There is nothing worse than waking up with a crick in your neck. Well, I take that back—there is nothing worse than driving with a crick in your neck. For those of you who have never tried it, just looking both ways to cross an intersection is like going through physical therapy. The stiffness limits your range of movement and impairs your ability to make sound decisions behind the wheel. If this is ever your misfortune, I suggest pulling over to the side of the road and either waiting until your teenager becomes responsible enough to drive you home, or phoning a chiropractor.

But being spiritually stiff-necked is no laughing matter. It is a refusal to give honor or deference to God and others. In this condition, a person refuses God’s best and pursues a life of self-centered rebellion. The side effects of this condition affect not only the stiff-necked person, but also the people around him.

Balaam, the prophet, is a good example of a stiff-necked person. He disobeyed God’s instructions and accepted hire from Israel’s enemies to curse the nation. God would have killed him on his journey, except Balaam’s donkey had spared his life. Three times, the beast of burden turned aside to avoid crossing paths with the Angel of the Lord in Balaam’s way. Finally, God enabled the donkey to speak like a human being to convince his master of his error. Fortunately, Balaam confessed his sin and chose to obey God.

Do you suffer from a stiff neck? The symptoms include a belligerent refusal to accept correction, as well as an unwillingness to let go of injustices and offences. All of us wrestle with this sin problem from time to time. But there is a cure. Humble yourself under God’s mighty hand, and learn to see Him in every circumstance you experience. If you trust Him to do what is best in your life, you will be able to make the changes that are needed for your growth and betterment.

You cannot expect anything from God unless you put yourself in the right place, that is, as a beggar at His footstool. Then will He hear you, and not until then. — C.H. Spurgeon

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.