Numbers 15:29-31, "Ye shall have one law for him that sinneth through ignorance, both for him that is born among the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them. 30 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. 31 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."
This portion of the book of Numbers speaks of two circumstances under which one might sin. One is called the sin of ignorance (vs. 29) the other is called the sin of presumption (vs. 30). It is important to understand the difference between ignorance and presumption, because the way God deals with one is not the same manner in which He deals with the other. Ignorance according to the Noah Webster's American Dictionary of the English Language, is "the absence of knowledge" while presumption is, "blind or headstrong confidence...venturing to undertake something without reasonable prospect of success." It is also defined in the same dictionary as "arrogance." It is obvious that the heart of one who sins ignorantly is far different from the heart of one who sins presumptuously. The heart of the one who sins in ignorance, could be close knit to God and desirous to follow Him. The act, which was sinful, was done without knowledge of the fact that it was sinful. I have a granddaughter who at a very early age heard a neighbor cuss and she came home and repeated it, not knowing that it was wrong. This would be an example of one who sinned ignorantly. However, the heart of one who sins presumptuously, is a heart filled with pride that according to our verses reproaches the LORD, and despises His Word. The Hebrew word translated presumptuously speaks of one who rises up, to be high, just as the dictionary speaks of it as arrogance. It is arrogant and proud to think that you can sin and handle its consequences. It speaks of your attitude, self means more to the person who sins presumptuously, than God. That is the reason verses 30-31 states, "...the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD..." and he "hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment..." Did you notice the words "reproacheth" and "despised"?
To reproach means to treat with contempt, or to blaspheme, and to despise means to abhor with contempt. When one sins presumptuously one is stating he thinks more of himself than of God, he is treating God with contempt, blaspheming the very character of God, and despises the Word of God.
I think we see a prevailing attitude of presumption in most of society, and in many church members. My heart is broken to think about the reproach we bring upon Christ, and the manner in which we handle the Word of God. What is your attitude about sin? Is there some sin in your life today from which you need to repent? Does your attitude reflect presumption or reverence? We have much to think about today in relation to our attitude about sin.
Your Friend and His,
Pastor Mike Abbott