For “A Stiff Necked People – Part 2” (2 Kings 18:1-8)
INTRODUCTORY THOUGHTS – In part one of this two part series, my thesis was unchecked discouragement could lead to being stiff-necked. HOW? In Numbers 21:1-8, we see this very clearly. Since human nature hasn’t changed, it still happens in our day. Because our Vision as Calvary is the rebuilding of families, we know how difficult that can be if we are stiff-necked toward God. So, in summary, part 1 was the story of poisonous snake-bitten Israelites unwilling to look up to the bronze serpent on the pole God told Moses to make, and be healed. In part 2, the story was centuries later the Israelites had made the bronze sculpture (a pre-figuring of the Crucifixion of Jesus) an idol they burned incense to in worship to soothe their consciences against sin.
THESIS – We can end up worshipping the tools of our deliverance rather than the Deliverer.
SALIENT QUESTION – What was the danger in Israel living this way? What is the danger in our living this way?
1. THE NATION OF ISRAEL RELIED ON PAST VICTORY (2 KINGS 18:4) TO ENSURE FUTURE SUCCESS. WE CAN DO THE SAME THING. WE CAN WORSHIP THE PAST GLORIES, FOR EXAMPLE. WE CAN WORSHIP PEOPLE, PLACES, FEELINGS, THINGS, CARS, HOUSES, CLOTHES, SHOPPING, GAMING, GAMBLING, ETC. ETC. ETC!
2. (SEE 2 KINGS 17:40, 41) THEY TOOK ON THE UNGODLY WAYS OF THOSE AROUND THEM (THE ASSYRIANS WHO GOD USED TO PUNISH THEM BECAUSE OF THEIR IDOLATRY AND SYNCRETISM). WE CAN DO THIS IF WE CONSULT A HOROSCOPE INSTEAD OF (OR ALONG WITH – SYNCRETISM) THE BIBLE, FOR EXAMPLE. WE ARE SUBJECT TO PEER PRESSURE. WHO ARE OUR FRIENDS? WHO ARE OUR INFLUENCERS? ARE WE EQUALLY YOKED? ARE WE TAKING ADVICE FOR OUR LIVES WITHOUT GOD’S LEADING? IS THERE ANYTHING GOD WOULD SAY FOR US TO ALTER SO WE COULD HEAR HIM BETTER?
3. (SEE 2 KINGS 17:40, 41 AGAIN) BEING STIFF-NECKED IS NOT HELPFUL TO OURSELVES, FAMILY, FRIENDS, CHURCH FAMILY, OR ANYONE. FOR AN UNSAVED PERSON, BEING STIFF-NECKED IS REJECTION OF JESUS AS SAVIOR (JOHN 3:16, 17). FOR A SAVED PERSON WHO IS UNCHURCHED BECAUSE THEY REFUSE TO BE LED, THAT IS STIFF-NECKED BEHAVIOR (HEBREWS 10:25). FOR A CHURCHED PERSON WHO SPREADS LIES, PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE, SINFULLY AGGRESSIVE, ENTERTAINS GOSSIP, IS OBSTINATE OR SIMPLY UNTEACHABLE, THAT IS STIFF-NECKED BEHAVIOR (THE OPPOSITE IS PHILIPPIANS 4:4-9).
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IN CHRIST’S LOVE, PASTOR WALTON (JRW, 2020)