Monday, September 12, 2011

Do Not Assume To Know The Path

After hearing a speech several months ago, I decided it was time to put into concrete terms what I gleaned from it....

When I hear the word "assume" it is usually associated with something resulting in negative consequences to self and others. In this particular case, there is a bit of a different "spin" on the issue. I found it interesting. I hope you do too.

The account in 2 Samuel, chapter 7, tells of an assumption that both King David and Nathan (the prophet) made: “And it came about that, when the king dwelt in his own house and Jehovah himself had given him rest from all his enemies round about, then the king said to Nathan the prophet: “See, now, I am dwelling in a house of cedars while the ark of the [true] God is dwelling in the middle of tent cloths.” Upon that Nathan said to the king: “Everything that is in your heart—go, do, because Jehovah is with you.” (vss.1-3).

Was it a good thing that David thought of? Absolutely! It demonstrated deep appreciation for his relationship with Jehovah. With confirmation from Jehovah’s spokesman, the prophet Nathan, David was sure he had made a good decision. But was it?

It doesn’t take long to find out how Jehovah feels about this; that night “that the word of Jehovah came to Nathan.” It probably surprised both Nathan and David. Essentially, Jehovah reprimanded them saying, in effect, ‘did I tell or ask you or anyone else that I wanted a house?’

The lesson I draw from this is that even for things we may think are good and proper and would bring praise to God, we should never assume anything without first asking him in prayer to guide our decision.

One of the worst miscarriages of so-called righteous judgment in this regard was the religiously-fired wars that have assumed God would condone that activity. Its not a new thought. Jesus himself foretold the time when “everyone that kills YOU will imagine he has rendered a sacred service to God.” (John 16:2). The very first fulfillment of this prophecy is recorded in the book of Acts when Stephan was “murdered” by Jewish zealots. (Acts 8:1)

Before leaving this example, it would be good to ask: “So what is the instruction in the Bible regarding handling apostates and those with beliefs that differ from ours? Jesus himself answers this: “LET them be. Blind guides is what they are.” (Matthew 15:14). Paul, after his conversion, gives further instruction: “A slave of the Lord does not need to fight, but needs to be gentle toward all, qualified to teach, keeping himself restrained under evil.” (2 Timothy 2:24)

What other examples are there? Coming back to the second paragraph in this essay, it comes down to anything and everything that we do; even as Paul wrote: "Do not be anxious over anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving let YOUR petitions be made known to God."  (Philippians 4:6). So, do you want to enter into the full-time ministry? Do you want to move to a foreign country to aid in the growth of Christianity there? These are noble goals. But then, so was the building of a “house” for Jehovah. Don’t assume. Ask Jehovah in prayer.

Another example is at Leviticus 10:1,2.