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Leviticus 19:14

Demonstrate Kindness

14 Thou shalt not curse the deaf, nor put a stumblingblock before the blind, but shalt fear thy God: I am the LORD.


Could there be any more despicable act than that which takes advantage of the weaknesses of someone who suffers from a physical handicap? Most of us cannot imagine doing such a thing, yet there are people in every society since the beginning of time who have deliberately done that.

In this passage, we have God's warning against such horrendous acts. Because most of us would never consider doing anything to harm a deaf or blind person, we would tend to read over it quickly without giving it much thought.

The Hebrew word that is rendered as "curse" in our KJV also means, "to make despicable, to make light, or to treat with contempt or with dishonor." This places a different obligation upon us. We are not only to refrain from cursing the deaf but also from treating them lightly or with contempt. We should be quick to offer assistance. Unfortunately, we often feel uncomfortable with people who face physical challenges and tend to avoid dealing with them.

John Gill also pointed out that, "...the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan render it, 'him that heareth not', and respects any absent person who is not within the hearing of the curse, and so equally incapable of answering for himself as a deaf man..."

Would that not include gossip and backbiting? Well then, we are all guilty! It is an offense against God to speak lightly or unkindly about someone who is not present to defend himself, because God wants us to deal justly with everyone, even with our enemies.

It is also a sin to place a stumblingblock before a blind person. This is another common sense moral principle, which does not need to be told to anyone who has a conscience.

This verse of scripture, however, should be a great comfort to anyone who suffers from any sort of physical handicap. It assures them that God has neither abandoned them nor forgotten them. In fact, they are very special to Him. The gospels are full of stories telling how Jesus healed the blind and the lame. Each of those people had a purpose in God's divine plan.

The Gospel of John tells this story, for example, "And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him." (John 9:1-3) Physical handicaps have a divine purpose and we should be careful about how we treat people who are so afflicted.

Because they have a divine purpose, we should fear God whenever we think about doing or saying anything that might harm or make light of the deaf and the blind. "And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." (Matthew 25:40)

As a final note, let me also point out that God loves the spiritually blind. Jesus came to open their eyes to the truth and has passed along that ministry to each of us. We should be very careful to conduct ourselves in a way that will guide them toward the truth and not in ways that will cause them to stumble.

Before The Throne:

If you are struggling with a handicap of any kind, thank God for it and ask Him how He wants you to use it to glorify Him. Thank Him for His protection and constant assurances. Thank Him for the strength to deal with the problem. Pray for Him to show you how to help others to deal with similar struggles.

For Further Study:

(v.14)
** not curse: Deu 27:18; Rom 12:14; 14:13; 1Co 8:8-13; 10:32; Rev 2:14; ** fear: Lev 25:17; Gen 42:18; Neh 5:15; 1Pe 1:17; 2:17;

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