1 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Depart and go up from here, you and the people whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt, to the land of which I swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, ‘To your descendants I will give it.’ 2 And I will send My Angel before you, and I will drive out the Canaanite and the Amorite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite. 3 Go up to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.”4 And when the people heard this bad news, they mourned, and no one put on his ornaments. 5 For the LORD had said to Moses, “Say to the children of Israel, ‘You are a stiff-necked people. I could come up into your midst in one moment and consume you. Now therefore, take off your ornaments, that I may know what to do to you.’” 6 So the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by Mount Horeb. (Genesis 33:1-6)
We are saved by grace, through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God; not because of our works, lest anyone should boast ... we have been saved for the purpose of doing good works, which God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Self-righteous, stiff-neckedness is an insistence that we can save ourselves; it is an insistence that we ourselves know what is good and what is bad, and we do not need God to help us in the process of making ourselves appear to be good in the eyes of men. However, God looks upon the heart, and He sees the motives for our "good works", and He sees the evil works that are done under the cover of darkness. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. There is none who has done good, no not one. Even the plowing of the wicked is sin.
God patiently waits for us to rend our hearts, to fall upon His Son, and in utter contempt for our own hopeless propensity to all things evil, cry out for mercy and grace. If we will humble ourselves in the presence of a Holy God, He will lift us up in due season.
Oh, Lord! I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips. Your judgments are justly in the land, for we are truly a stiff-necked people. Lord, in Your judgment, remember Your mercy. Lord, save those who have been made righteous through faith in the Atonement of Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ; humble sinners, and grant them the gift of repentance and saving faith; and the hardened wicked, remove from the face of the earth. Cleanse our land so that You may dwell amongst us; judgment must begin at the House of God, and if the righteous scarcely be saved, what shall be the end of the wicked.
I am burdened with the condition of much of the church in Australia. I am saddened by the manifest depravity of our general culture. I am witnessing the Lord coming into our midst suddenly, in one moment, and consuming the accumulated dross in the judgments of fire, flood and economic downturn. Where are those who will call our nation to repentance? Where are those who will call sin, "Exceeding sinful"? Abortion = the sin of murder; debt financing = the sin of covetousness; dating = the sin of concupiscence; homosexuality/adultery/fornication = sin; pluralism = the sin of polytheism; egalitarianism = the sin of the rejection of the sovereignty of God; etc. ...
We live in a cesspit of sin, we are bombarded with the sewerage of sin from our television sets, and we wonder why we are facing, today, an Angry God.