February 12 I Sunday
“If anyone causes one of these little ones–those who believe in Me–to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung round their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” —Matthew 18:6
The opening verse of this devotion uses some strong language that does not sound Jesus-like; yet, it is part of Jesus’s teaching. Now, why would Jesus say that? Because He is protective of those who are weak and vulnerable. We live in a world that is fallen and we have a sinful nature that fights against the spirit. Jesus adds, “Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble!...but woe to the person through whom they come!” (Matthew 18:7). There is one thing worse than sinning ourselves, and that is leading others into sin.
The story in 1 Kings 13 illustrates this truth. There was a young man of God who came to Bethel, he stood before the altar and began to speak. It was a dramatic message. When King Jeroboam, who was king at the time, heard it, he stretched out his hand and said to his servants, “Seize him!” However, when the king stretched out his hand, it shrivelled. He asked the young man, “Intercede with the LORD your God and pray for me that my hand may be restored.” The young man interceded and the king’s hand was restored. The king invited the young man to stay and eat a meal but he declined saying, “For I was commanded by the word of the LORD: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water or return by the way you came.’”
Meanwhile, an old prophet in the town of Bethel heard about this young man of God. He got on his donkey to go find and invite him to his home for a meal. The young man declined with the same response that he gave the king. But the old prophet retorted with a lie: “…an angel said to me by the word of the LORD: ‘Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water.’” The young man trusted this old prophet and returned with him. During the meal, the Spirit of God came on the old prophet and he said to the young man, “You have defied the word of the LORD and have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you.” When the young man saddled his donkey to set off on his journey, a lion met him on the road and killed him.
This is a tragic story of an old prophet, who should have known better, leading a young man into sin by lying and manipulating him for his own end. Our life can either be a signpost or a stumbling block to godliness; we need to heed to Jesus’s warning and not lead people into sin.
Prayer: Precious Lord, please do not let me be a stumbling block to people’s faith. I ask that my faith journey with You will be a signpost to godliness for others. Thank You, Lord.
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