A Stiff~necked People
By Kathryn Taylor
The more I read God's word, the more I am sure that He knows exactly how we feel as we deal with our hard-to-love RAD, and other similarly diagnosed children. During our family devotions, we are reading about the Israelite's exodus from Egypt. A certain aspect of the story grabbed m attention. Moses had been up on the mountain for 40 days receiving the Ten Commandments from God. God tells Moses that the people are down below being wicked. God is furious, and He tells Moses that He is going to wipe them all out. He wants to bless Moses' offspring instead, and just forget about those rebellious, stiff-necked people. But, to my surprise, Moses begs God to reconsider, and asks Him not to react in anger towards them. He reminds God that the whole world has seen and heard about God delivering His people. What would they think if He destroyed them now? God concedes. Moses heads down to confront the people. When Moses arrives and sees what the Israelites are up to, he immediately gets irate….. then intercedes for them, and shows them the path to repentance.
It is not very often that you hear about this side of God preached from the pulpits. Yet, time and time again, situations like this arose. What does this say about the character of God? What does God want us to learn from it? Why didn't God just make them obey? Why did He get so frustrated? Why was He so angry He would have destroyed them? I don't know all the "whys" and "wherefores" of God, but I do believe that God does understand when we feel this way in our own families, because He felt that way too. I do not think that God wants us to feel this way about our children, anymore than He wanted to feel that way towards His. It is natural to hate what our children do in rebellion. It is frustrating when our children continually turn from the path which they and us know to be right. We are angry because we cannot force good behavior and obedience from our children. God was angry, but at the same time, He WOULD NOT force them. He wanted them, as well as us, today, to freely choose it.
I can also see us parents in the position that Moses was in, the Israelites grumbling and rebelling against both God and Moses. They chose bondage rather than obedience and fellowship. They chose slavery rather than godliness. They grumbled rather than be thankful. They doubted rather than trusted. Even after all God did to prove his love for them, they could not, or would not, trust him. Our children are this way towards us. We are offended because they will not trust us. We are upset because they refuse to see how much we have sacrificed for them. We are angry because they are ungrateful for what we have given them. We feed them and they are unappreciative. We clothe them and they ruin and soil their clothes. We protect them and they want others to believe we are their abusers. We guide them and encourage them. We try to show them the “Promised Land” while they long to go back into their slavery…..their abuse….. Time and time again, Moses interceded for the Israelites, even when he was upset with them. I think God wants us to be that for our children. That is what Jesus Christ did for us. Moses continually asked God, "Why did you have me lead them out of bondage for this? What was the point? They grumble against me. They grumble against You. I do not understand!"
Despite it all, Moses brought God's word to the people. Moses confronted the people when they rebelled. Moses interceded for them before God. Moses spoke truth into their lives. Moses judged their disagreements. Moses showed them what to do to repent. That is our role as parents for our rebellious children, as well as for our obedient children. But, we also must remember that we, like Moses, are disobedient with God at times. We doubt, we grumble, we complain, we do not trust Him, we pull away, and we try to live our lives without His help at times. Think of it, forty years is more than two lifetimes of raising a child. Yet, we carry on thinking we cannot survive ten. What we need to do is stay close to God, above all else. We need to trust our lives to Him knowing He wants what is best for us, even if we cannot see it. We need to stand in the gap, like Moses, for our children. We need to believe that in spite of our suffering, in spite our circumstances, God is leading us to the Promised Land. God does love and care for us. We are wandering in the desert, and God is waiting to see if we will blindly obey Him, or if we are going to whine and complain.
May we ignite our children's idols of fear with our burning love…. that we will grind into powder, casting it onto the water of everlasting life so that when they drink it, it will restore them. Like manna from heaven, may God send people into our lives to encourage us, help us, and give us relief. May He give us faith to strike the rock of living water to quench our thirst for love and acceptance. May He give us courage as we defeat the enemies that come against us. May He give us vision to follow the cloud by day, and the pillar of fire by night. May He give us wisdom to stand in the midst of the spreading disease of anger and fear, with a serpent raised upon a pole. May our goal in life be to enter the Promised Land with our loved ones who will follow, and may we not fear the giants in the land. God bless us everyone………
7 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go, get thee down; for thy people,
which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted
8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded
them: they have made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and
have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These be thy gods, O Israel,
which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
9 And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold,
it is a stiffnecked people:
10 Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against
them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great
11 And Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, LORD, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand?
12 Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and say, For mischief did he
bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them
from the face of the earth? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of
this evil against thy people.
13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou
swarest by thine own self, and saidst unto them, I will multiply your
seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of
will I give unto your seed, and they shall inherit it for ever.
14 And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his
15 And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written.
16 And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the
writing of God, graven upon the tables.
17 And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he
said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp.
18 And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery,
neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the
noise of them that sing do I hear.
19 And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that
he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses' anger waxed hot, and he
cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.
20 And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the
fire, and ground it to powder, and strawed it upon the water, and
made the children of Israel drink it.