Stubbed Toes



What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but the people of Israel, who pursued the law as the way of righteousness, have not attained their goal. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone.


Paul is talking to a proud people. I mean, they are God’s people after all, right? Not only did God reveal himself to their forefather, but he lives in their temple for goodness sakes. He has chosen them and entrusts them with his very words! Indeed, they are set apart. Beyond reproach. And everyone else, these Gentiles Paul talks about? They are heathens, peons, posers – uncircumsized!

Yes, they are as godless as they come. And Paul is saying this new, so called ‘religion,’ accepts these heathens?! Seriously?

He’s saying God not only accepts them, but welcomes them and calls them righteous?!

This once honored Pharisee, turned lunatic, is saying that God’s people – the very ones he led out of Egypt – are left in the dust, stumbling over some stone lain in Zion?

As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes people to stumble
    and a rock that makes them fall,
    and the one who believes in him will never be put to shame.”

…. just who does he think he’s talking to?



Stubbed toes are not fun; they have been the bane of many a barefooted youth.

In one small moment of distraction, or in careless hasty flight … a stubbed toe was bound to happen. And it was miserable.

A stubbed toe meant

sharp pain,

throbbing pain

that scrubbing-the-dirt-out pain.

A stubbed toe meant

bandages that never stayed on

bandages too big for tight shoes

the bondage of limping on the sidelines,

A stubbed toe meant

sitting dry, on the edge of the pool, on a hot summer day.


The bigger the rock, the worse the stub.

The worse the stub, the more chance a knee,

a palm

an ego

were taken out too.



Pursuing righteousness, as if it were an “I can do this on my own”

is a stubbed toe waiting to happen.




Whether we know Jesus or not,

whether we’ve fallen on our knees before him once before, or many times

whether we know whose righteousness will get us through those pearly gates,

… the fact is:


we will still stumble over Jesus EVERY time

if we try to do this righteous-living thing on our own


It is Jesus,

Our Rock.

Our Salvation.

The One we must fall before – every day – on bended knee… who is our Righteousness.


Not our history,

not our passion,

not any sense of religious entitlement that creeps into the best intentions of a checked off list of  “to-do’s.”


For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith

—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—

not by works, so that no one can boast.


It is in Jesus alone where we find grace-filled, stub-free victory.



Jesus, keep my eyes on you. Period. Lead me to the rock – with eyes open and a heart full of faith – so I can kneel.

Kneeling at the Rock, never stubbed anyone’s toes.


Watering Today:

Proverbs 28;Ps 28, 128, 57; Romans 9

For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. (lead me to the cross)



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