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Behold I Thought

One of the ways in which God has made us in His image (Gen. 1:26) is by giving us the ability to think and reason.  None other of God’s creatures can gather information, analyze it logically, and draw a reasonable conclusion as man can.  Truly, it is a great blessing to have such an ability, for by it we can know and understand our Creator and His will for us.

The ability to think allows us to have free will and make choices, but unfortunately those choices are not always the right ones.  Sometimes we make bad decisions because of bad information or personal bias.  Just because we can think does not mean that our thoughts are right or good.  Many times, our thoughts get us into trouble.

Consider the mistaken thoughts of Naaman (2Ki. 5).  He was the captain of the army of the Syrians who suffered from leprosy.  When he heard that he could be cured by the prophet Elisha, he went with his horses, chariots, gold, and garments to meet Elisha.  Rather than coming out to Naaman face-to-face, Elisha sent a messenger to tell Naaman that he would be healed when he had washed seven times in the Jordan river.  Naaman did not immediately obey the message, but instead he went away furious 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 wave his hand over the place and cure the leper’” (v. 11).  Despite his errant and arrogant thoughts, Naaman was eventually convinced by his servants to obey Elisha, and he was cured of his leprosy.

Naaman is just one example of how thoughts that contradict the truth of God will bring trouble to men.  The Scriptures are filled with such examples:

  • Moses thought he should strike the rock when God had commanded him to speak to it, and so he was not allowed to enter the promised land (Num. 20:2-13).
  • King Saul thought he should offer a burnt offering himself even though he had no authority to do so, and so his kingdom did not endure (1Sam. 13:5-14).
  • King Saul thought he should spare king Agag and the best of the Amalekite livestock despite God’s commandment to destroy them, and so his kingdom was taken from him (1Sam. 15).
  • Uzzah thought he should touch the ark of the covenant to prevent it from falling from a cart (it should never have been on a cart – Ex. 25:12-14), and so he was struck dead for his irreverence (2Sam. 6:3-7).
  • King Uzziah thought that he should be allowed to burn incense in the temple even though he was not a priest, and so he was struck with leprosy for the rest of his life (2Chron. 26:16-21).
  • Peter thought that he would never deny Jesus even though the Lord told him otherwise, and so he wept bitterly when he did not live up to his own expectations (Matt. 26:30-35, 69-75).
  • Simon the Samaritan Christian thought he could obtain the power to impart gifts of the Holy Spirit with money, and so he stood condemned (Acts 8:18-24).
  • Saul of Tarsus thought that he should do many things hostile to the name of Jesus of Nazareth, and so he found himself persecuting the Lord and Christ rather than serving Him (Acts 9:1-9; 26:9).

All of these examples stand as warnings to us.  There are occasions when we may think that we know what is best when in fact we are completely wrong.  This happens often in religion, for many offer what they think God desires rather than what He has commanded in His word.  Many attempt to obtain salvation according to what they think rather than according to what God has said in the gospel of Christ.  Let us not fall into this vain way of thinking, but instead let us conform our thoughts to the will of God (Rom. 12:1-2).  Let us heed the message of Proverbs 14:12 – "There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.”  Let us not find ourselves standing before the Lord in the day of judgment, offering the empty excuse of  "Behold, I thought…” (consider Matt. 7:21-23).  Let us think only as God would have us to think, "taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2Cor. 10:5).  If we will heed these warnings and follow the guidance of God’s word, then our thoughts may be right indeed.

Stacey E. Durham



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