A flint-faced follower
When we hear the word “desert” most of us likely imagine an expansive area of windblown beach-like sand with a searing sun baking down. While the Judean desert does have its share of seeming unending sun and sand it also has an abundance of rock.
Flint is a sedimentary rock formed out of small bits of quartz. It is often found as nodules in sedimentary rocks such as chalk. It was generally used to make stone tools and arrowheads as well as functioning as a ready fire-starter.
The expression “to set one’s face as a flint” refers to the hardness of the mineral and means to be “resolute amidst all contempt and scorn,” to have “made up one’s mind to endure,” to never shrink back from suffering or difficulty in the accomplishment of one’s goal.
Isaiah prophesied, “Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.” (Isa. 50:7)
God called Ezekiel to go to a people “unwilling to listen,” “hardened and obstinate,” “But,” said Jehovah, “I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people.” (see Ezek. 3:4-9)
In Hebrews the author cites the prophets and urges wearied believers, “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For ‘In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.’ And, ‘But my righteous one will live by faith. And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.’ But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.” (Heb. 10:36-39)
When the Apostle Paul wrote to young-in-the-faith Timothy he said, “Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer.” (1 Tim. 2:3-4).
In this we are reminded that we are at war. “In this world you will have tribulation,” said Jesus. “We fight against principalities and powers,” said Paul. “Do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you,” said Peter (1 Pet. 4:12).
Press on…. Why? Because “I have overcome the world… I will never leave you,” says Jesus. “We are more than conquerors… Nothing can separate us from the love of God,” says Paul. “Rejoice!… Praise God!” says Peter.
In Christ we have every reason to be likewise “flint-faced” as we follow Him faithfully wherever He leads.