But they presumed to go up to the mountaintop. Nevertheless, neither the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord nor Moses departed from the camp [Numbers 14:44].
Presumption is the act of ignoring God’s instructions, then performing the opposite. This verse depicts Israel’s decision, contrary to godly counsel, to transgress holy ground, choosing to disregard the Ark of the Covenant’s confirmation of God’s presence while voicing distain for the prophetic authority of God’s chosen leader - Moses.
Presumption is a dangerous, and possibly fatal, error. Thinking we know something or insisting on going our own way without God’s blessing is asking for trouble. The sin of presumption swiftly turns our high hopes into the despair of new lows. That’s what happens when we choose to embrace false authorities.
A false authority is one who usurps a position by claiming a standing to which they have not been elected or appointed. In this day of self-appointed social media moguls there are unnumbered opinions that can support almost any posture or perspective we want to embrace. But a social media voice is not elected.
In our “instant access” to this information era, once we have inquired of our favorite search engine, it’s easy to believe we know all about what’s going on. Electronic research is not to be mistaken for first hand experience. Somehow we conclude a thorough search down the electronic hallways of Google makes us authorities.
What is the result of such a humanistic quest? We gain knowledge, but lack wisdom. Wisdom is the proper application of knowledge. Gathering information doesn’t turn us into authorities.
If we learn about something, but haven’t grasped it’s full significance because we haven’t tested it precepts, we miss the proper source. This starts at home. I’m not talking about our parents, elders, or leaders. I’m talking about the Holy Spirit in us – you and me. We need to gain discernment. We need to discover that what we hear comes as the firstfruits of the Kingdom or is it the false fruits of chaos.
Pray. Take your time. Listen to what the Spirit says to the church. That is where the true authority comes from. Accept no substitutes.