God sent prophet after prophet to Israel to warn them to turn back to Him and to leave the idolatrous worship they had chosen over Him. But they were a nation of stiff necks bent in following their own way rather than God’s way. While the Bible shows brief periods of the nation turning back to Him when there was a king on the throne who followed after God, most of the kings chose to forsake God. Throughout the books of 1st and 2nd Kings, we see king after king and it can almost become monotonous reading through these books. However, there are some important lessons we can learn.
Lessons from Stiff Necks: A nation’s leader sets the spiritual atmosphere
The first lesson is that a nation’s leader sets the spiritual atmosphere of the entire nation. If the person in charge of Israel followed after God, the nation followed after God and they saw blessings from God. However, even the good kings that followed God did not completely wipe out idolatry from the nation which always left a door open for the nation to revert back to idol worship. We also see that whenever the king chose to forsake God, the nation experienced attacks, famine, and other calamities. Unfortunately for the Children of Israel, they had more kings following idolatry than they did kings that followed God.
Lessons from Stiff Necks: A nation’s leader sets the moral compass
The second lesson we learn is that a nation’s leader sets the moral compass of the entire nation. Whenever we see an evil king that forsakes God, we find the people following the king in the same behaviors and practices. If the king practice idolatry, so did the people. If the king sacrificed his own child to a false god, so did the people. They practiced witchcraft, soothsaying and “sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord to provoke Him to anger” (2 Kings 17: 17). And in 2 Kings 17:13-14, we find that they did not follow God’s commandments and statutes. If the king’s heart was bent towards sin and evil, so was the people’s.
Today, we can learn from what the Bible tells us about Israel’s kings and understand just how important the right to vote is. As a democracy, we the people choose who will be the leader of our nation and as Christians, we have the responsibility to learn all we can about the candidates running for any political office. We also have a responsibility to pray for them once in office – even if it’s not the person we voted for.
Lessons from Stiff Necks: Turning away from God always has consequences
The third lesson we can learn is that turning away from God always has consequences. It wasn’t like God didn’t warn the nation. He did – time and time again through prophet after prophet. Yet they chose not hear God’s warnings. They stubbornly chose to live like the rest of the world around them. Finally, God had enough and the Assyrians conquer them and carry them away as captives. The Israelites lost the Promised Land.
We need leaders of integrity following after God
These lessons can be applied to nations or to any leader. If you are a supervisor with a team of people under your supervision, you set the tone for your team and how they will treat each other and work together. If you are a pastor, how you lead the church you have been called to we affect the spiritual and moral climate of that body of believers. We need to be leaders of integrity following after God and leading those under our responsibility to follow God’s commands and statutes.
God offers the chance to change
Because God is merciful, He does offer us the chance to change. The Israelites had prophets sent by God to bring conviction. Today, God works through the Holy Spirit that dwells within Christians to bring conviction. He can also send people into our lives to convict us when we are living outside of His will. It might be through the words of a friend, a sermon from the pastor, a devotional on a website, or a song on the radio.
The Israelites had the opportunity to turn back to God, and when we are living in sin, we also have the choice of repenting and turning back to God or we can be like Israel and stiffen our necks and stubbornly continue in the sin. But if we continue sinning God will eventually say, “Enough!” and He will step in with consequences.
What sin are you stubbornly hanging on to? Will you be a stiff-necked person with an unrepentant heart? Or will you listen to the conviction of the Holy Spirit and turn back to God? If you are a leader or pastor, are you leading with integrity and Godly principles that direct people to God?
Now you can enhance your Bible Reading with the Verse Mapping Template
Our Verse Mapping download is FREE and includes 6 pages: 3 pages of instructions for using the template and the 2 page template, plus the cover page. If you’re looking to go deeper into God’s Word, learn more about God and develop a stronger spiritual life, Verse Mapping will help you dig into the scriptures. As you apply God’s Word to your life, you will develop a more intimate knowledge and relationship with God.Verse Mapping
Download our Free 2021 Bible Memory Verse Plan
We’ve put together 52 memory verses for you to hide God’s Word in your heart! You can download the full document for free and then print a new verse each week and as many copies as you’d like. Each verse prints four times on a page so that you can then cut them into index size cards and place them in prominent places where you will see them frequently throughout the day to help you remember to memorize them. Just because you visited our site, they’re yours for free! Download today.2021 Memory Verse Plan
Download our Free 2021 Daily Bible Reading Plan
With just 30-40 minutes per day, you can read the entire Bible in one year. The One-Year Bible Reading Plan consists of both Old Testament and New Testament readings for each day of the year. The Bible is God’s personal Word to you. What is He saying to you today? Open your Bible and find out!One Year Bible Reading Plan
Download our Free Self-Care Wheel
The Self-Care Wheel provides ideas for practicing self-care in six dimensions of yourself: Spiritual, Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Sensory, and Social. NOTE: You will need 11X14 paper to print the wheel.
Want to know more about self-care? Our Self-Care blog series targets people who serve in any ministry position and takes a Biblical approach to self-care.Self Care Wheel
This week’s featured Christian Tees designs:
Our freedoms come from the sacrifice of many. Memorial day is the day we remember and honor those who sacrificed. It’s also a good time to come together as a nation and pray for God to Bless the USA.
See our graduation tees and products:
Once in the store, you can click on the customize tab and add your school name or graduate’s name!
The slide show below highlights some of our favorite Christian Tees designs available in our Spreadshop and Teespring stores.
Canvas art and posters are available in the Teespring store. Many of our Christian Tees are also available at Teespring.
To see the collection of Canvas and Poster Prints
Need some music to get you through the day? Check out one of our Playlists on YouTube
You can also watch our animated devotionals on the YouTube Channel
God, Love and Marshmallow Wars by Julia M. Bruce
What’s Inside God, Love and Marshmallow Wars?
God, Love and Marshmallow Wars is a book that includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:
- Scripture to memorize and meditate on.
- Conversation Starters.
- Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages.
- Romance Builders.
- Relationship Builders.
- Personal reflections.
- Date ideas.
- Group date ideas for you and other Christian couples.
Available in hardback, paperback and ebook from Westbow Press Bookstore, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Click the icons below to purchase from your preferred bookstore. Now also available at WalMart online.
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