“I have seen these people,” the LORD said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people” (Exodus 32:9).

Stiff-necked people.

That’s not a compliment. 

Here are some synonyms: obstinate, stubborn, willful, rebellious, wayward, defiant, unruly, ornery, pigheaded. When Stephen preached in Acts 7, he called the Jewish leaders “stiff=necked, uncircumcised in heart and ears” (v. 51). 

Again, not a compliment.

When the Lord promised judgment on Jerusalem, he said it was coming because “they were stiff-necked and would not listen to my words” (Jeremiah 19:10).

They had an attitude problem.

Pride keeps us from hearing what God is saying. Pride makes our necks stiff. 

What are the marks of stiff-necked people?

1. Certainty that you are right.
2. Refusal to listen to anyone else.
3. Defensive when criticized.
4. Making excuses for your shortcomings.
5. Lashing out at others.
6. No desire to examine your own life.
7. Repeated pattern of misbehavior.
8. Prayer without repentance.

This can happen to any of us when we become hardened in our ways and so certain of ourselves that no one can reach us. We don’t realize what has happened until judgment comes. 

O Lord, break down the stiff-necked spirit within us. Break us, soften us, cleanse us, renew us. Make us ready to hear your Word. Amen. 

You can reach the author at ray@keepbelieving.com. Click here to sign up for the free weekly email sermon.