What's Your Stumbling Block?

A man is walking down a one-lane road when he comes upon a large rock. The rock is so large that it's filling the entire path. Frustrated, the man turns around and goes home.

A second man is walking down the same one-lane road and comes upon the rock. Frustrated, he sits down right where he is. And there he stays.

A third man is walking down the one-lane road and comes upon the rock. He decides to go around the rock, but this leads him off course and he never reaches his destination.

A fourth man is walking down the one-lane road and comes upon the rock. He examines the rock carefully and prays for strength and courage. With God's help, the man removes the rock from the road and continues on his way.

When you meet an obstacle in your walk with God, which one of these four people are you?

Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? Galatians 5:7

Paul asks the believers in Galatia why they have strayed from the truth of the Gospel. He probably already knew the answer, but he wanted them to ask themselves the same question. In much the same way, God would have us look at our own hearts and see what large rocks are in the way of the one-lane path of our lives.

We run well for the first leg of our journey, but when we meet that first rock, we have to decide what course of action we'll take.

Will we give up and turn around?
Will we stop right where we are and go no further?
Will we veer off the path and try a different way?
Or will we pray for God's guidance and direction to learn what the hindrance is and how we can remove it?

In the book of Nehemiah, their "path" was the rebuilding of the wall around Jerusalem. But even this basic task had a large rock in it - several people who hated the people and hated the idea of the city being rebuilt.

But it came to pass, that when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth. And conspired all of them together to come and to fight against Jerusalem, and to hinder it. Nehemiah 4:7-8

These enemies of the Jews were purposely hindering the building of the wall. Their sole intent was was to be a stumbling block in the path of the people at Jerusalem. They mocked the builders, tried to discourage them and treated pain and death to those who worked.

Talk about a huge rock in your path.

As they stood there facing the rock in their one-lane road, Nehemiah and the Jews had a choice to make. Three of them meant quitting their work, a work the Lord had commanded them to do. Instead, they chose the fourth and best option.

Nevertheless we made our prayer unto our God, and set a watch against them day and night, because of them. Nehemiah 4:9

The people of Jerusalem realized that the only way to remove the rock in their way was to ask God for help. He showed them what the rock was (the enemy), how to move it (through prayer and arming themselves to fight) and the blessings that would be theirs if they stayed on the path (a rebuilt and established city dedicated to the Lord).

We will each face a rock, maybe several rocks, in our path today. We have the same choices the Jews did as they faced their own rock - turn around, quit, take a different path or ask God for the guidance and wisdom to remove the rock and continue on our path with Him.

Only one of these paths leads us to the center of the perfect will of God. I pray we'll make that wise choice today and watch as our great and loving Father helps us remove those hindrances from our lives.

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