A Terrible Warning
“A man who remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will
suddenly be destroyed, without remedy.” (Prov. 29:1, NIV)
To “harden one's neck” means to obstinately refuse wise counsel, and stubbornly insist on doing as one pleases, no matter what. (2 Ki 17:14; Ne 9:16). The word destroyed literally means "shivered" or "utterly broken to pieces". “Without remedy" literally means, "without healing or repairing".
Other versions of the Bible say it this way: “He, that being often reproved hardens his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” (KJV) “Whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be destroyed beyond recovery.” (NLT) Or “One who becomes stiff-necked after many reprimands will be shattered instantly, beyond recovery.” HCSB)
It really doesn't matter which version of the Bible we prefer, the message of this one single verse could not be any clearer. Those who are stubborn and hard-headed, who refuse to be corrected but insist on going on in their rebellious, hard-hardhearted ways, have a dire future. They will be utterly destroyed, and there will be no help available to them, and no fixing the mess they find themselves in.
Just as a loving earthly father corrects his children to teach them, God lovingly chastises His children, as well. In fact, the Bible assures us that such correction from God is because He loves us, and if we are not being chastened, we are not truly His child. The purpose of God's chastisement is always correction and teaching, not merely punishment, and we would be wise to learn from His chastisements.
And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks unto you as unto children, My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you are rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loves he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives.
If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chastens not? But if you be without chastisement, of which all are partakers, then are you illegitimate children, and not sons.
Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh who corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them who are trained by it. (Heb. 12:5-11; KJV 2000)