Join us today for an episode about the reason we need to recognize our stiff-neckedness...
Today's episode is focused on Exodus 32: 1-14 and Matthew 22: 1-14...
In today’s Spiritual Foundation Episode, I talk about Exodus 32: 1-14 and Matthew 22: 1-14. I share how we need to remember that our stiff-neckedness brings about challenges. I also talk about how we, as stiff-necked people, are uniquely positioned to reach out to other stiff-necked people to join the party.
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Episode 1365: Stiff-necked People
[00:00:00] Scott Maderer: Thanks for joining me on episode 1, 365 of the Inspired Stewardship Podcast. I'm
[00:00:08] Branch Isole: Branch Isole, and I challenge you today to invest in yourself, invest in others, and develop your influence. by using your time, talent, and treasure to serve your calling. One way to do that is to listen to Scott Maderer and his podcast, Inspired Stewardship.
[00:00:40] Scott Maderer: And if you think about it, I think a lot of times Christians act like, yeah, that's exactly what's going to happen. Only I'm not going to be thrown out by the bouncer. You are. We sometimes seem to at least hope that that's what's going to happen. We're the chosen one, right? We're the perfect one. We're not messing up.
[00:00:58] Somebody else is and [00:01:00] they're going to get thrown out. Welcome and thank you for joining us on the Inspired Stewardship Podcast. If you truly desire to become the person who God wants you to be, then you must learn to use your time, your talent, and your treasures for your true calling. In the Inspired Stewardship Podcast, you will learn to invest in yourself, invest in others, and develop your influence so that you can impact others.
[00:01:34] In today's Spiritual Foundation episode, I talk about Exodus 32, verses 1 14 and Matthew 22, verses 1 14. I share how we need to remember that our stiff neckedness brings about challenges. But I also talk about how we, as stiff necked people, are uniquely positioned to reach out to... other stiff necked people to join the party.[00:02:00]
[00:02:00] Exodus chapter 32 verses 1 through 14 says, When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered around Aaron and said to him, Come make gods for us who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.
[00:02:18] Aaron said to them, Take off the gold rings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons and your daughters and bring them to me. So all the people took off the gold rings from their ears and brought them to Aaron. He took the gold from them, formed it in a mold, and cast an image of a calf, and they said, These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
[00:02:40] When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it, and Aaron made proclamation and said, Tomorrow shall be a festival to the Lord. They rose early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought sacrifices of well being. And the people sat down to eat and to drink and rose up to revel. The Lord said to Moses, Go down at once.
[00:02:59] Your people who [00:03:00] you brought out of the land of Egypt have acted perversely. They have been quick to turn aside from the way that I commanded them. They have cast for themselves an image of a calf and have worshipped it and sacrificed to it and said, These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt.
[00:03:16] The Lord said to Moses, I have seen these people how stiff necked they are. Now let me alone so that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them and of you I will make a great nation. But Moses implored the Lord his God, and said, oh Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people who you brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?
[00:03:41] Why should the Egyptians say it was with evil intent that he brought them out to kill them in the mountains? And to consume them from the face of the earth, turn from your fierce wrath, change your mind and do not bring disaster on your people. Remember Abraham, Isaac and Israel, your servants, how you swore to them by your own [00:04:00] self, saying to them, I will multiply your descendants like the stars of heaven and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants and they shall inherit it forever.
[00:04:10] And the Lord changed his mind about the disaster that he planned to bring to his people. Matthew chapter 22 verses 1 through 14 says, Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come.
[00:04:33] Again, he sent other slaves, saying, Tell those who have been invited, Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet. But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them.
[00:04:53] The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his slaves, The [00:05:00] wedding is ready, but those invited are not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet. Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad.
[00:05:14] So the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe. And he said to him, Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe? And he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, Bind him hand and foot and throw him into the outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
[00:05:36] For many are called. But few are chosen. Now, stiff necked was used in the Exodus, and it's one of those descriptions that I don't think we use in modern times enough. In Exodus 32, in this chapter things are blowing up. God's people are [00:06:00] struggling. Aaron is complicit in this. And Moses is just hanging out in the mountain, away from the people, hanging out with God.
[00:06:09] And God gets angry and says, I'm going to blow away these stiff necked people, and I'm just going to start all over with just you, Moses. Sounds like a, an epic moment. A big God moment. Parting the sea, or destroying the Egyptians, or destroying Sodom and Gomorrah. We're going to... have wrath, and judgment, and lightning, and thunder, and all of these things, but instead Moses gets in God's face and says, wait a minute, you brought these people this far and now you're gonna pull the plug?
[00:06:43] But everyone's gonna say what a nasty God to have set them up for this, to have gone this far and destroy these people. In the next chapter... Moses is going to say to God, show me your glory. And at first [00:07:00] glance, this might be a moment of God's glory, right? God's destructive, righteous anger.
[00:07:06] Except Moses appears to not want to follow that kind of angry God. Instead, Moses challenges God and says, remember the faithful ones, Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. There's still people here who are faithful to you. And notice, he doesn't say Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Instead, he uses Israel, Jacob's new name.
[00:07:32] Here, Moses is calling him Israel, which represents the whole people. The name translates as he who strives with God, and it goes on to become the name of the whole people, the country, the chosen people. In other words, Moses seems to be reminding God, that you picked these people and you knew you were setting things up for a wrestling match.
[00:07:56] You knew that they were stiff necked and angry and [00:08:00] short sighted and had all of the challenges. You wanted to be in a relationship with them, not just set it up for automatic obedience. You started this. This is a mess. And in fact, Moses kind of gets mad at him when he goes down. But it's not just their fault.
[00:08:19] God is part of this relationship. He says, don't blow up now. Go back into the fight and wrestle. And it says that God changed his mind. Now maybe God was just testing Moses to see what Moses would do if he pretended to be angry. But the text says God changed his mind. It doesn't say God patted Moses on the head and said, oh, you figured it out.
[00:08:47] Says he changed his mind. He seems to be claiming the people at last. God is angry and He says go down there at once your people [00:09:00] who you brought up out of the land of Egypt to Moses You brought these people your people. He's washing his hands of them. But Moses says Why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you brought out of the land of Egypt?
[00:09:16] Sounds like he just flips it, but then he says, With great power and a mighty hand. In other words, he's actually pointing out, it's not just a repetition, it's, I couldn't have done this. I don't have the power. I can't be responsible on my own. Your power is inherent in this journey. Remember how this started?
[00:09:37] There's a connection and a relationship. from the beginning. It was your hand, not mine, Lord, that set these people free. You've made some promises and you need to remember them. And because of that, God changes his mind. And eventually, God throws a party. Now, not right away, when [00:10:00] Moses comes down and... Smites those who are worshiping the golden calf.
[00:10:04] That's not a party moment, but eventually they get to the land of milk and honey and they get to the party. And that brings us to the Matthew text. Jesus seems to be telling us about that party that's promised in the future. Or at least the essence of the party through a parable or a story. That's why parables are used often.
[00:10:27] They raise questions. The word parable means to throw alongside. It's a metaphor. It's an image thrown alongside something else to show correlations, to show differences. So Matthew doesn't give a lot of context. He says, once more, Jesus spoke to them in parables. It is the kingdom of heaven. It's like a party.
[00:10:50] Specifically, it's like a wedding banquet. And if you think about it, a wedding banquet, there's commitment involved in that. Not just commitment of the bride and [00:11:00] groom, or not just commitment of the bride's family and the groom's family, but actually even those who attend, even the guests. Unlike modern weddings, where it's a spectator sport, in that culture at that time, there's a deeper meaning.
[00:11:16] Even the guests have a responsibility and a commitment. We still echo that today. That's part of why we bring gifts. And even those who brought on the invitation and then made light of it or refused it. Or even the guy who shows up in the wrong clothes. There's a deeper thumbing of the nose at those being honored and because of that there's a challenge and a messy end to the question.
[00:11:51] So is this about an army ready to come to destroy anyone who makes light of the kingdom of heaven? Is it reminding [00:12:00] us that if we don't show up with the proper respect for the covenants involved, we're going to get tossed out on our ears? And if you think about it, I think a lot of times Christians act yeah, that's exactly what's going to happen, only I'm not going to be thrown out by the bouncer.
[00:12:17] You are. We sometimes seem to at least hope that's what's going to happen. We're the chosen one, right? We're the perfect one. We're not messing up. Somebody else is, and they're going to get thrown out. Those people will get what's coming to them. And if they sneer at us, good people, they're going to get an attitude check.
[00:12:41] But if you think about it, that very attitude, that very thought, that very stiff neckedness is what Jesus also seems to be talking against, reminding us that, hey, if we take on that action, if we refuse the [00:13:00] invitation, if we refuse to let others in, if we refuse to invite the messy and the messed up, if we don't challenge ourselves to reach out to not just the greatest but the least, then we won't be allowed at the wedding either.
[00:13:19] Thanks for listening.
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In today's episode, I talk with you about:
Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.' – Matthew 22: 9