Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Morning Reflections on Prov. 29:1

Proverbs 29:1 אִ֣ישׁ תּ֭וֹכָחוֹת מַקְשֶׁה־עֹ֑רֶף פֶּ֥תַע יִ֜שָּׁבֵ֗ר וְאֵ֣ין מַרְפֵּֽא׃

NASB Proverbs 29:1 A man who hardens his neck after much reproof Will suddenly be broken beyond remedy.

Yahweh, there is a limit to your patience with refusals to respond to correction (cf. Exo 33:3). I praise you that it is “much reproof” (אִיש תּוֹכָחוֹת) (cf. 2 Kgs. 17:14). You are slow to anger and plenteous in kindness, yet your justice sets a limit on your longsuffering.

Thank you that you warn me of the sober consequences to motivate me to turn at reproof. Those who stiffen their necks are arrogant and disobedient (Neh 9:16), refuse to listen to You and are rebellious (Neh. 9:17; Deut. 31:27). Your dealings with Israel, whom you exiled and dispersed because of their stiffnecked rebellion against you, teach me what “broken beyond remedy” looks like (2 Kgs 17:18; Jer. 19:15).

Thank you for giving me by your Spirit a heart of flesh for my heart of stone (Ezek. 11:19; 36:26). Thank you for your reproof that sets me in the right way when I stray (2 Tim. 3:16;) and which you design to make me a sharer in your holiness (Heb 12:5-10)!

Hard hearts (2 Chron. 36:13), bronze foreheads (Isa. 48:4), and stubborn shoulders (Neh. 9:29) are the accompanying characteristics of a stiff neck. Yielding ourselves (תְּנוּ־יָד לַיהוָה) to You, Yahweh (2 Chron. 30:8), listening and inclining the ear (Jer. 17:23) are the opposites of being stiffnecked.

Deut. 10:16 prescribes circumcising the foreskin of the heart in conjunction with or perhaps as a condition for no longer stiffening one's neck. Yahweh, you have provided in Christ a heart-circumcision that is made without hands (Col. 2:11). Thank you for circumcising my heart that it may be sensitive to You.

If there yet lingers stiffness of neck in me, show me it that I may yield it to You. 

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