This blog post is super exciting to me for a couple of reasons, first because it is my first time to have a guest blogger and second, because Amy has become a sweet friend whom I respect dearly. As we walked through a study she wrote on the book of Malachi, she shared the following story with me and I was so touched and couldn’t help but think how perfect it was for the “A Child Shall Lead Them” blog. I know you will be blessed by reading.
It was just another September day, weather perfect. The beginning of fall was here. It was now time to transition from warmer temperatures to cooler ones (my very favorite time of year)—a time where you can wear shorts at sunrise and a sweatshirt at sunset. All the neighborhood kids come outside to play.
I remember standing in my kitchen while gazing through the open blinds of the bay window. Looking into the backyard and seeing the children climbing on the trampoline. Our trampoline has a full size (wrap around) net that encloses with a zipper. These nets are designed to protect the children while jumping in hopes to minimize anyone falling off the trampoline.
I intently watched my youngest daughter climb on the trampoline just after one of our neighborhood friends climbed on. They had no idea I was watching. I love when they can’t see me but I can see them. I savor these beautiful moments God gives me. Our children grow so quickly and to me it is as if time stands still when I stop all my daily chores to just simply watch my children play.
After she managed to climb on the trampoline and stand behind the net, she peeks through the open zipper and began to say something to her older sister who was still standing in the grass. But I couldn’t make out what she was saying so I walked over to the screened back door to attempt to watch and listen more closely to what she was saying. I quickly realized what was being said. There were acorns on the trampoline that had fallen off the tree. She was asking her sister to come get me to sweep them out.
I immediately went to grab the broom so I could take care of this problem rather quickly so their play would not be disrupted and selfishly because I loved watching them play. After walking into the garage and grabbing the broom, I walked out of the screened back door onto the back concrete steps and saw my youngest daughter standing on the outside of the net. This is a moment I will never forget.
Just a few weeks prior to this, I was deep in the study of Malachi. About two chapters in, the Scripture reads,
“But you have turned aside from the way. You have caused many to stumble by your instruction. You have corrupted the covenant of Levi, says the LORD of host, and so I make you despised and abased before all the people, inasmuch as you do not keep my ways but show partiality in your instruction.” (Malachi 2:8-9 ESV)
Up to this point in my study, I gleaned that the people of Malachi’s day had grown complacent towards God’s great love for them which in turn led to hard hearts and corrupt worship.
The priests were bringing polluted offerings upon God’s altar, profaning the name of the Lord, dealing treacherous to the people of the land, divorcing the wives of their youth and marrying foreign women, neglecting the tithe, causing many to stumble by false instruction, and lacking honor and respect for God.
God was not okay with this type of worship. God said their worship was in vain. (Malachi 1:10 ESV) God still wanted to bless His people but couldn’t do so at this time because the people were breaking the covenant with Him. So, God begins to show them their sin just as a loving Father would do with His children in order for them to repent and turn back to Him to receive blessing once again.
I truly wanted to understand the heart of God. I asked the Lord to help me understand what this means in Malachi 2:8-9. The priests were being made a disgrace because of their lack of honor for God and their lack of teaching causing many to stumble.(Malachi 2:9 ESV) In fact, they were actually thrown out from their priestly services because of this.
God must really care deeply for His children if He would throw the priest out of the temple work if they were causing His children to stumble, I thought to myself as I continued in my study.
For about two weeks, I was led to different parts of Scripture to help grasp ahold of the message God was sending out to His people through His messenger, Malachi.
Understanding the Lesson
I found myself in the book of Acts looking earnestly at the conversion of Paul the apostle. Paul was a well-educated Pharisee who started persecuting the church of God violently and trying to destroy it. (Galatians 1:13 ESV) This was at least until the resurrected Christ stopped him in his tracks. Jesus appeared before Paul on the road to Damascus and said, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:4 ESV)
I began to see what it means to God when someone persecutes the church. Jesus viewed the persecution of the church as persecution directly against Him. All this study of Scripture took place just a few weeks prior to this life-long lesson—a moment I will never forget.
As I was standing on the concrete steps with broom in hand, I watched from a distance my daughter squatting down on the outside of the net as if she was attempting to jump off the trampoline. In that moment, the young neighborhood friend lifted up his hands from inside the net and pushed my daughter off the trampoline. I couldn’t get to her fast enough before I heard this loud thud and gasp for air.
She didn’t know it was coming. Her body flailed in the air before her chest made first contact with the ground. It knocked the wind out of her. She immediately began to scream when she regained her breath. I ran as fast as I could as I tossed the broom in the air.
I scooped her up and ran inside the house with her in my arms. I was so angry at the child who pushed my daughter. My mama claws were about to come out, just as if a mama bear would protect her cub. I had to remove myself quickly before I said something I knew I would regret.
As I was carrying her through the back screened door into the kitchen, I spoke tenderly and held her close. Only a few minutes passed, before I began to feel my frustration and anger beginning to subside. I remembered what I recently asked of God.
The question flooded my mind as I was holding my daughter, “What does it mean to you God to see your children stumble?” This was the question I asked the Lord just a few weeks prior as I was searching for the heart of God in the study of Malachi.
When You Mess with God’s People, You Poke God’s Pupil
God was allowing me to see. As I watching my daughter live her life (her life at that moment was playing outside on a beautiful fall day with the neighborhood friends), she never had a moment of thought about me although I was watching her every step.
She felt all alone and scared as she was falling through the air to meet the ground with such a hard impact. She struggled for a breath. Although she was not thinking of me, I was thinking of her and in a twinkle of an eye I was there to rescue her.
“For thus said the Lord of hosts, after his glory sent me to the nations who plundered you, for he who touches you touches the apple of his eye”. (Zechariah 2:8 ESV)
Did you know that the most sensitive part of the anatomy of your body is your pupil? God’s children are the “apple of his eye”. The apple of one’s eye is that little miniature reflection of oneself that one sees when looking closely into the pupil of another. Do you know what God sees? If you were to look closely into the pupil of the Creator God, do you know what you would see?
All you have to do is go and look in the mirror. God sees you. God is watching over every detail of your life. Nothing escapes Him. As you live your life, even in the moments that you aren’t thinking about Him, He is thinking about you. He is watching with a keen eye and He will not stand for anyone to cause you to stumble and fall. He will right every wrong against you. He is your refuge and strength, your very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)
What a truth to behold. If you mess with God’s people, you are poking God’s pupil.
Jesus said to His disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.” (Luke 17:1-2 ESV)
Praise the Lord for He loves us so dearly!
Guest Blogger Bio.
Amy Dobson is a wife, mother of two girls,Women’s Ministry Director of Collierville First Baptist Church, and the author of the bible study, “Malachi: Mirror Image”.
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