Sure-footed or stumbler?
He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights. – Psalms 18:33
Leviticus 19:14 You shall not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall fear your God: I am the LORD.
4 So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.
5 “And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.
6 But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.
7 “What sorrow awaits the world, because of its stumbling blocks which tempt people to sin. Temptations are inevitable, but what sorrow awaits the person who does the tempting.
Sadly, the world is filled with natural stumbling blocks of all kinds. Stumbling blocks are often circumstances that impede or cause hesitation. A stumbling block is an obstacle or impediment, a hindrance. They are often physical obstructions which increase the likelihood of tripping and falling such as small boulders or rocks, fallen trees, etc. Not all stumbling blocks are physical. A stumbling block can be any challenge or hindrance that prevents something from being accomplished. They often hinder us in our walk with the Father.
The Father provides guidelines for right attitudes that support wise living. Vulnerable people are to be protected, and not taken advantage of.
Leviticus 19:14 You must not curse a deaf person or put a stumbling block in front of a blind person. You must fear your God; I am the LORD.
Individuals with physical limitations, the ‘deaf’ and the ‘blind’ are identified as reasonable and obvious examples of people whose physical circumstances should be respected rather than depreciated and taken advantage of. The same is true of the young and the innocent.
Matthew 18:6 But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea.
The Father takes these things very personally. He is by nature a good and loving shepherd, a helper of the helpless, and an avenger of wrong.
The Father sets the ideal, the standard for human behavior. As Lawgiver, He sets limits on human freedom. Causing harm to vulnerable people is iniquity. Iniquity is an action which is wrong in and of itself, something which is perverse. In colloquial English we might say, “that ain’t right.” When people’s consciences are not seared, iniquity tugs at our sense of right and wrong. Immanuel Kant called it our sense of “oughtness.”
REFLECT & PRAY
Adeptly dealt with, stumbling blocks can become steppingstones.
Father I am so given to stumbling in my walk with You, increase my surefootedness.
The Father is at work to equip us to deal with all the contingencies of life. He is the one that makes us strong and capable.
32God arms me with strength, and he makes my way perfect.
33 He makes me as surefooted as a deer, enabling me to stand on mountain heights.
The Father is able to provide strength and safety. Safety is not the absence of danger, but the presence of the Father.
Habakkuk 3:19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.
The one who abides yielded in intimacy will know exactly where to tread and exactly when to move. He will be like the sure-footed deer, treading exactly and rightly with every step. He will know because he hears the sure voice of God, and he will follow. The presence of God is the only safe place to be, and when we live in it, we can be sure that every step we take, big or small, will be ordained and lead by Him (Isabel Chai Chiah Hui).
So it was with Joseph.
Genesis 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.
As the Father’s children we are not immune to stumbling blocks. Although we trip and fall, we are never abandoned. He will always come to our aid. The Father always holds our hand. He prevents us from being totally and completely hurled and thrown down.
Psalm 37:24 Even if he trips, he will not fall headlong, for the LORD holds his hand.
As the Father’s children grow in strength and become more surefooted, they should endeavor to protect the vulnerable and keep them from stumbling.