The former things I declared of old;
they went out from my mouth, and I announced them;
then suddenly I did them, and they came to pass.
Because I know that you are obstinate,
and your neck is an iron sinew
and your forehead brass,
I declared them to you from of old,
before they came to pass I announced them to you,
lest you should say, “My idol did them,
my carved image and my metal image commanded them.”
Yahweh knew that when he poured out his grace on Israel that they would glorify their idols and not him. He knew that they were obstinate. That their neck was forged, strong, virtually immovable, keeping their eyes focused on their little hand-made gods. Faces like flint in their idolatry.
Yahweh knew. All of this.
So he put a sovereign bridle in the mouse of this mule. He foretold his work, so that he could preclude Israel’s foolishness and idolatry. He overcame their obstinancy with his lovingkindness.
Paul might have had this verse (or one like it) in mind when he joyfully exclaimed, “Where sin abounded, grace abounded all the more” (Rom 5:20).
Grace, grace, God’s grace; grace that is greater than all my sin. Grace that bridles my stubborn, idol-focused neck into acknowledging that “from everlasting to everlasting, you alone are God!”