Hard Hearts and Stiff Necks

Day 75

Prayer for the day

Return, O LORD; how long will you tarry? be gracious to your servants.

Scripture for the day

Deuteronomy 30-31, Mark 15:1-25

It’s seems a common refrain in the scriptures. God and Moses constantly call the people of Israel stiff-necked and hard-hearted. It’s a well-deserved reputation, unfortunately. The story of Israel is the story of a people constantly turning to God, and then turning away from God. They turn to God, they turn away from God. The story is so easy to predict that it seems ridiculous each time they repeat the cycle.

Throughout the scriptures and throughout history, the twin attributes of hardened hearts and stiffened necks will typify people’s response to the God who created and loves. It happens in our Second Testament story today, as we see the people of Jerusalem screaming their vitriol against the Christ who so recently was hailed as the coming Messiah, the king who comes in the name of the Lord. They, like we do, scream over and over for his blood. They call for his death. They see in him the threat to their security, their lifestyle, their way of treating one another and relating to their God at arms length. In Christ, they see danger and they call for his death to minimize the danger to themselves. Their hard hearts and stiff necks can’t allow something so radically good, so incredible.

We follow in their footsteps every day. We seek out the worst. We refuse to allow God to calm our hearts and to all our necks to bend to God’s will. We regularly deny the power and goodness of God in our lives and we seek our best without consulting the God who created us and created our best. Once we move beyond our hard hearts and our stiff necks we see the glory of the God who cares, and we can be blown away.

Let’s open our hearts, bend our necks, and submit to the God who is desperate to bless us.

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