“It is wiser to find out than to suppose”

We all love the story of Naaman from 2 Kings 5.  We may even get a chuckle or two out of the great Aramean general’s assumptions about how God’s prophet would cleanse him of leprosy, and how he appeared willing to go home in a huff rather than reconsider his preconceptions.  “Behold, I thought” — it has made for many a sermon title over the years, including one or two from me.

But are we that much better than Naaman?  We have ideas about salvation, about church organization, about proper worship — ideas we inherited from our parents, adopted from our culture, or simply picked up on our own.  And sometimes we hold onto them like grim death — an apt metaphor, considering the consequences that can come with being wrong (Ezekiel 18:4).

Mark Twain said, “It is wiser to find out than to suppose.”  Long before him, though, Paul wrote, “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).  Before that, even, Jesus warned of those who would call Him Lord and do “many miracles” in His name, only to be turned away as those who “practice lawlessness” (Matthew 7:22-23).

With that in mind, surely it is worth a bit of effort, and the risk of a blow to our ego, to read the Bible for ourselves while searching for God’s way.  The trendy thing, or the common thing, or the familiar thing — these are not necessarily wrong.  But they are not necessarily right, either.

The only thing that is guaranteed to be truthful is God’s word (John 17:17).  It is sure to illumine the path of those who delight in it (Psalm 119:105).  We all suppose we are right where we currently stand.  But wouldn’t it be wise to find out for sure?