Vol. 9, No. 2
Priscilla's Page *Editor's Note*
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When I was growing up being the oldest of seven children, we often heard this statement from our mother: "Your head is just like a flint rock!" There were many times she had to keep repeating what she wanted done, when she wanted it done, and how she wanted it done. Sometimes she would be referring to others having this head like a flint rock, but most of the time she was talking about us.
I have no idea if my mother ever knew this statement she made, in the years we were growing up, was based in Scripture. The prophet Jeremiah faithfully proclaimed the divine condemnation of rebellious Judah for 40 years. He was opposed, beaten, isolated and imprisoned for his efforts. As Jeremiah speaks of the rebellion of Judah he says, "O Lord, are not Your eyes on the truth? You have stricken them, but they have not grieved; You have consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; they have refused to return" (Jeremiah 5:3).
In the Book of Zechariah, God gives him a series of messages for Israel. He reminds them of how God had rebuked their rebellion, their empty ritualism and past disobedience, being the cause for which they were scattered among all the nations like a whirlwind. God said through Zechariah, "But they refused to heed, shrugged their shoulders, and stopped their ears so that they could not hear. Yes, they made their hearts like flint, refusing to hear the law and the words which the Lord of hosts had sent by His Spirit through the former prophets. Thus great wrath came from the Lord of hosts" (Zechariah 7:11-12).
After Moses had led the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage, he encountered an almost unending attack of their murmuring, grumbling and complaining. It seems that having the food and water they wanted was near the top of their list of things that were never satisfactory from their vantage point. These murmurings started soon after they had miraculously crossed the Red Sea!
On one occasion to eliminate this problem for Moses, God told him food would be provided. In Exodus 16:12 God said, "I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, 'At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am the Lord your God.'"
"In the morning the dew lay all around the camp. And when the layer of dew lifted, there on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground. So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, 'What is it?' For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, 'This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat'" (Exodus 16:13b-15).
Moses instructed the people to gather only as much as they needed and none was to be left until morning. "Notwithstanding they did not heed Moses. But some of them left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and stank. And Moses was angry with them" (Exodus 16:20).
Moses told them to gather twice as much as they needed on the sixth day since no work was to be done on the Sabbath. So they did as he commanded and it did not stink and there were no worms in it. "Now it happened that some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather, but they found none. And the Lord said to Moses, 'How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My laws? See! For the Lord has given you the Sabbath; therefore He gives you on the sixth day bread for two days. Let every man remain in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day" (Exodus 16:28-30).
Their heads were just like flint rocks! What they were specifically told not to do, is exactly what they proceeded to do! They sound so much like--us! They refused to listen until God got stern! Why do we find plain English so hard to understand? We have got a heart problem, and that problem is above our collar--the heart of our minds! We think we know better than God does; how tragic for us!
Acts Chapter 6 is the account of Stephen being one of the seven men appointed to take care of the widows who were being neglected in the daily distribution of relief. "And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people" (Acts 6:8). The Synagogue of the Freemen disputed with Stephen and they were not able to resist what he was saying.
Their way of dealing with what Stephen was saying is so typical of the way we act when truth starts hitting too close to home. "And they stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes; and they came upon him, seized him, and brought him to the council" (Acts 6:12).
Acts Chapter 7 is Stephen's sermon to the council as he recounts the history of the Israelite nation. He says in his conclusion starting in verse 51, "You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you."
Their reaction to this heart piercing truth was anything but accepting. "When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth" (vs. 54). We can see just how hard as flint their heads were, and their ears dull of hearing! "Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord; and they cast him out of the city and stoned him" (vs. 57-58a).
What is our reaction to our sins when they are pointed out to us? How well do we receive doctrine, reproof, correction or instruction in righteousness? Have we decided to "manage" our sins rather than conquer and overcome them? Let's face it; we are going to have to make up our minds against sin and change our attitudes toward it! We cannot be a believer and not be a disciple! To be daily and deliberately involved in the practice of sin, including having a head like a flint rock, is nothing less than the betrayal of our spiritual relationship with our God!
We have got to develop and maintain the mindset of the psalmist David when he said, "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer" (Psalm 19:14).