Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Humble Disobedience?

Tonight I'd like to take a shot at turning some sacred cow into hamburger. Maybe this interpretation of these narratives isn't as popular as I think, but given the frequency with which I've heard it from a wide variety of sources, I'ma guess it's spread far and wide. Let's both introduce it and illustrate the problem with a little game called "One of these things is not like the others", featuring three pretty well-known vignettes.

1) God tells Moses to go back to Egypt and lead Israel out. Moses makes all kind of excuses, flat-out telling God to "send someone else". This is because Moses is extremely humble.

2) Saul is told by God's prophet Samuel that God has chosen him to be king, and he is given multiple signs to confirm this. When the time comes to be named king, Saul is hiding in the baggage. This is because he is really, really humble and doesn't think he's worthy of such honor.

3) Jonah is told by God to go preach in Ninevah. He refuses, and heads the opposite direction, until his path is rather dramatically reoriented. This of course is because Jonah is a colossal jerk.

Three men given direct orders from God. Three men do everything possible to disobey. For some reason two of them are thought of as humble, and the other a rebellious disobedient lout. I suggest that the popular interpretation is wrong on the first two - both of them were being every bit as defiantly disobedient as Jonah.

Here's the thing I just can't get my head around - how is it that someone can argue with and/or outright disobey the creator and sovereign of the universe, and be considered "humble"? A person can say "my way is better" to the only wise God, and this is supposed to be something other than arrogant sin? Elsewhere the humble man is he who recognizes that God is Lord of heaven and earth and who trembles at the word of God; in these two cases we are told that the humble man is the one who makes every effort to disobey and disregard the word of God. Does. Not. Compute.

Let me make a suggestion - there is never, ever, ever any justification for disobedience to God's word. Never. It is never excusable, and it is most certainly not a sign of something admirable like humility. These guys weren't humble or justified in their disobedience - and neither are we. When we read God's word and come to a command we don't like, it's not admirable or cute to hem and haw about how we're not qualified to obey it. It's rank disobedience.

If God says to do it, do it. Anything else is sin.

1 comment:

DJP said...

Well said. Psalm 119:21 describes the arrogant as those "who wander from your commandments."