The Perils of Presumption

Presumption. It’s the act of believing that  something is true when you really don’t know if it’s true or not. It’s false hope and usually comes about because of some sinful attitude. The Bible takes about presumption in Numbers 115:30-31:

But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him.

PresumptionPeople who sinned presumptuously were put to death because it stems from pride and leads to disobedience. This can be seen in the Numbers 14 where the children of Israel refused to go into the land of Canaan. As a result, God pronounces wandering in the wilderness for 40 years until that faithless generation died out. When Moses conveyed their judgment to the Israelites, the people decided that it was too much and that they were going to go in after all. But the word of God had been sent forth. It was foolish to attempt to go in now. Moses warned them but they presumed to go up. The result? They were driven back and defeated.

It’s reminiscent of a true story that was ran by the Associated Press of Andre-Francois Raffray. At age 47, he worked out a real estate deal with Jeanne Calment who was 90 at the time. The details were that he would pay her $500 a month until her death in order to secure ownership of her apartment in Arles, France. This was and is a common practice in France, benefiting both the buyer and seniors who are on a fixed income.

Unfortunately for Raffray, Jeanne Calment ended up being the oldest living person in current history, dying at the age of 122. She actually outlived Raffray who died at the age of 77. By that time, he’d paid $184,000 for an apartment he never lived in. In addition, the contract stipulated that the relatives had to keep paying  until she died two and a half years later on August 4th, 1997.

We’re not sure what is going to happen in the next hour let alone years from now. James warns us of having living as if we do.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”–yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. (James 4:13-16 ESV)

We’re not God. It’s good to remember that and submit ourselves under His good hand for success.

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.  In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

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