Okay, so this is not the “happy go lucky,” “God is amazing” Scripture verse that typically gets focused on. Curse God and die. Wow. No, I’m not telling you to do this. I promise.
Let me explain what is going on here. Job; we’ve all heard of him, right? He’s the guy in the Bible who had a great life. He was rich. He had a large family and great friends. He loved and feared God so much that nothing Satan did to him swayed his opinion. Sure, he cried out in anguish – he’s human after all – but he continued to praise God. He lost his livestock, he lost his children, he lost his servants. His response to this was, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised” (Job 1:21). In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing (Job 1:22)
I’m going to come right out and say that it’s not easy to continue praising God in these times. Times of trial, times of loss. But it did not stop Job from praising him. He saw his situation in a light most of us probably wouldn’t think of. He came with nothing, so of course he should leave with nothing.
In chapter two, where we find the above verse, he was afflicted with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head (Job 2:7). Satan was trying hard to get Job to curse God. So taking away everything from him didn’t work. Okay, let’s try physical pain and suffering. Job, however, refused to rise to the challenge. Verse 8 simply says, Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. If you’ve read my previous posts, you know that I am very visual. I picture Job, everything around him destroyed, just sitting there, nonchalantly picking up a piece of pottery that had been broken in the previous destruction, scratching at his sores. He’s not getting angry, he’s not yelling out. He’s just sitting there, looking around, scratching.
Now, I’m sure that’s not exactly how it went down. I’m sure he was upset, distraught, confused, but in my eyes he acted like one of those people who isn’t fazed by anything, and you just want to shake them.
And that’s where the devil was at work again. The Bible doesn’t say, “Satan went to Job’s wife and told her to say this,” but we know her words were from him nonetheless. Another test. A stumbling block. Job’s wife was placed there to aid Satan’s cause. But it failed yet again. In verse 10 Job says, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
In my Bible the footnote for that verse states that the word foolish means “moral deficiency.” I’m going to guess that his wife did not have the strongest faith in God. Therefore, she was easily swayed. The first part of 1 Peter 2:8 quotes Isaiah stating, “A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” This was directed to those who did not believe. Peter continues by saying, They stumble because they disobey the message. This was Job’s wife. She allowed herself to be used to try to sway her husband to disobey God. She did this by her lack of faith in Him.
You might be looking at her and saying to yourself, “That’s awful. Why would she do that? She must have been a terrible person to do such a thing.” Was she? We don’t know the exact details of Job’s wife, but it really doesn’t matter. We know the details of ourselves. How many times have we become a stumbling block for someone else? Do we do it to be malicious, or do we do it out of love? Do we even realize we’re doing it?
I have a bad habit of doing this to my husband. It’s not the same situation as Job, my husband isn’t being harmed, but it is a situation where if I’m not careful I can hurt him.
It seems to happen every time he learns something new about how to work with our children. Here I am, trying to get him to treat them better, to try something different, to have more patience. He’s a great dad, don’t get me wrong. He loves his kids and he’s a great teacher to them. He just doesn’t always get it. Then he comes home and has this great new thing he wants to try, something he learned at church or in something he read. I start to get upset because it feels like he’s judging me and telling me what I should do, even though I’ve been the one this entire time trying to get him to act better. I’m with the kids longer than he is, and I know what works and what doesn’t. I don’t have all the answers, but I know what has worked and do that. So I get defensive causing him to stop his excitement in what he learned, and then he ultimately gives up.
This weekend the same thing happened. My husband was at a conference at church that had to deal with working with difficult children. The principles he learned could be applied to any child, and he was thrilled to start using them on our children and on our niece and nephew who are living with us at the moment. Knowing how I’ve been in the past I added into my prayer time that God not allow me to be a stumbling block for my husband. I know he doesn’t do any of this to put me down or boost himself up. He really is one of those people who gets excited about something and can’t help but share it. I tend to have some of that myself, so of course I should understand. But since I still felt as though I was on trial, I needed God’s help to keep me from getting in his way.
I didn’t want to share any of this with my husband, because I felt that if I did that confession in and of itself would cause him to stumble. I was doing okay with this, though I was very uncomfortable.
Monday morning my husband called me. He was on his way to work and received a word from God. He was told that he was to be a “father to the fatherless.” For some reason that ended up rubbing me the wrong way. I wasn’t mad, just unsure of where that left me. Selfish, I know, but that’s how I felt. I prayed while still on the phone with him, and God told me that I was to be my husband’s helpmate and support. I wasn’t being “left out,” I just wasn’t supposed to be a big part of this plan. It was for my husband, after all, and I was okay with that.
Well, Monday night came and life wasn’t going as joyously as I would have liked it to. I became upset with him, feeling as though he was telling me what to do with our baby when I’m with him day in and day out and know what I’m doing. I couldn’t hold myself back, and he could tell that I was unhappy. Long story short, we ended up talking that night about my feelings, and he told me that he knew how I get and that he didn’t even want to share the latest development with me because of it. Yeah, that hurt, but he explained that he didn’t want to hurt me which is why he struggled against telling me. However, he lost the fight against God, knowing that I was supposed to be informed of all that was going on. Through this I was able to share my feelings, and the idea that I could make him stumble was taken away. It’s a great feeling. It feels as though I was freed.
1 Corinthians 10:32 says, Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God. That’s what I wanted to fight in myself, and I was able to with the help of the one I wanted to hide it from.
Psalm 119:165 says, Great peace have they who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble. God was there with us in all of this, and through faith in Him we were able to work this issue out without any harm done.
I like what Psalm 37:24 says: Though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand. There will be times when we slip up. We will cause someone to stumble, or we will stumble ourselves. But through our faith in God we will not fall. He will pick us right back up and set our feet back on the path that He has laid out for us.
In your life, is there a situation where you have made yourself a stumbling block? Are you keeping someone from moving forward? It may not be the same situation I have. Sometimes we listen to the ones we love and get upset for them. If they have been wronged we are right there to defend them and let them know how awful that person is who wronged them. By doing this we are placing a stone onto their path, causing them to stumble. Instead, we need to be supportive of them, not perpetuate the situation, the feelings. We could ask them how we could help them move on from this, or we could just be good listeners.
We tend to do harm out of love. It’s because we love the person that we get in their way. I’m sure Job’s wife loved him. She didn’t want to see him hurt like he was. Of course she was affected by all of this. She just chose to deal with it in a different way. Job continued to praise God in all things. She did not.
These blocks, or stones, come in all different shapes, colors and sizes. Our job is to recognize them in ourselves and not allow them to fall onto the path of anyone we may come into contact with. As Christians, as God-fearing people, we need to help build people up, not help them to slip. Seek God in this. It is by your faith in Him that you will succeed.
Lord, thank You for taking away the burden I had, the fear that I would become a stumbling block for the man I love, the man who You chose for me. Help me to see the times where I would be more of a harm, a hindrance, to anyone I talk to. Help me not to let them stumble through my own anger or selfishness, and help me to remember that even through love, if I’m not careful, I may make them slip. Help me to always build up, Lord. In Your name, Amen.