Behold, I Thought…..

Seems there are a lot of different beliefs about what God’s word says.  Some people say, I believe this, others believe that.  They don’t back it up with scripture.  They can’t cite a scripture to support what they believe.  They just believe something because they want to believe it.  Their belief seems right to their mind and their reasoning.

The problem is that they are not allowing God a position of authority.  They are setting their human reasoning in place of God’s word.  So, some people believe that sprinkling is acceptable for baptism.  Others believe baptism isn’t even required, and say that you only have to pray a saving prayer of faith to be acceptable.  Some believe that living together as man and wife before marriage is alright, or others believe that men having sex with other men is alright.

The problem with all of these different ideas and different desires is that they are not checking God’s word, the scriptures to test their beliefs.  They are not letting God rule their lives.  They have thrown Him out of their lives, and are doing what they want.

So, does it matter what God says?  Maybe not to a lot of people.  But, it matters to God.

It mattered that Nadab and Abihu offered “strange fire” at the altar in Leviticus Chapter 10.

“1 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not.  2 And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.  3 Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the Lord spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.  4 And Moses called Mishael and Elzaphan, the sons of Uzziel the uncle of Aaron, and said unto them, Come near, carry your brethren from before the sanctuary out of the camp.  5 So they went near, and carried them in their coats out of the camp; as Moses had said.  6 And Moses said unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons, Uncover not your heads, neither rend your clothes; lest ye die, and lest wrath come upon all the people: but let your brethren, the whole house of Israel, bewail the burning which the Lord hath kindled.”

Ex. 30: 7-10 spells out the instructions for offering of incense to Aaron, the High Priest.  God told Aaron how and when to offer it.  Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, decided for whatever reason, that they would do it instead of their father, and in a different way than God had instructed.  In surpassing their father’s role, they passed judgment upon God’s word and were irreverent.  They were full of their own ideas and beliefs of what they thought would be good.  They replaced God’s instructions with their own desires and beliefs, and were killed because of it.

Their father Aaron and their Uncle Moses were standing right in front of them when God struck Nadab and Abihu down with fire from Heaven.  You might imagine their shock, and fear.  You might imagine Aaron’s grief and loss.  His two sons whom he loved were gone in a moment of time.

You might think their sin was a small thing.  Except that they ignored God’s instructions, and substituted their own methods.  They thought they could do it their way!

Isn’t that a Sinatra melody?   I did it my way?    A very proud and arrogant statement.

Nadab and Abihu’s sins of pride were so great that God told Moses and Aaron they were not to even mourn the loss of the two boys.   If they had taken the time to mourn, not only would they have been honoring a wicked and prideful act, but they would also have been dishonoring God’s rightful judgment upon Nadab and Abihu.

From human eyes, it seems a hard thing.  So, let’s turn it around.  You, a father, give instructions that are very important to your two sons, so critical, so important that they impact the well being and livelihood of the family.   Your two sons decide they will ignore your instructions, and try a different way to do what you have told them.  But, the different way has put the entire family in danger and at risk of dying.  Their pride and arrogance was more important than the well-being of the rest of the family, so much so that they didn’t care if others in the family were injured or died.  Moreover, their pride and arrogance at ignoring your instructions means that they don’t reverence you as their father, they don’t care what your instructions are.  They have passed judgment upon you, their creator, and determined in their minds that your word is foolish and worthless.

Are they obedient, reverent, and loving children?   NO.

This is what God sees each time one of his created souls decides to ignore his instructions, His word, and do what we want instead.

Let’s consider another case, the case of Naaman, the leper.  In II Kings Chapter 5 we are told of the account of a captain of the host of the king of Syria, whose wife’s servant was taken captive from Israel, and laments that Naaman was not in the land of Samaria where the prophet could heal her master.  Other servants repeat this news to Naaman, and Naaman sends a letter with many gifts to the King of Israel requesting that the king heal him of his leprosy.

The king of Israel is emotional, and reacts angrily believing that Naaman is provoking a situation of political strife whereby a quarrel might result in a war.  But, Elisha the prophet hears of the king’s anger, and sends word to the king to send the leper to him.  Naaman comes to the prophet with his horses and chariots.  Can’t you just see this man with his show of wealth and station waiting for the prophet to appear?

And Elisha sends out a messenger with a simple command telling Naaman to go and wash in the river Jordan seven times.  Now this is not usual, as most men who claim to perform miracles or magic usually put on a great show and performance for the people.  So, look how Naaman responds.   Look at his emotion.

” 11 But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.  12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.”  (II Kings 5: 11,12)

Naaman’s pride gets in the way. Can’t you just hear him?  The prophet sent a servant to him!  He’s not important enough in the eyes of the prophet to have the prophet’s personal attention?  And, the waters back home are certainly cleaner and nicer than any in Israel!  Doesn’t this prophet know who I am?

The servants come to Naaman and ask if the prophet had told him to do some great thing would he not have done it?  This is such a simple thing the prophet has told him to do, why not try it?  Naaman agrees, and on the seventh time that he dipped down into the waters of the Jordan he came up clean of his leprosy.

If Naaman had only dipped six times in the river Jordan, would he have been cleansed?  No!   He had to do exactly what the prophet of God told him to do, in just the waters he told him to use, in just the way he told him to do it.

“Behold, I thought”…..  That is the problem.  Too many people are depending upon their own reasoning, instead of seeking out what God says to do.  Their emotions are ruling their intellect.  Their pride is ruling their heart.  It is a simple matter to let God rule, and it is a critical matter to your soul.  But, it takes a little humbleness to admit that you need Him, and that you must submit to His word and His instructions.

If Naaman had been too proud to do as the prophet of God, the word of God instructed, he would have left Samaria still in his diseased condition.  As it was, because of the miracle, Naaman took back the news to Syria that “there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel:…”  (II Kings 5:15)  The miracle confirmed the word of the Lord and spread the news that there was a true God.

Can we tweak God’s word just a little?  Looking at just these two examples from His word…..I wouldn’t!

Our life, our souls belong to God.  He created us.  Our souls are going to go back to Him one day.  It will be best if you can stand before His judgment seat covered by the blood of Christ exactly the way He says to do it.  It will be best if we stand before him cloaked in Jesus’ righteousness, forgiven of our sins, exactly how He says to do it.  You cannot be acceptable to Him if you think you can do it your way.  Best to find out what God says to do.

The Bible is the word of God, and the only source for His instructions.  Read it, study it, know it.

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