The Danger of Thinking

It was after six. Why hadn’t he called? He always calls. I texted at 3:00 but nothing. Then again at 4:00 yet still nothing. Don’t panic. He’s fine. Maybe his phone died. Surely it’s his phone. But what if it isn’t. What if something happened? What if he’s stuck in a grain bin and no one knows it? He can hear his phone but can’t reach it. And he knows it’s me. It’s probably breaking his heart. Stop it. I can’t think like that. Stop. He’s fine. Come on just text me please. I can’t raise four kids by myself. Ok that’s it. I’m giving you ten more minutes before I assume something terrible happened.

Devo Scripture: Genesis 20
Key Verse: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)

Assumptions. We do it all the time. Perceiving something as truth without any proof. Causing us to worry for no reason. Or be anxious, upset, or defensive. Based solely on what we think and not what we know – we speculate. He’s mad; she hates me; they think I’m a terrible parent. All because of a look, misunderstanding, harmless comment, or lack thereof. Then we fester in it. Certain of our ability to render a correct interpretation we get mad or sad or hurt or bitter at a person who did absolutely nothing!

In short it’s the silent enemy of relationships. Similar to an atomic bomb, one seemingly tiny assumption can lead to widespread devastating destruction. In families, friendships, communities, and cultures. Not to mention our relationship with God. One seemingly innocent assumption such as “God wants me to be happy” has the power to disarm our faith in moments. Leaving us confused and abandoned when life doesn’t go as planned. Because it’s not our happiness God’s concerned with, but our holiness. As holiness is the forerunner of happiness (Ps. 1).

Based solely on feelings, fears, or familiarity, when we act upon an assumption, it often leads to sin. As it did in Genesis 19 and again in Genesis 20. Assuming there was no fear of God in Gerar (Just as Lot’s daughters assumed there were no men anywhere.) Abraham says of Sarah “She is my sister” (v.2) and Sarah per Abraham’s request assured “He is my brother” (v. 5). So Abimelech, king of Gerar, having no reason not to, sent and took Sarah into his harem.

This just weeks after God promises “I will surely return to you about this time next year and Sarah your wife shall have a son” (Gen. 18:10). Yikes! This was no small problem! Sarah soon to be pregnant by God’s own decree was in the home of another man! Taken into the king’s harem at almost 90 years old – this lady must have been one hot mama (no pun intended). Her timeless beauty causing Abimelech to make his own wrong assumption; believing Sarah to be much younger than she was.

The reality of the situation put the entire nation of Israel in jeopardy. All because of one little theory Abraham had held to for 25 years. One minor distrust (if there is such a thing). Even after God promised years before “You shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age” (Gen. 15:15). Abraham still assumed he might be killed for the prize of his gorgeous woman.

Poor Sarah! I can’t help but wonder what she was thinking. “Seriously…do I really have to go through this again! Did he learn nothing from Egypt?” I would’ve been livid. Certain my husband had just ruined my chance at having a child. Yet she knew God’s promise. Did she hold to it with undeterred certainty? Rehearsing in her mind the very words God spoke outside her tent, “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” (Gen. 18:14) Or did she figure everything was ruined. God’s promise negated by her husband’s sin and her willingness to follow along.

Because isn’t that what we often think? Well I blew it. So much for me. Better luck next time Stacey. God’s through with you (whispers the evil one to my breaking heart). Oh that this story might seep into the battered and bruised recesses of my heart. Penetrating yours as well.

Nothing can thwart the unconditional promises of God. Nothing! In spite of Abraham’s distrust. God interceded. Coming to Abimelech in a dream (God’s chosen form of communication in many Old Testament stories). Making it clear to the king “it was I who kept you from sinning” (v. 6). Giving him instruction to return Sarah and have Abraham, God’s prophet, pray over him.

I would have been embarrassed to claim Abraham as my own. Maybe even ashamed. Certainly disappointed. And probably tempted to flee the other direction. But God wasn’t. “This man that lied to you, fooled you, and almost cost you your life – yea he’s my man, my prophet, covered in my righteousness. Go to him and have him pray and you’ll live.” (my paraphrase)

What a beautiful picture of grace! Once we’re His – God never lets go. Even when we make big giant messes. Even when we struggle for years with the same issue. Even when we lack integrity – God won’t let go. But neither will he let us stay that way.

Because God doesn’t want us abiding in assumptions. He wants us anchored in assurances.

With our eyes fixed on him. Certain we can trust and depend on the God we’ve believed in. A God who never operates on assumptions and doesn’t want us to either. Because inevitably it will lead down a path we didn’t want to go. And didn’t need to go. If only we’d trusted in what we knew instead of believing in what we think we know.

Let’s leave behind the assumptions and hold tightly to the assurances. Confident He is “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20).

Contemplate and Evaluate:
When have you made a mess of things based on a wrong assumption? Or been hurt by a wrong assumption made about you?
Have you made assumptions about God that have hindered and been harmful to your relationship with Him? What insecurities might be feeding those assumptions?image

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