Presumption ~ Part 2

Webster’s defines presumption as assuming something to be true. Taking for granted some piece of evidence not fully established. Based on inference, which is the process of arriving at a conclusion not logically derived from the assumed premise, yet possesses some degree of probability to the premise. Often the conclusion we arrive at is wrong. In the Old Testament, presumption is not just presuming something as we see it, but it is often sin against God. Outright rebellion.

The worst part of the sin of rebellion is that you often feel you’re going forth in God’s word and power, when in actuality the whole premise is off, as you have not truly sought Him for direction. You go forth as if you have directions from the God you know, yet you’ve not sought His face or come to a place where you have attempted to empty yourself first that He would fill you. You’re filled with your own idea of this God you’ve read about or at one time followed, but have lost your way and still seek to lead.

A perfect example of going forth in what you presume to be right, but in actuality follows none of God’s innumerable laws, is David going to reclaim the Ark of the Covenant in 2 Samuel 6. He was to bring the ark to the City of David, but there were specific rules. His assumption led to the death of Uzzah who touched the ark which could only be moved by the Kohathites using poles to carry the ark on their shoulders. But David, though fearful, finally sought the proper way to transport the ark.

Balaam is one who presumed to speak for God in Numbers chapters 22-24. Balak, a Moabite, hired Balaam to curse Israel, believing this would rid the land of Israel. God spoke to Balaam and told him he could not curse Israel for they are blessed. Balaam should have left right away, but his vanity was easily manipulated by Balak and by the lure of money he knew he shouldn’t take to curse Israel. So, he followed the princes of Moab sent by Balak, and God’s anger was aroused against Balaam. Were it not for Balaam’s donkey stopping and then speaking to Balaam in his own language, the Angel of the Lord would have killed Balaam. The Angel of the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes to see him and he told him were it not for the donkey recognizing God’s authority and stopping, he would have killed Balaam and allowed the donkey to live. Balaam eventually gave a prophetic word favorable to Israel that he saw in an open-eyed vision. He should have stopped there and repented for not walking away right from the start. His sorcery and lust for money eventually brought him into league with other enemies of Israel. In Numbers 31:8, we see Balaam died for presuming he could maintain his sinful ways without reprisal. I feel Balaam was called as a prophet, but the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life were too alluring to him. Spiritual insight, based on seeking God’s face, was myopic at best, and vision was clouded by self.

One of the hardest lessons seen as punishment for the sin of presumption occurs in Numbers 20 with Moses. He has been given a task in bringing Israel out of Egypt and into the promised land that seems impossible, but for God. Mighty miracles and the presence of God in a cloud by day and fire by night constantly before you. Yet Israel complains constantly. Moses is always standing before the living and the dead. Always interceding for the tribes of Israel and constantly being faulted for the trials they had to encounter. In Numbers 20, Moses appears fed up. The people again complain for lack of water and the Lord tells Moses to take his rod, and with Aaron, gather the people of Israel together. God tells Moses to speak to the rock before their eyes and it will yield water for them. Moses speaks to Israel in anger and says “Hear now you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” Moses then struck the rock. He presumed he was following the command of the Lord but did so in his own strength and in anger. Earlier in Exodus 17, he was told to strike the rock to bring forth water. But here it was different. His assuming that his anger would not be seen as usurping authority from God, and acting as if his strength from an angered state would be overlooked, was a sin of assumption. This represented more than just obedience to the act of producing water for Israel, but to what God would do in always supplying their needs. This rock represented redemption. Christ. Yet Moses assumed his actions would be without consequences. They were not. Moses was not allowed to enter the promised land. God allowed Moses to view the promised land from Mt. Nebo where he was buried by God. At his death, his eyes were not dim nor his natural vigor diminished.

This penalty for the sin of presumption – rebellion, by Moses, should cause anyone to take stock of their walk. I find this one of the saddest stories in the Old Testament. Yet even in this, all God’s judgements are true and righteous. Every word of God is true – He is a shield to those who trust in Him. I find that too many have an unrealistic grasp on the judgements of God. Yes, we are under grace, but the laws of the Lord are too often taken for granted. So many presume to speak for the Lord, not fully dissecting their own motives, and believing that His favor will somehow override the penalty for our disobedience. The gospels and the apostles speak of the penalties for disobedience. People that presume to speak for God and lead by their own compass must read what Peter said in 2 Peter 2. Corrupt people leading others on a wrong path. They have forsaken the right path and followed the way of Balaam who loved the wages of unrighteousness. People like these are like wells without water, clouds carried by a tempest, for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. This is new testament. If we listened before we spoke, if we weighed our intentions against what His word says, we could avoid so much trouble. For ourselves, and those we might lead astray. As I have spoken before, if someone speaks a doctrine that does not line up with Christ, reject it. We are responsible for knowing what is acceptable in His eyes. We all sin and fall short of His glory, but it is up to each one of us to be in right standing with Him. Come before Him and repent. Learn of Him. Seek Him in all things. And be like David who said in Psalm 19: 12-13, “Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back your servant from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, And I shall be innocent of great transgression.” Trust in Him and He will direct your path.  Blessings.

Presumption ~ Part 1

We, as a people from the beginning of time, seem to feel that what we presume to be right will be received by God as worthy as the intention was honorable. Adam and Eve had access to the Garden of Eden and all that was in it except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They took for granted the law God had set before them. And they paid the price of their disobedience. The children of Israel saw the miraculous powers of God to free them from captivity, yet somehow presumed their allegiance to Him was only when needed. At every time of trouble, God delivered for the Israelites, yet their memories were short and they complained to Moses when tested by even the slightest hardship. They presumed that it would be a short walk out of Egypt into the promised land. This thinking led to a most circuitous journey, eventually into a judgement of never entering the promised land.

In Numbers 16, we see Korah, a Levite, questioning the authority of Moses, and thereby questioning the authority of God. Korah had just recently witnessed the judgement of the Lord for Israel rebelling by crying and saying they had remained in Egypt, rather than face giants in the promised land and die there. They heard the judgement that “All the earth will be filled with God’s glory” (Numbers 14:21), but those of unbelief will not see it nor enter into the promised land. Korah saw the 10 spies, who went with Joshua and Caleb to spy out the land, die by plague for their unbelief and causing others to fear. He saw what happened to the Israelites who “presumed” they could win over the Lord and cause Him to change His mind by going up to fight the Canaanites and Amalekites and somehow erase their rebellion and unbelief. The Israelites who went to fight were driven back and were defeated, as the Lord was not with them. Their “sin of presumption” proved to be their undoing. Yet Korah and those who followed him still stood against Moses and Aaron. Korah knew the penalty for intentional sins. He and his followers, and all their families, and all their goods, were swallowed up by the earth opened by the Lord. Korah, and the Levites who followed him, had their censers (bronze vessels to carry incense) which were saved and made into hammered plates to be used as a covering for the altar. The censers were holy. They represent the office of the Levite. Korah and the Levites, who presumed an authority that was not theirs, were out of order. These censers were now before the eyes of all Israel, yet the very next day the congregation gathered against Moses and Aaron for killing Korah and his followers. The Lord told Moses to step away, as He would consume them. Moses told Aaron to take a censer and put fire from the altar and incense in it and take it before the congregation and make atonement for them, for “wrath has gone out from the Lord and the plague has begun.” (Numbers 16:46) Moses and Aaron ran into the midst of the assembly of people that the plague was touching and stood in the midst of them praying for them. They stood between the dead and the living, and the plague stopped. In addition to those of Korah and his followers who the earth swallowed up, 14,700 died from the plague.

These are tough verses and stories to comprehend at times. Can God’s wrath be so severe as to cause one to step back in horror? Is this the same God who David refers to in Psalm 27 saying, “When You said Seek My face, My heart said to You, Your face, Lord, I will seek.” Or is this the God who said in Exodus 33 that no man shall see My face and live. No animal or person could touch God’s holy mountain in Exodus, yet Joshua always remained and you just felt he leaned against it in his quest to be close to God. All Israel was to have this close relationship with the Lord, yet they feared even the glory that shone on Moses’ face. I have been meditating on these chapters in Numbers for a while now. How many realize we must be standing between those who are in sins of presumption and the judgement of the Lord? I cannot stress how serious this is and how necessary it is for intercessors to be on their face before the Lord. How many, if they saw His face, would be making images of what they saw and worshipping them? It would be contrary to His law. We are at a place where we must embrace both the Lord’s love and grace and His judgements. Romans 11:33 says, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgements and His ways past finding out.” The Passion translation says of this verse, “Who could ever explain the wonder of His decisions or search out the mysterious way He carries out His plans?” I have stated before that I pray daily that the Lord cover this land with His truth and His mercy. We, in our obstinate and presumptuous ways, hinder His truth and mercy from covering our land. We follow a God of our own making. The words of Christ are just that….words. The Sermon on the Mount is just a nice story rather than words to live by. We cannot remain this way and not expect to see things coming undone. Too many leaders teach a gospel that will lead you onto a path of destruction. Yet people wonder why it seems the Lord has covered Himself with a cloud that our prayers will not pass through. (Lamentations 3:44) Seek Him for yourself and pray without ceasing. We should daily pray, “Teach me Your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth; Unite my heart to fear Your name.” (Psalm 86:11) Do not walk in presumption. Walk in the fear of the Lord. His mercies are new each morning. He is good and a stronghold to them that trust in Him. Blessings.