Call it the “Ryan’s Amplified” but this scripture could also read: “A man who is regularly corrected, chastised and rebuked who instead of softening becomes more dense and hardens his back will, faster than a blink of an eye and at an unexpected moment, be completely broken and torn asunder with absolutely no hope of healing, restoration or deliverance!”
Doesn’t sound like the greasy grace stuff you hear in some churches, does it? While obviously a warning to not be stiff necked, there is more to this proverb than meets the eye. I think it’s interesting that we are told the destruction of the stiff necked man will be “sudden”. After all, this stubborn, stiff necked man has already had “many” rebukes. So the destruction that arrives suddenly wasn’t totally unexpected, was it?
It reminds me of the story of the people of Israel in Egypt. Pharaoh was told MANY times by Moses to “Let my people go!” (Exodus 5:1) He was given MANY signs over many days of God’s power to make his life a miserable mess. He even agreed several times to let the people of God go, only to go back on his promise. (Exodus 8:15) This is telling us that “repentance” without action is meaningless. Another time he had conditions for their release that God did not accept. (Exodus 10:11) This is telling us that when God tells us to do something we must do it HIS way! Doing the right thing the wrong way is still wrong. Pharaoh got no points for obeying on his terms and neither do we.
The morning after the Passover, the Israelites awoke to the sound of weeping and wailing filling all of Egypt. The Lord came at midnight (Exodus 12:29) and wiped out all of Egypt’s firstborn males. Their destruction had come “suddenly” that evening.
But it wasn’t really suddenly, was it?
Treat every rebuke as if your life depended on heeding it. It just might.