The topic for this week is: They are precious in His sight: The least of these

I find the title interesting.

The first part comes from the song “Jesus Loves The Little Children” – perhaps the second most well-known children’s “hymn” in Christendom. (The first, of course, being “Jesus Loves Me”)

The second part comes from a passage in Matthew, where Jesus is explaining the concept of the Last Judgement, and the Sheep/Goats paradigm we find there.

So, all in all, it’s an interesting, yet very applicable juxtaposition. Going with that theme… I’m going to compound the principles even more.

Amy relates the expression “the least of these” (which is, in the Mathew passage, concerning Christians – as He calls them “My brethren”. We are joint heirs, by adoption, with Christ – He is the only begotten Son, we are His brothers and sisters by adoption.) with children. This is very apt, as she is a mother of several small children – and her blog’s focus reflects it.

This comparison is also apt in the Biblical sense. In two passages in Matthew 18, Jesus compares us to children – and we are told to imitate them. He also gives one of the most explicit – and in my opinion, most frightening – warnings in the whole Scripture.

whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. 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!

This is not just Jesus, the gentle teacher talking – this is the Son of God – the Judge of Heaven and Earth, speaking.

The word translated “stumbling block”, in the NASB, and as “offenses”, in the NKJV, is an interesting word. The word is “skandalon” – the word from which we derive the English word “scandal.”

Note the various definitions possible: ” the movable stick or trigger of a trap, a trap stick”.

That, my friends, is a perfect description for sin – the subject He is discussing. Sin has a trigger – a stick, that when moved, sets the trap. Think of the seven deadly sins – what are the triggers for each of them? It’s a very interesting thought, when you think about it in that way. I found it to be so, at least.

It’s often translated as “stumbling block”, though. Which is a phrase which has become almost second nature to those of us who grew up in a Christian atmosphere. Here’s an interesting tidbit, though. The “stumbling block” metaphor is a Jewish one – it was applied to Jesus himself, by Paul. It applies to an obstacle, or a snare. Jesus’ appearance was so contrary to the expectations of the Jews that it became a stumbling block for their own way – on which they were rushing headlong to their own doom.

but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness – 1 Cor. 1:23

So, we have an interesting word – which gives us an interesting contrast, with the two different applications. Michael Card, in his song “Scandalon”, says it this way:

The seers and the prophets had foretold it long ago
That the long awaited one would make men stumble
But they were looking for a king to conquer and to kill
Who’d have ever thought He’d be so weak and humble

He will be the truth that will offend them one and all
A stone that makes men stumble
And a rock that makes them fall
Many will be broken so that He can make them whole
And many will be crushed and lose their own soul
Along the path of life there lies a stubborn Scandalon
And all who come this way must be offended
To some He is a barrier, To others He’s the way
For all should know the scandal of believing

It seems today the Scandalon offends no one at all
The image we present can be stepped over
Could it be that we are like the others long ago
Will we ever learn that all who come must stumble

I find things like this fascinating. In essence, Jesus is using a phrase which will identify Him – and turning it on itself to identify those in opposition to Himself.

Anyway… let’s move on.

So, Jesus compares us to children, in the passage above. In Amy’s reference, we are told this:

I assure you: Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.

So, if we, as children, are hungry, thirsty, strangers, naked, sick, in prison – if we are provided for, or have provided for others – we have, by the words of our Lord, been stand-ins for our Lord, or have provided for our Lord.

It’s that simple. Amy’s comparison is very, very apt indeed. So – that’s the surface juxtaposition. I want to make another, however. The comparison which gives us the title. It came from a sermon my pastor gave yesterday.

We are all orphans.

When we see an orphan, we are moved to care for them – either by providing for them, or by adopting them. If we are not – we should be. There is one thing worse than a physical orphan, however.

A spiritual orphan. We are the adopted children of the Father of Lights. The only father the world has is the Father of Lies. In short – spiritual orphans. Just like a physical orphan, in most parts of the world, has only suffering, starvation, crime, and death to look forward to – their “father” seeks only to kill them – in the most painful way possible. They are orphans.

Christianity, of every other religion in the world, is the only personal religion in existence. No other religion conceives of their Deity as both all-powerful – and personally related – and loving. We pray to a Father. We are loved by a Father. Not a “national” Father, like the God of Old Testament Israel. A personal, loving, caring, and interested Father. There is no comparison – anywhere in the religions of man. Nowhere in the worship of man is there a relationship which so closely matches our personal family relationships – and, actually – is the model.

We are fiercely, jealously, and justly guarded by a Father. This is why God is a “jealous” God. This is why God is the God of battles, in Israel of old. His people were His chosen – and He supernaturally intervened for them – time, and time again. For a people who did not yet call Him father – who did not dare to even attempt to say His name. This same God is our Father – who sent His own Son to die – that we might live – and adopted us as sons and daughters!

That is the God who tells you – “it would be better that you hung a millstone around your neck, and drowned – than to cause my little ones to sin…”

The least of these? The least of these should be all of us. God’s order is reversed, remember. First is last, last is first. That, my friends – is us. We are His children – and we are also the “least”. We should be afraid of the righteous anger of a Father disciplining His children – the world should be fearful and trembling, lest He avenge wrongs against His children.

God is a jealous God. We are a stiff-necked and rebellious people.

Spiritual Orphans, though… not only are they the most pitiable of people – but they are also in danger from God Himself. This is the problem with the “God is primarily Love” school of thought. God’s love has an unlimited reach – but He limits its application. He reserves a special love – the love of a Father for His children, for His own. For them, He would do anything – even send His only Son to die for them.

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!

Have you ever seen a father avenging a wrong committed against his child? I’ll go out on a limb – if you were the one who wronged that child – and you see the father coming – you would likely be afraid – very, very afraid.

If that Father is God…

Be very, very, very afraid.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom

‘ Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, In due time their foot will slip; For the day of their calamity is near, And the impending things are hastening upon them.’


The least of these? Yes, you are. You, as a believer, have a responsibility to guard your steps, so that you do not cause a brother or sister to sin.

You, as a child, have a responsibility to your Father.

We are precious in His sight – so precious that entire books of the Bible are devoted to God’s protection, vengeance, and guidance. However – there are countless more examples of God’s discipline of His children, when they misbehave. Some rather spectacular examples, really.

Discipline shows you that He loves you – however – it also grieves your Father.

If you aren’t in the family of God – you are a spiritual orphan. You are also in a precarious position. It isn’t looking good.

However – I do have some good news for you. I know, this hasn’t been a particularly “upbeat” read thus far.

and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this? – John 11:26

That question, two thousand years later, still stands – it resonates with crystal clarity, in the twisted, cruel, dark-grey perversion of a world which the Father of Lies has molded to his own designs – and you along with it. It cuts through the morass of degradation, spite, suffering, and meaninglessness like the piercing beam of a lighthouse cuts through the fog-shrouded night with a blinding, dazzling, display of overpowering brilliance.

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

Don’t be a spiritual orphan.

Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.

It doesn’t have to be…

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?

The family is waiting for you…

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.

And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me.”

Come – meet the family. We’d love to welcome you – and introduce you to our Father – and yours.