Removing the StumblingblocksBro. David Chancellor
12/11/2005 6:00 PM
When thou criest, let thy companies deliver thee; but the wind shall carry them all away; vanity shall take them: but he that putteth his trust in me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain; And shall say, Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumbling block out of the way of my people. For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
“…but he that putteth his trust in me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain; and shall say, Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumbling block out of the way of my people…” As the people of God, we should desire that the stumbling blocks be taken out of the way. We need not be the obstacle in the road for those we would like to reach. We want to be a light and an example to all those around us. We’re here to be a light and an example to others, and to show forth the goodness of God. We don’t want any part of our lives to be a hindrance to those who would find God.
If ye will not hear, and if ye will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, saith the Lord of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because ye do not lay it to heart. Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it. And ye shall know that I have sent this commandment unto you, that my covenant might be with Levi, saith the Lord of hosts. My covenant was with him of life and peace; and I gave them to him for the fear wherewith he feared me, and was afraid before my name. The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity. For the priest’s lips should keep knowledge, and they should seek the law at his mouth: for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the Lord of hosts.
God set apart the tribe of Levi because of what he had seen in Levi. Moses and Aaron were from this tribe. “The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in his lips: he walked with me in peace and equity, and did turn many away from iniquity.” When we are this way, God will be with us. The priests of Malachi’s time weren’t walking this way. They were corrupt and “caused many to stumble at the law…” If we’re not careful, we could do the same thing. If we put our selfish interests ahead of God’s way, we could cause people to stumble.
The Pharisees claimed to want the old law re-established; they wanted certain pieces of it, but they opposed the one that would clean up the inside, not just the outside. We need to be able to apply the word of God to our everyday lives. Take time to think through the situation. Look deeper than just justifying your position. Look at the effect of what you want to do; will it cause others to stumble? We want to do what is right. People stumble at the word of God if it isn’t lived out as God intended it to be.
1 Corinthians 8:8-9
But meat commendeth us not to God; for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.
This focuses more on the church. With our knowledge and understanding, we can unintentionally cause others to go beyond what their understanding and conscience may allow. What do my actions encourage another to do or not do? We don’t want to be a stumblingblock to others. Our concern isn’t what others read out of our lives, but what we put before them. As we live and do, we need to be aware of the effect of our actions on others. We want our lives to influence others opinion of what a saint is for good. A saint is someone who is good to everyone. It’s someone who pays the bills, keeps their word (or keeps it is much as is humanly possible), someone whose word and intent are the same. Many are willing to take the name of Christ, but not willing to take the responsibilities that go with it. It is a big responsibility to take the name of Jesus and hold it up for honor. We can be a light to the lost if we’re careful about the influence we place before them.
But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.
We don’t need to judge our brother; God can do the job plenty well. We don’t want to put something in the way of others. Our prayer is that God would help us that we wouldn’t be the cause of someone else’s failure. This should cause us to be cautious and careful about what we say and do. Often people’s lives are changed by some small, seemingly insignificant thing. People are influenced by what they see. Our attention should be focused on not being a stumbling block. We want the qualities of God to be readily apparent in our lives. We have a responsibility to live the gospel in a right way before others. “…that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way…” We don’t want to cause anyone to miss out.
1 John 2:5-10
But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.
Love takes the stumbling blocks out. When you love someone, you will adjust your behavior to be a benefit to him. It’s easy to be indifferent to those you don’t know. They’re still people. You don’t have to say much for people to see how you live. They can watch you and develop a sense of who you are. If we have the love of God in us, there will be something about us that people can see. Our lives can have a positive impact. It can help us be someone people want to know. Loving others is the way to get the “occasion to stumble” out. We should desire to be a blessing to others, rather than a trial to them. The love of God can temper our actions and our words. Our actions need to be motivated by the love of God. When we treat others kindly, it will be easier to tell others about the goodness of God. Cast the stumblingblocks out of your life that would cause others to fall. Show forth the love of God.