Closed Eyes, Closed Ears, and a Stiff Neck

One of the wisest men who ever lived, King Solomon, through inspiration, wrote in Proverbs 15:21, “Folly is a joy to him who lacks sense, but a man of understanding walks up tightly.” We are not to be people who lack sense, or in other words choose to ignore the truth, but rather be ones that seek to understand how we are to conduct ourselves. However, whether it’s out in the world or in the Lord’s body, there are always those who have the truth laid out in front of them, and they still serve only what they think is best for them. We have to be very careful because we all can fall into the same trap that these people do. God has continuously called for His creation to hear and obey Him. However, man has continued to only turn his head away, refuse to hear the truth, and chase after his own selfish desires.
When reading through the prophets, especially Isaiah and Jeremiah, an underlying theme continues to show up of God wishing for a better relationship with His people. Jeremiah 7:23-24, 26 summarizes this theme saying, “But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people. And walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well with you.’ Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but followed the counsels and the dictates of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward … Yet they did not obey Me or incline their ear but stiffened their neck. They did worse than their fathers.” There would have been peace and the Israelites would not have had to face captivity if they would have heeded truth. God would have continued to bless them in the land, but the people still refused to listen. This was not only an Old Testament issue. Matthew 23:37 records Jesus crying out, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” For hundreds of years, God pleaded for His people to listen, but they continued to choose to ignore Him!
What about us today? God still continues to reach out to us. Do we listen to what God has told us, or are we stiffening our necks, closing our ears, and turning away from the truth? Have we responded to, and likewise teach, what Jesus said in John 3:5, “Unless one is born of the water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” speaking of baptism? Husbands, Ephesians 5:25 tells you to love your wife as Christ loves the church. Do you show love to your wife as you should? Wives, Colossians 3:18 commands that you submit to your husband as is fitting in the Lord. Do you allow your husband to take the role of leadership as he should, and submit to him as his helper and aid? Parents, are you training your child in the way he should go (Proverbs 22:6)? Teaching a child is not the responsibility of the church; it is the duty and responsibility of the home! Young people, we have been commanded to honor our father and mother in Ephesians 6:2. Furthermore, Ecclesiastes 12:1 tells us to remember our Creator in the days of our youth. God has laid out the truth for every aspect of our lives! To reject it and seek after our own selfish desires is to condemn ourselves.

Everyone has a choice to make. Those in the Old and New Testaments had truth presented to them by God and they chose to shut their ears to what was said. They chose to stiffen their neck against the direction God gave them. They chose not to see the destruction they were getting themselves into. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:11-12, “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands to take heed lest he falls.” The purpose of these examples is to warn us not to follow as they did but to take caution and search for what the truth is so that we will not fail. Let us never forget Ephesians 5:15, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise.”

Oren Caskey

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