Presume less, inquire more

The word “presume” means to suppose that something is the case on the basis of probability. Now that doesn’t sound like a bad thing, does it? However, the Bible is full of people who “presumed” that they could modify God’s orders and still receive a heavenly smile. Quickly each of them found out that God doesn’t work that way. Wicked King Saul is one of the classic examples of “presuming” that God would accept his modifications. He was wrong.

There is another example of a godly, righteous prophet who “presumed” to know God’s will without inquiring of the LORD. His name was Nathan. He was the famous prophet who pointed his finger at King David and said those famous words, “You are the man.” However, the example of “presuming” that this article focuses on occurs just before King David’s sin with Bathsheba and his murder of her husband, Uriah.

This “presumption” takes place in 2 Samuel 7:1-3. There King David said, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of the covenant of the LORD is under a tent.”

David decided to build God a big house – the Temple. Now that sounds like a good thing, doesn’t it? Of course it does. Oooops. We better be careful or we will fall into the same hole that the prophet Nathan fell into.

In verse 3 Nathan replied to David, “Whatever you have in mind, do it, for God is with you.” Remember what “presume” means; to suppose that something is the case on the basis of probability. Nathan’s examination of “probability” concerning David was 100% so far. God had blessed everything that David put his hands to do. So Nathan “assumed” that David could build God a house. Only one problem with that: IT WAS WRONG!

Unlike King Saul who was wicked in his heart, Nathan was a godly, righteous, faithful servant of the LORD. But sometimes even godly, righteous, faithful servants can “presume”, either forgetting to inquire of the LORD, or inquiring but assuming that they already know His answer so they really aren’t listening. 

That night (recorded in 2 Sam 7:4-17) God speaks to Nathan and tells him what to go and say to David. Bottom line: I’m going to bless you greatly, but YOU WILL NOT BUILD ME A HOUSE, your son will. The next morning “Nathan reported to David all the words of this entire revelation.” That was a flat-out NO from God about building Him a house – the Temple. Now if you had your heart set on building God a house and He said NO, what is the next thing you would do? Pout? Mope? Sulk?

Check out 2 Sam 7:18-29; it’s called David’s Thanksgiving. After having his heart’s desire broken, David went and prayed a prayer of thanksgiving. Truly a man after God’s own heart.

So we have 2 godly, righteous servants of God who “presumed” that they knew God’s will without inquiring of the LORD. Both had good hearts (unlike Saul with a bad heart), but they both fell in the “presuming” hole and had to learn a lesson.

How about you and me? Do we “presume” without inquiring? Do we assume that we know God’s will without asking Him to reveal His will? If so, then maybe we should inquire more and “presume” less. God bless.

Mike Sublett is a pastor at Hi-Land Christian Church, 1615 N. Banks St., Pampa, Texas 79065. Email him at

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