May 6, 2022 by  
Filed under Daily Devotions

By Cheri Cowell –

At the ruins in Petra lie a large set of stones. This “mulos onikos,” literally, a mill turned by an ass or donkey, is what the Bible refers to as a great millstone. On top of the conical-shaped stone rode a second hollowed-out stone or handstone. The upper stone was probably turned with handspikes in much the same way as an old-fashioned ship’s wheel was turned. The material to be ground was fed into the upper cone which formed the hopper. As our parable for today states, the upper millstone of a handmill would be more than sufficient to sink the condemned, and the punishment would be more easily carried out.

The occasion of this discourse was an unbecoming contest among the disciples for precedency. “At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” (Matthew 18:1). Hearing this Jesus offers the following parable. The connection is clear: pride is a millstone around our necks and if we don’t remove this weight, it will sink us.

“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come! If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell” (Matthew 18:6-9 NIV).

PRAYER: Thank You, God, for such wonderful visual examples in Your Word. Help me identify prideful attitudes in my own heart that not only weigh me down but have the potential to drown me in the sea of sinfulness.

About Cheri Cowell

Cheri Cowell is the author of the new Bible study, Parables and Word Pictures of the New Testament: Following God series
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