Stiff Necked or Stripped Down? The Choice Between Ornaments and Obedience

the choice between ornaments and obedience || TeriLynneUnderwood.com

I’m never really sure what to do after Easter. I guess that sounds strange … but it almost feels anticlimactic, these first few days after the somber reflection of Lent leading to Good Friday, the silence of Holy Saturday, and the celebration of Resurrection Sunday. Yesterday Scott had his first real day off since we got home from my parents’ house after Spring Break.

I cleaned out my closet and ended up with seven bags of clothes to donate. {The emotions and realizations from all of that will have to be another post!} We opened windows and let the spring breezes flow throughout the house. We gave ourselves permission to rest. We desperately needed that space to breathe after the hectic pace of Easter preparations in the worship leader’s house.

This morning I placed God for Us, the devotional I had used for Lent, alongside God with Us, my favorite Christmas devotional. I wondered, “What now?” Where do I go next? Where do any of us go after we encounter the cross and risen tomb?

Before Ash Wednesday I was using Whispers of Hope by Beth Moore for my morning devotions. I reached over and grabbed it, opening to the last page I had read in March. I slowly turned to the next devotion and opened my Bible to Exodus 33. God has commanded the people to leave Sinai but, due to their disobedience in making the golden calf, He has said,

God up to a land flowing with milk and honey, but I will not go with up among you, lest I consume you on the way, for you are a stiff-necked people.” {Exodus 33:3}

Wow. God is going to give them what He has promised. They will receive the full measure of their inheritance as His people … but they will not have Him.

In Exodus 33:4-6, we read,

When the people heard this disastrous word, they mourned, and no one put on his ornaments. For the Lord had said to Moses, “Say to the people of Israel, ‘You are a stiff-necked people; if for a single moment I should go up among you, I would consume you. So now take off your ornament, that I may know what to do with you.'” Therefore the people of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments, from Mount Hebron onward.

But here’s the thing, the issue wasn’t their ornaments. It was, as it always is, their hearts.

God wanted them to let go of the things they believed had value, the things they believed made them valuable, and come before Him stripped down and knowing He is the only One of value and through Him they became valuable, His children.

I sat there this morning and wrote this question in my journal:

What ornaments do I need to be stripped of? What are the things I cling to as valuable …

Maybe you need to ask yourself the same question. When we cling to the ornaments of this world, we too are stiff-necked people. God’s call is the same to us … to be stripped down of all the ornaments of this life, all the stuff we hold tight in our hands and hearts believing it makes us worthy and valuable. We are faced with this:

The choice between ornaments and obedience.

As the glow of Easter fades, we must decide for ourselves … ornaments or obedience? What will you choose?

Choosing Him,

Teri Lynne

{For links to the books I mentioned in this post, see my recommended resources in the sidebar!}

Image source: CanstockPhoto.com

2 Replies to “Stiff Necked or Stripped Down? The Choice Between Ornaments and Obedience”

  1. Wow! That is a great question and great insight. Thank you for writing this Teri Lynne.

  2. Oh man. I cling to SO many ornaments! Thanks for posting.

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