An Outstretched Neck!
Christian Devotional by Pastor Cecil Thompson
“We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks, for Your Name is near; men tell of Your wonderful deeds. You say, ‘I choose the appointed time; it is I who judge uprightly. When the earth and all its people quake, it is I who hold its pillars firm.’ (Selah) To the arrogant I say, ‘Boast no more,’ and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horns. Do not lift up your horns against heaven; do not speak with an outstretched neck.'”
What an unusual phrase: “- – an outstretched neck.” It is rendered that way in the New International Version of the Bible. In the King James Version it is: “- – a stiff neck.” In the New American Standard it is: “- – an insolent pride.” In the first two versions we have a word picture, while in the NASB we find more of a definition.
One of the places we see the picture of insolent pride displayed is during sporting events. Not always, but frequently we observe athletes with outstretched necks parading back and forth like a proud peacock. It has become common enough that penalties are often assessed because it is described as taunting.
But that is nothing compared to the picture of those arrogant boasters who, in their pride, stand opposed to God. These people may claim to be wise, but wisdom is in their own eyes and God will have the last word. Oh, how much better it would be if they would turn from their arrogance and honor God.
From time to time a story is passed around the Internet of a school teacher who was a professed atheist. This man seemed to delight in demeaning any student who professed faith in Jesus Christ. One student was adamant about her faith in God and in His Son, Jesus Christ. It was a simple faith, and she did not make an issue of it, but it affected her whole life.
One day this teacher thought of a way to humiliate this girl and at the same time demonstrate his atheistic position. He asked the girl to go to the window. He then said to her; “Mary, look all around, do you see the flowers and grass and trees?” Mary responded that she did. Do you see God anywhere?” Mary answered, “No.” He then asked her to look up into the sky. He asked her, “Mary, do you see God in the sky?” Again Mary answered, “No.”
When Mary had returned to her seat, the teacher smiled smugly (with an outstretched neck) and said, “You see class, we have just proved that there is no God!”
Mary raised her hand and asked to speak. The arrogant teacher granted her request. Mary called to Ted, a boy who was seated in the first row. “Ted,” she said, “Do you see our teacher, Mr. Smith?” Ted answered that he did. Mary then asked, “Ted, do you see Mr. Smith’s brain?” Ted said, “No.” Mary smiled to Mr. Smith and quietly asked, “Have we just proved that you do not have a brain?” Mr. Smith gave the class an assignment and never tried such a stunt again.
Silly story? Yes it is. But it is no more silly than the people with pompous attitudes toward God. They seem to feel that their rejection of God proves that there is no God. How ridiculous. It only proves that they do not believe in God!
But wait! What about those who believe in God, but have never entered into a personal experience with Him. I am sad to say that there are those believers who also stretch out their necks in pride and arrogance. They rely on themselves rather than trusting in the Lord. In their pride they call upon God only when they get into trouble.
Let me close for today with this passage in Proverbs 3:5-6, which is the clearest way to steer clear of having an outstretched neck: “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 your paths straight.”
Blessings dear hearts. Draw near to God today, trust Him completely and be a blessing!
— Pastor Cecil
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