Our Stiff-Necks and God’s Glory


glory


Exodus 33:1-3

33 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Leave this place, you and the people you brought up out of Egypt, and go up to the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I will send an angel before you and drive out the Canaanites, Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. Go up to the land flowing with milk and honey. But I will not go with you, because you are a stiff-necked people and I might destroy you on the way.” NIV

We know that God is everywhere. There is no place in the universe that we can escape God’s eyes. How does He do it? I don’t know. Perhaps it’s a mystery that will probably take us all eternity to understand. However, His manifested presence is something completely different. The manifested presence of God is not promised to everyone and is not a guaranty either. The Bible describes such presence as the Shekinah Glory of God.

God performed many signs and wonder to deliver the children of Israel out of Egypt. We see in these verses that God promises to follow up with His Word in-spite of the stiff-necked ways of the Israelites. God promises to give them the Promise Land and He also promises that He will send His angel ahead of them to guaranty their success. However, God also establishes, very clearly, that even as His presence will indeed be with them, His glory will not. The Hebrew word for “stiff-neck” is the word qāšeh. This word means: “Hard, harsh, cruel, severe, violent. This term’s basic function is to describe something as hard.[1]

Stiff-neck is a brother of pride; a stiff-neck person is a person that does not listen, that has no respect for others and a person incapable of obedience. Dear brothers and sisters, we must confront our stiff-neck ways. As we can see in these verses, there is no room for our stiff-neck ways and God’s glory. If we want His glory, we must get out of the way.

As we continue to learn from Moses we can see that, perhaps for everybody else, it was ok to accept God’s deal. After all, the deal continues to involve the promise land. The deal offered all of the tools necessary for success. But Moses wanted something more, Moses understood that you could actually have it all, but without God you have nothing. Moses knew that there was so much more than just a rich and wonderful land. Moses had a very close relationship with God and, at the same time, Moses loved the children of Israel. That love caused Moses to effectively intercede for God’s people and in Exodus 33:12-18 we see the result of that amazing and historical intercession.

Exodus 33:12-18

 

12 Then Moses said to the Lord, “See, You say to me, ‘Bring up this people.’ But You have not let me know whom You will send with me. Yet You have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found grace in My sight.’ 13 Now therefore, I pray, if I have found grace in Your sight, show me now Your way, that I may know You and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.”

14 And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

15 Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here. 16 For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So we shall be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.”

17 So the Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.” NKJV

18 And he said, “Please, show me Your glory.”

The Hebrew word for “presence” here is the word lip̱nāy meaning: “In front of. It is used to indicate physical position, in front of something[2]” The Hebrew word “glory” here is the word kāḇōḏ. This word means: “Honor, majesty, wealth.”

When we move without God’s glory we are leaving behind His honor, His majesty and His wealth. The glory of God is our only hope; His glory will bring us power, joy, guaranty victory, and prosperity in our souls. The manifested presence of God is what produces revivals; it’s the power to resurrect what is dead, revive our souls, reactivate our dreams, perform miracles, signs, and wonders; it is the power to restore, to prepare and to send out for the glory of God and for the service of His people. It is indeed His manifested presence that brings people from all over the world. But sadly, today our stiff-neck attitudes causes us to insist in our sins, in our ways of doing things and in the ways of the world.

God will pour out a great revival in our lands, there is no doubt about that. The questions is: Are we going to be a part of that, or not? That depend on our hearts and how hungry and thirsty we find ourselves for the Lord. We must pray that God cleans our hearts and produces hunger in us for Him and for His righteousness. This is a very special hour in the church in general for there is only one church.

Let us pray this prayer together:

“Father, show us your glory so that I may die to myself and be resurrected in you. Increase in me Mighty King and help me to decrease. Forgive my stiff-neck ways and form in me a pure and humble heart. May the first commandment be a reality in my heart. Revive my soul oh God and use me for your glory and for the expansion of your Kingdom…” In Jesus’ name…Amen!


[1] Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. (2003). The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament (1019). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

[2] Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. (2003). The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament (554). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

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