He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
Are you rebellious or stubborn? Do you ignore correction or instruction? Has God convicted you often about something that you have not changed? Have authorities or teachers in your life reminded you about a duty or matter you refuse to correct?
Almighty God is patient and longsuffering. He is gracious and merciful. But He is not so forever! Any person rejecting His many offers of wisdom and correction will be destroyed without warning. There will be no recovery from the judgment. Rebellion and stubbornness are heinous sins against the most high God, and He will not overlook them.
Here is one of the most frightening warnings in Scripture – for those who play with sin and rebel against reproof. Wise readers will read, consider, and remember this grave description of how God deals with scorners. This text ought to be in every church bulletin and on the face of every pulpit, for rejecting preaching and Scripture is very serious. Parents sometimes say, “Do not make me say it again.” But so does the LORD of heaven!
God reproves by various means – parents, friends, magistrates, ministers, conscience, Scripture, the Spirit, circumstances, and nature. But many harden their necks – or rebel – by rejecting His correction outright or hearing it without changing (II Kgs 17:14; Neh 9:16,29). By many reproofs, God is fair and kind. By despising His fairness and kindness, men deserve His severe judgment, for they are brutishly wicked (Pr 5:12; 10:17; 12:1).
The LORD will come in His time to destroy such men. No matter what efforts they make for protection, or how highly others esteem them, He will crush and destroy them (Pr 6:12-15; 28:18; Is 30:12-14; Zec 7:11-14; I Thes 5:2-3). The ruin of their lives will be without healing or recovery. God will laugh (Pr 1:22-31). God turned Lot’s life upside down in a cave with his daughters pregnant by incest for daily ignoring his vexed soul.
In this day of effeminate and carnal Christianity, such a warning falls on deaf ears. These so-called Christians have created a god to their own liking who is “watching from a distance” and overlooks their sins (Ps 50:21). But what does He say? “Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver” (Ps 50:22).
Rebellion and stubbornness are heinous sins, regardless of outward worship (I Sam 15:22-23). The LORD counts rebellion as witchcraft and stubbornness as idolatry and iniquity. Careful listening and obedience are far more important than formal ceremony. Because Saul rejected God’s reproofs, He ripped the kingdom from him irretrievably.
When God saw man’s great wickedness 1,536 years after Creation, He sent Noah to preach and warn them for 120 years (Gen 6:1-7). When they rejected that kindness, He suffocated every single one, young and old, in the waters of the Flood (Gen 7:21-24).
Consider Pharaoh, who proudly hardened his neck against Moses’ reproofs. The LORD despised Egypt and desolated their nation from every angle. Suddenly their firstborn were dead and Pharaoh suffocated at sea. Israel quickly took Egypt’s wealth into Canaan.
Eli’s sons rejected their father’s rebukes for their sins, so the LORD killed them both in one day. Because Eli himself had not forcibly restrained them from their evil, the great God completely wiped out his family tree, even though he was the high priest of Israel.
Judas Iscariot hardened his neck against the most gracious Reprover ever, even though He had witnessed His perfect righteousness up close and personally for three years. He scattered his own bowels by suicide in an open field on his way to an eternity in hell.
Ahab, king of Israel, married the wicked Jezebel, who stirred him up to do evil (I Kgs 21:25). They both rejected the reproofs of Elijah. Though disguised and in armor, Ahab was killed by a chance arrow (I Kgs 22:34-35). The blessed God had Jezebel thrown from an upper window, trampled by a horse, and eaten by dogs (II Kgs 9:30-37).
God loved His people Israel. But when they had mocked His messengers, despised His words, and misused His prophets, His wrath against them rose until there was no remedy (II Chron 36:15-17). He sent Nebuchadnezzar with the Babylonian armies to utterly destroy them without regard for young, or old, or females. Consider it well, reader!
God saw Nebuchadnezzar’s great pride and wickedness, so He sent Daniel and his friends with warning reproofs (Dan 1:17-20; 2:24-30,46-48; 3:24-30; 4:19-27). But when the great king rebelled anyway, God reduced him to an animal for seven years (Dan 4:28-33). He could have had a lengthening of his tranquility, but he chose to harden his neck. Only by great mercy did Nebuchadnezzar’s humility remedy the situation (Dan 4:34-37).
In mercy, God gave Israel another chance 70 years later, when He regathered them to Jerusalem. But they again rejected His prophets, apostles, and then His Son, so He sent the Roman armies to obliterate them by horrific destruction. Yet He warned by Daniel and for forty years before doing it (Matt 21:33-46; 22:1-7; Luke 19:41-44; Acts 2:40).
The church at Thyatira allowed a false prophetess named Jezebel to compromise the purity of the gospel (Rev 2:20). The Lord Jesus Christ gave her only “a space of time to repent,” then He purposed to destroy her and her followers with death (Rev 2:21-23). Are you in your “space of time” for some sin for which you have been often reproved?
If you are froward – difficult or rebellious – that is how the LORD will treat you. “With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward” (Ps 18:26). God “repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face” (Deut 7:10).
How do you hear preaching (I Thess 5:20)? God does not owe any man truth or wisdom (Gen 32:10). If you neglect or reject correction, He will judge you severely. One of the basic lessons of Proverbs is to humbly receive instruction, lest you be classified and judged as a fool or scorner (Pr 9:12; 13:1; 15:12; 21:29; 28:14). Learn the lesson here!
To refuse instruction is to despise your own soul, for you deprive yourself of the best thing in life and bring destruction upon yourself (Pr 15:32). What folly! When you sin against the correction and instruction of wisdom, you wrong your own soul; when you hate reproof, you must love death (Pr 8:36). God will come to destroy you. What folly!
Reader, what sin in your life has been often reproved? Has it been preached against? Does your conscience smite you? Have others warned you? Have you been reminded of it from other sources and by other means? The clock is ticking. The longsuffering of God is expiring. Judgment is coming. Flee! Repent! Today! Before it is irremediably too late!
Daniel said it well to Nebuchadnezzar, “Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquility” (Dan 4:27). But the king rejected God’s gracious warning and brought upon himself horrible judgment.
There is no hiding from this dread Sovereign. All the thoughts and intents of your heart, and your secret sins, are naked and opened to Him (Heb 4:12-13). “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Num 32:23)! “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal 6:7). Tremble before Him today. Repent!
Jesus is LORD! He may be your Saviour; but He is your LORD! Every tongue shall confess He is LORD in the Day of Judgment (Phil 2:9-11). He has the keys of hell and death (Rev 1:18). When He opens, no man shuts; when He shuts, no man opens (Rev 3:7). If you are resisting His warnings about any sin, you face dreadful consequences.
He breaks His enemies into shivers – small fragments, as a rod of iron shatters pottery (Ps 2:9; Rev 2:27). And he will laugh at them and have them in derision (Ps 2:4). If a man will hear His teachings and fall on Him in repentance, he will be broken; but if He must fall on a rebellious man, He will grind that man to powder (Matt 21:44). Repent today!