Monday, March 10, 2014

A Stiffnecked Horse and a Stiffnecked People

O. T. #245 
"A Stiffnecked Horse and a Stiffnecked People"
March 10, 2014
Exodus 32-Part 2
And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and , behold, it is a stiffnecked people.
Exodus 32:9


Since I have a senior's memory, humor me. I vaguely recall riding our horse with my brother, one day on the farm, when I was a child. It went into the blackberry patch, which has thorns. The horse refused to turn around, due to its getting stuck. The stubborn, stiffnecked horse wouldn't do anything. We had to get off of the horse, turn it with the reins, and walk it out of the sticker mess. If it had not turned, it would still be standing there, in the midst of the sticky, painful mess. (Well, maybe not. It would be over 50 years old and dead.) So it is with me, when I am too stubborn to turn to God in repentance.

As a review: The leader of Israel, Moses, was up on Mt. Sinai getting the law and instructions for the Tabernacle from God for 40 days. They didn't know what happened to the fellow who brought them out of Egypt. Maybe he had died. So while Moses was gone, the people went to Aaron. They wanted him to make gods for them. Well, Aaron didn't stand up against them. He made a golden calf and an altar for them to worship after all that God had done for them. Of all things, they also brought burnt and peace offerings to the LORD.

Meanwhile, down below the mountain, back at camp, the people were sinning. Their impatience led to unbelief, which led to idolatry, which led to immorality. (Rom. 1:18-31)

God knew what was going on below, of course. He told Moses to go down for the people had  corrupted themselves. Corrupted means to decay; destroy; perish.

If left alone, our soul will decay and perish, for it is corrupt with sin. We are sinners, in need of a Savior. Jesus came to redeem our corrupt soul. Has He redeemed you?

Oh my, the Lord was angry, and justifiably so. This people, His chosen people, Moses' people had forsaken the One True God.

Israel is viewed here as Moses' responsibility since he was the mediator of the covenant. (Falwell)

What happened?
  • God was offering to kill the Israelites, as He did twice during Moses' life.
  • God called His people a stiffnecked people, which refers to the nape; the back of the neck. 
  • The term comes from a horse or ox that refuses to be turned by the reins.
  • He offered to use Moses to raise up another new nation (verse 10; Num. 14:12).
How did Moses react?
  • Moses refused the offer. These were his brothers and sisters and his children.
  • The Jews never realized what a price their leader Moses paid, and with little appreciation.
  • Here is God's servant interceding for a sinful people, as Jesus does for us.
  • Moses called Israel God's people. He reminded God that His name, character, and power would be called in question by the heathen if they wee to consume Israel.
  • He reminded God of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Israel (Jacob) in verse 13. God promised to give their family the Promised Land to inherit forever. Was God going to go back on His promise?
  • Moses stood between the nation and their angry God.

Romans 8:27 NIV states: And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

Romans 8:34 says, Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died-more than that, who was raised to life-is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

Are we a stiffnecked people who refuses to turn from our sins and back to God? How about our nation? We have idolatry, false religions, cults, adultery, homosexuality, immorality running ramped. What do we do? Are we praying for our family? Our neighbors? Our friends?


Verses 1-14 occurred before Moses went down off the mountain. A nation's future hung in the valence.
Verse 14 reads: And the LORD repented of the evil which He thought to do unto His people.

Liberty Bible Commentary explains:
And the LORD repented of the evil. This is an anthropomorphic expression (a description of God using human terminology), to indicate a change in His previously announced plans, due in the case to the intercession of Moses on Israel's behalf. In other cases, when men change their actions, God may change His (John 3:10).
God forgave Israel's sins. His grace is so evident. They got what they did not deserve.
We are in the same boat. We are sinners in need of the grace of God.


Turn from my sins by confessing  them and asking God's forgiveness.

Do not be stiffnecked; go where He leads.

Pray for others to have a tender heart and repentance.

Pray for God's grace. 

Don't corrupt my mind with the things of this world.

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