Responding Correctly to Correction (Part 2 of 3)

"God is against the proud, but He is kind to the humble!" (James 4:6, ERV)

May 30, 2021

"He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy."

Proverbs 29:1

Part 2

Yesterday:  How do You Respond to Being Corrected?
“He, that being often reproved.”

God is so gracious, giving opportunity after opportunity for sinners to repent and turn to Him.


Today:  Israel had a Stiff Neck, do You?

Dear friend, do you have some of Pharaoh’s stubbornness in you?  Do you actually listen when people who care about you offer their correction?

“The metaphor [of a stiff neck] is taken from oxen, which kick and toss about and will not suffer the yoke to be put upon their necks”[1] (Gill).


“Hardeneth his neck.”
This ought to be an easy word picture for us to understand, for at some point in our lives, we have all been here (Isaiah 53:6).  Our Genesis three nature naturally rebels against “anyone telling us what to do!”  And yes, we are sinners just like old Pharoah.  He didn’t listen to God speak through Moses or through the plagues. The hardened neck means –

He “… obstinately refuses counsel…” [2] (JFB).

Picture in your mind a “strong-willed” toddler who does not want to be changed.  He arches and stiffens his back, becoming inflexible, just daring his mother to try and get that diaper on him.  That same “stiff-necked” attitude in a toddler is very much like what the LORD saw in His chosen people.

What did Jehovah think of His people and their stubbornness?[3]

“And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people [the Children of Israel], and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people” (Exodus 32:9).

Incredibly, hundreds of years later in their history, the LORD and His prophets had this testimony of Israel and Judah,

“Notwithstanding they would not hear, but hardened their necks, like to the neck of their fathers, that did not believe in the LORD their God” (2 Kings 17:14).[4]

“Because I knew that thou art obstinate,  And thy neck is an iron sinew,  And thy brow brass” (Isaiah 48:4).

“But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction” (Jeremiah 17:23).

How many times did God try to get Israel to repent?  Only once?  No, many, many times!  Solomon’s words fit here.

A man who is stiff-necked, that is, hardened and refusing to repent or submit to repeated correction (many rebukes…).”[5]

This “describes someone who stubbornly refuses to accept direction or reproof ….”[6]

Several centuries later, not much has changed with Israel and her habits.  The deacon Stephen was preaching to the Sanhedrin of Israel, and he said to them,

“Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye” (Acts 7:51).

This is just before they became furious with him and threw him out of the Temple and stoned him to death, proving what he said is trueThey had no heart to do what God said.

Friend, does this describe you?  Are you busy doing whatever you care to do without listening to God or heeding the warnings of His Word?  Please stop and turn to God, obey His Word, and let Him save you!  What happens when someone rejects, and rejects, and rejects God’s Correction?  Come back and see the devastating end to Solomon’s statement!  See you tomorrow!


Quote:  “When a farmer harnessed a team of oxen to a plow, he directed them by poking them lightly with a sharp spike on the heels or the neck to make them pick up speed or turn.  An ox that refused to be directed in such a way by the farmer was referred to as “stiff-necked.”  A stiff-necked animal (or person) refuses to turn the head in order to take a different path.”[7].  Are you “stiff-necked” like an ox when God is leading you?



[1] John Gill.  John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible, the electronic version in eSword.  Proverbs 29:1.
[2] JFB,  Jamison, Fausset, and Brown.  Jamison-Fausset-Brown’s Commentary, the electronic version in eSword.  Proverbs 29:1.
[3] The Dictionary of Bible Themes defines “stubbornness, Proud and disobedient resistance to God’s will and rejection of his commands.  Stubbornness is an attitude of heart, Jer 7:24 See also Dt 9:27; Jdg 2:19; Ps 78:8; Isa 48:4; Jer 3:17; 5:3; 9:14; 16:12; 18:12; Hos 4:16; Zec 7:11.”  Manser, M. H. (2009).  Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies.  London: Martin Manser.
[4] Interestingly, in the original text, the word “necks” is singular, “neck.”  When God spoke of Israel, He spoke of them all as one manIsrael has a stiff neck towards her God.  He sees them as “stiff-necked” people.
[5] Walvoord, J. F., & Zuck, R. B., Dallas Theological Seminary.  (1985).  The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 1, p. 967).  Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[6] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016).  Faithlife Study Bible (Pr 29:1).  Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
[7] This quote is the partial answer to the question, “What does the Bible say about being stiff-necked?”  This was borrowed from  Downloaded: Friday, May 14, 2021.  From: