveth thee not this good land to possess it for thy righteousness; for thou art a stiffnecked people.
As I reflect on the blessings of a New Year I’m reminded of a passage of scripture that I read not too long ago. Our scripture text is found where the children of Israel had been wandering in the wilderness for almost 40 years. Moses is letting them know that soon they would be crossing over into the Promised Land. As we are now well into the New Year I reflect on this text. We are blessed not because we are so good or so deserving. In our scripture text Moses reminds the Children of Israel that they are not going to inherit the promised land on the merit of their righteousness. He points to the fact that God is driving them out because they are so wicked. In other words, they weren’t exactly saints themselves they just were not as wicked as the current inhabitants of the land.
I’m often reminded of the Apostle Paul and often quote him as he said (Rom 7:18) For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. (Rom 7:19) For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Today I got into a minor car accident thankfully no one was injured. The Police Officer noted that I had not been cited for any accidents since 1998. I’m a very cautious driver and try my best to avoid accidents by taking my time and being cautious. I do plan on fighting the citation because I don’t believe I was at fault. That being said I still find myself in the situation that I’m in. You may be in situation no fault of your own just in it.
All of us receive daily a measure of Grace and Mercy none of us are so good or so righteous we all sin we all have issues. As Pastor John Walthall said the first Sunday of this year you may not do a lot of sinful things but if folks could just read your mind boy would they be surprised. I’m thankful everyday things are as well as they are. I also strive every day to be a better person. Some days are better than others. Some days I miss the mark however God’s Grace awaits me and he’s there to pick me up whenever I fall. All of us need to do a better job looking inward instead of outward because none of us have it all together. I truly believe that a lot of church folk today are just like the Children of Israel they are stiffnecked people. Always looking down on others even fellow believers in Christ.
I’m reminded of a story shared to me by a pastor friend of mine who did a lot of outreach involving local area prostitutes. One Sunday some of them came to church and were not very well received because of the way they were dressed. One of the deacons made a comment to which one of the prostitutes responded that he did not have a problem with the way she dressed the night before when they were together. The Battered, The Broken, and The Bruised should always be welcome in the House of Prayer. As I stated none of us have it all together and the same measure of Grace that God daily gives to us we should extend that same measure of Grace and even more to those who need it the most. Be Encouraged and Blessed Minister Mike.