I am concerned about a fad that is happening in the church at large, even among mature saints. Up to now I just figured, who am I to “decree and declare” that decreeing and declaring is not of the Lord? I am really a nobody.
But when I hear it, it’s like nails on a chalkboard to me. Hence this post.
In my meanderings around the Word, the names Nadab and Abihu came up. They were Aaron’s two oldest sons who were immediately incinerated by God for offering unauthorized fire. It always sit wrong with me that God judged them so harshly for what seemed to me a minor offense. (Yeah, I know, I know better than the God of the Universe.)
And then there’s Uzzah, who just reached out and steadied the Ark of the Covenant, and was immediately struck down by God. This, too, seems ridiculously harsh!
So as is my habit, when I don’t understand something, I turn to others to ‘splain it to me. Usually it’s who I affectionately call the Bible Masta’s on studylight.org. This time I just put Nadab and Abihu in my browser… and my eyes were opened by one explanation in particular.
They were presumptuous. Yes, they used unholy fire, but why? Why did they do that? They were priests, and for crying out loud their dad was the father of priests! They should have known better. But (like me sometimes) they thought they knew better than God.
Then I thought about Uzzah. I don’t know if it’s the same case, since I don’t know if he knew that only the Levites should be dealing with the Ark.
But God is a holy God. He is the Lord of the universe. We need to honor Him as such. Maybe Uzzah should have known he shouldn’t be carrying the Ark. Or maybe God sacrificed him to teach His people to honor and obey Him, as He deserves to be honored and obeyed, and as it is only to our benefit for us to walk in obedience to Him. When He chooses to teach us obedience, it is out of love, not hatred.
God cannot be in the presence of sin. Let that sink in. We are immeasurably blessed by the sacrifice of Christ. We should, therefore, as James says, “receive with meekness the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls.” James 1: 21
Meekness, not presumptuousness.
Further on in James 4 he talks about being presumptuous:
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.”
Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. NIV 1984
Presumption is also talked about in reference to the angels.
Jude 1:8-9 says this:
In the very same way, these dreamers pollute their own bodies, reject authority and slander celestial beings.
But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”
And 2 Peter 2:10-11
This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority. Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings; yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord.
Those verses all came to mind because decreeing and declaring seems presumptuous to me. Philippians 4 tells us to petition the Lord, not decree something to be done. In fact, I know of no place in Scripture where we are taught to decree and declare. If you do, please leave a comment below! I do not profess to hold the whole truth; I am a seeker of truth.
I needed to see what verses proponents of decreeing and declaring use as support.
I came upon a few blogposts, and I find no need for me to reinvent the wheel, as the misinterpretation of the verses they use are clearly explained in the blogpost linked below.
A few quotes ( I recommend reading the whole post, it’s actually quite funny!)
“A favorite scripture of the “decree and declare” movement is Romans 4:17, which says “…calling those things which are not, as though they were”. … To get the correct interpretation, I don’t even have to read the entire chapter. All I need is the entire verse. “Abraham believed God, who calls those things which are not as though they were”. What else do I need to say? This is an attribute of God not man.
… Another scripture is Job 22:28 – “thou shall decree a thing and it shall be established”. That sounds very straightforward, but the question is WHO said that? It was not God. Neither was it one of the Bible authors. It was Eliphaz, one of Job’s friends who was described as a miserable comforter and who was actually rebuked by God for not speaking what was right (Job 42:7).
… Another scripture that seems to teach decree and declare is Psalm 2:7 – “I will declare the decree: the Lord has said …”. If you read that verse carefully, the decree is the part that GOD said. The psalmist then declares that decree. In other words, we cannot decree anything, only God can. However, we can declare it.”
Christians who use this form of prayer, I believe for the most part are innocently doing what they have been taught… I just wish the whole concept would be discussed by church leaders, and either accepted or rejected.
I will close with this. I tried to think of an example in the New Testament of decreeing something to be. In Acts 3 Peter commanded the man crippled from birth to rise up and walk. Is this an example of decreeing a healing? I think not. Peter was led by the Holy Spirit. He knew God was going to heal this man.
When you decree and declare something, maybe you should be sure that something is going to take place? Nadab come to mind, anyone? 😬