I had a question sent to me from a youth who sought to know how to handle the transition from a youth camp, a conference, or event in which they have genuinely been in the presence of the Most High and then to return home and have the fire go out.
When we return home, we are not just returning to a building or a familiar place where we feel safe. We are returning to a context. We are returning to real life and real temptations and real issues in relationships. And those are full of what we are going to talk about in this post.
Isn't it strange that princes and kings
And clowns that caper in sawdust rings
And common folk like you and me
Are the builders of eternity.
To each is given a bag of tools,
A shapeless mass and a book of rules;
And each must make, ere time is flown,
A stumbling-block or a stepping-stone.
R. L. Sharpe, Major Edward Bowes, "Verses I like," Garden City Publishing Company, Inc., 1937.
The Hebrew words for this subject are:
Cawshall – To Stumble
MikShall – Stumbling Block
And the Greek is:
Scandalon – moral or ethical falling away, snare –
A situation, decision, or attitude that causes someone to stumble, or falter morally or ethically; keeps an individual from righteousness.
The first place this phrase is used is in:
Leviticus 19:14 - 'You shall not curse a deaf man nor place a stumbling block before the blind, but you shall revere your God; I am the LORD.”
And this principle is FOUR VERSES before Leviticus 19:18 in which we are commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves.
The verse regarding causing another to stumble is one of the commandments against out and out cruelty and inevitably it makes us search ourselves and see what in us would cause us to exploit such a deficiency. The blind, the deaf, the mentally handicapped are human beings but when we have a brother or sister who does not have what humans are designed to have, we are presented with a choice. The choice becomes whether we choose to illustrate our compassion and loyalty, or demonstrate our ugliness and cruelty.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks in front of the Hebrews today is Conspiracy Theories. The Father commanded His people not to look at Conspiracy Theories because they instill fear and take their eyes off of Him and place them on the world and the Adversary’s activities.
Isaiah 8: 11-15 “For thus the Lord spoke to me with mighty power and instructed me not to walk in the way of this people, saying, "You are not to say, 'It is a conspiracy!' In regard to all that this people call a conspiracy, And you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it. "It is the Lord of hosts whom you should regard as holy. And He shall be your fear, And He shall be your dread. "Then He shall become a sanctuary; But to both the houses of Israel, a stone to strike and a rock to stumble over, And a snare and a trap for the inhabitants of Jerusalem. "Many will stumble over them, Then they will fall and be broken; They will even be snared and caught."
I have spoken with people who never talk about the Messiah but talk about who the Anti-Messiah is ad nauseum. I find this truly sad and I see now why the Father does not want us looking to anything but Him and His glory because anything else is unworthy of our attention that we owe Him!
When we refuse to change our direction and focus back to Him, He will inevitably place something in our path to tell us that we are walking toward destruction.
Jeremiah 6:21 “Therefore, thus says the LORD, "Behold, I am laying stumbling blocks before this people. And they will stumble against them, Fathers and sons together; Neighbor and friend will perish."
What are the stumbling blocks truly?
Ezekiel 14: 1-6 “Then some elders of Israel came to me and sat down before me. 2 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 3 "Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts and have put right before their faces the stumbling block of their iniquity. Should I be consulted by them at all? 4 "Therefore speak to them and tell them, 'Thus says the Lord God, "Any man of the house of Israel who sets up his idols in his heart, puts right before his face the stumbling block of his iniquity, and then comes to the prophet, I the Lord will be brought to give him an answer in the matter in view of the multitude of his idols, 5 in order to lay hold of the hearts of the house of Israel who are estranged from Me through all their idols."' 6 "Therefore say to the house of Israel, 'Thus says the Lord God, "Repent and turn away from your idols and turn your faces away from all your abominations.”
The uncleanness within us is what draws us to sinful practices and idols. We have emotions, urges, and strongholds that stand against the truth of the Father in our hearts and in so following the impulses tied to these, we submit our will to them and bow to them.
Matthew 16:23 “But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's."
Looking to compromise the Messiah’s will power and will power is what the stumbling block comes directly against whether it is the will power to do right or the will power to do the wrong thing. People actually don’t like the word “willpower” because it draws up a call to action or a change of behavior.
Willpower exists. Some have more than others and some misuse theirs for a personal purpose and that purpose may be malevolent. However, it exists. I use to believe that I had no willpower until I did a study on self-control.
2 Timothy 1:7 “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
We hear self-control and immediately think of everything we have to KEEP ourselves from. However, willpower is inevitably part of the equation. We can’t just keep ourselves from doing something. We have to push ourselves to act against our flesh and the Adversary to strive toward righteousness.
David knew he was going to defeat Goliath but he still had to stride onto the battlefield!
We do have to tell ourselves no, but if that’s all we do, we will never do anything! So we need both edges of the sword. Our willpower HAS GOT TO BE TIED TO THE LOVE OF YHVH!
Matthew 18:7 "Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!”
When we judge, we sour the forgiveness and grace we all have been shown and attempt to sour a brother’s spirit and introduce strife into their lives and into the assembly.
Romans 14:13 “But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written, "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall give praise to God." So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother's way. I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.”
The Romans whom he is speaking to are coming out of gross idolatry and are being convicted of the Spirit and have memories that Jews don’t have. They have blood on their hands that the Jews don’t have. They have partaken in practices that are against YHVH. I understand now why some people keep themselves from certain elements of our culture. To come from the Occult and into the light means that I have memories tied to the filthy practices of the world and to me personally, I have come to really guard my eyes during the months of September and October because of Halloween. I focus in another area. It hurts my eyes to see and hear the names of pagan gods from my Hebrew brothers who use these names of deities frivolously during these months. The names of Samhain and other terms tied to that season touch something deeply painful in me. I hear it more from them than I hear it from the pagans. I love hearing about Yom Teruah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot! The light!
With regard to stumbling blocks, you will never get someone to turn against their own personal moral, ethical, and theological convictions. You have seen it among ourselves when we try to point out elements of knowledge that we would like to share among one another and our brothers and sisters turn their heads from it.
People may listen to your beliefs and may adopt your views on certain subjects and viewpoints, but strong people are not going to go against their gut instinct and yes, that it is a real scriptural principle. What is needed when these differences in viewpoints show up is love and loyalty to one another.
Revelation 2:14 'But I have a few things against you, because you have there some who hold the teaching of Balaam, who kept teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit acts of immorality."
Are we Hebrews placing stumbling blocks before our brothers and the world by our bitterness, paranoia, and general attitudes of condescension? Through our generalized attitude and spirit in this movement, are we turning weak brothers away because of our arrogance?
1 Corinthians 8: 1-3 “Now concerning things sacrificed to idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies. 2 If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know; 3 but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him.”
When we puff ourselves up, we are making ourselves arrogant and being arrogant is the first step toward stumbling.
Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling.”
1 John 2:10 “The one who loves his brother abides in the Light and there is no cause for stumbling in him.”
If we humble ourselves and tie our willpower to YHVH’s love for this world, we will not stumble.
“The Father on the day of judgment will ask you one question. Did you believe that I loved you?”
If we can answer that question with yes, then we will move further under His wings and fly with Him wherever He takes us to preach light to a darkened world.
Isaiah 57:14 “And it will be said, "Build up, build up, prepare the way, Remove every obstacle out of the way of My people."
Cole Davis and Other Contributors