What Does Stiff Necked Mean In The Bible

What does it mean to have a ‘stiff-necked’ attitude as mentioned in the Bible? To put it simply, having a stiff-necked attitude is one in which an individual displays an unwavering resistance to instruction, guidance, and discipline. When the Bible is referring to this attitude, it is usually reminding us to remain humble in our approach to life and its challenges.

The phrase “stiff-neckedness” or “stiff-necked attitude” first appears in Exodus 32:9 when the Lord is speaking to Moses about the Israelites. He says, “Go down at once! For your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have become corrupt. They have been quick to turn aside from the way which I commanded them and have made for themselves a molten calf, and have worshiped it and have sacrificed to it and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, that brought you up out of the land of Egypt!’”

The phrase ‘stiff-necked’ appears again in Deuteronomy 10:16 when God is speaking to the people of Israel describing their stubbornness: “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn.”

In both cases, the Lord is warning the Israelites about their tendency to display a stiff-necked attitude and encourages them to remain humble and obedient. The stiff-necked attitude is usually characterized by a refusal to accept advice or direction from others, a reluctance to compromise and a resistance to change. The Lord wants us to be humble and to seek wisdom from him. He tells us in Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” The Bible is clear that if we want to find success in life, we must acknowledge the Lord, be humble, and accept His wisdom and counsel.

The phrase ‘stiff-necked’ can also be used to refer to someone who is unbending and unyielding in their opinion or attitude. This type of attitude can be hard for someone to overcome, as it may be rooted in pride and a refusal to admit when they are wrong. When we display a stiff-necked attitude, we can become very close-minded and unwilling to consider another point of view. The Bible encourages us to have an open heart and mind and to seek God’s guidance in matters that may not seem clear in order to avoid the pitfalls of a stiff-necked attitude.

A stiff-necked attitude can also cause conflict and tension in relationships by creating a barrier between the person and others. It can be difficult for someone to see past this barrier to recognize and appreciate another’s point-of-view. While disagreements are inevitable, if we remain humble and open to different perspectives, we can find common ground and ultimately be more likely to reach a satisfactory resolution.

Root Causes

Often, a person’s stiff-necked attitude can be traced back to an underlying fear or insecurity. Fear can manifest itself in many ways, such as controlling behavior or withdrawing into a world of rigid rules and strict order. Fear can be a powerful tool that prevents us from taking risks, exploring new relationships and opportunities, or seeing the world from a different perspective. When we choose to give in to our fears, it can be difficult to break from the comfort of our familiar patterns and beliefs.

The Bible encourages us to resist the temptation to give in to our fears and instead, to trust God and His timing. When we allow ourselves to be led by Him and respond to difficult situations with His wisdom, we avoid the pitfalls of a stiff-necked attitude and open ourselves to the possibilities and blessings He has for us. As 1 Peter 5:5-7 says, “Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.”

Own Analysis and Insights

Having a stiff-necked attitude is not something that anyone deliberately desires, but it can be a difficult mental trap to escape from. We live in a world that is filled with distractions, and it can be easy to become consumed by our own success, accomplishments, and goals. Seeking God’s wisdom and guidance can help us to ensure that our focus remains on what is most important and important to Him.

We need to be conscious of our attitude and demeanor when we are going through challenging situations in life. It can be easy to become defensive and stubborn in our approach when we are feeling threatened or uncertain. However, as we come to rely on God to help us navigate life’s challenges, we can be assured that He will give us the strength and insight to maintain a humble, obedient, and comfortable attitude.Without surrendering to Him, it can be difficult to have a healthy, balanced view of life and to trust in His perfect plans.

Examples from Other Cultures

Stiff-necked attitudes can also be found in other cultures. In Chinese culture, for example, there is a phrase “tu shou” which translates as “stiff-neckedness”. This phrase is also used metaphorically by some writers and poets in China as a description for stubbornness, arrogance and lack of flexibility.

In Japan, the term “komamura” references a stiff-necked attitude and is used to describe the tendency of some people to refuse to take advice or consider other points of view. It is also associated with people who are overly proud of their own accomplishments and think they are always right.

In the Bible, the phrase “stiff-necked” is often linked with pride and lack of humility in response to God’s authority. The concept of stiff-neckedness is not unique to one culture, but can be seen in many different contexts throughout the world.

Effects in the Long-Term

When left unchecked, a stiff-necked attitude can be detrimental. Not only does it hinder our relationship with the Lord, but it can also lead to negative consequences in our relationships with other people. When we come from a place of stubbornness and pride, we are more likely to be confrontational, close-minded, and unapproachable.

As seen in the examples from scripture, a stiff-necked attitude makes it difficult to accept correction and can make it hard to learn or grow. When we become overly focused on our own ideas or ways of thinking, we can end up missing out on valuable knowledge and insight that could be beneficial to us. Therefore, having a humble and teachable heart is essential to finding direction and achieving success in life.

Overcoming Stiff-Necked Attitude

In order to break away from a stiff-necked attitude, we must actively choose to trust God’s plans and to accept His will. James 4:10 says, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” One way to do this is by spending time in prayer each day and asking the Lord for help in understanding what He has called us to. We can also spend time in His word, meditating on scriptures that remind us to seek His will and to remain humble.

We must also be aware of our thoughts and feelings and questioning our motives when we encounter difficult situations. This is especially true if we find ourselves becoming defensive or feeling stubborn. Taking a moment to take a step back and prayerfully considering our options can help us avoid a stiff-necked attitude, and instead, remain open to the potential blessing and insight the Lord has for us.

The Power of Humility

God calls us to be humble, teachable, and open to His guidance and instructions. When we can remain humble and surrender our pride, we can trust in His perfect plans and find contentment, as He promises in Proverbs 29:23, “The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.”

Living with a humble heart allows us to be open to our own weaknesses and to the amazing power of Christ. We can have an attitude of humility and still possess strength and confidence. This allows us to find comfort and assurance in our faith and in His promises for our future. It also gives us the freedom to fully embrace and stand in all the good things God has for us.

Embracing God’s Wisdom

Having a stiff-necked attitude makes it difficult to accept instruction, guidance, and correction. In contrast, a humble approach to life can be liberating and can provide us with a sense of peace and joy as we walk in His ways. Even when faced with difficult and uncertain times, we can trust that the Lord has a plan for our lives, and that He is with us every step of the way.

God calls us to be humble and seek His wisdom and counsel. We must remember that His plans for us are not always clear, but through His guidance and grace, we can learn to find joy and contentment in our life journey.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

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