Part 5 – To sin, or not to sin, that is the question: Presumptuous Sin

Previously we covered and defined the following: 

  • Sin: Breaking the Law (Torah, commandments, and precepts) of YAHWEH (Pts. 12)
  • Transgression: Intentionally disobeying despite recognizing, understanding, and knowing it is wrong (Pt. 3).
  • Iniquity: Planning, scheming, or plotting out sin. (Pt. 4)

Today let’s discuss presumptuous sin.

Presumption: Behavior perceived as arrogant, disrespectful, and transgressing the limits of what is permitted or appropriate.

Word of YAHWEH Bible: Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. (Psalm 19:13)


Imagine these two scenarios for a moment and gauge your reaction. Scenario 1: You invite someone into your home. They wander into your kitchen and help themselves to the content in your refrigerator, assuming you won’t mind. Scenario 2: You purchase a new state-of-the-art riding lawnmower with all the bells and whistles you have always wanted. Your neighbor comes over and is just as excited as you. He helps you remove it from the truck and with the sets up. You plan on cutting the grass on the weekend to test out your new toy, so you rush home excited about using the new lawnmower on Friday after work. When you pull up, you notice the grass has been cut already. Your neighbor has cut the grass for you with your new lawnmower, genuinely thinking (assuming) he has done you a favor. In both scenarios, permission was assumed but never provided, nor had you provided prior permission. So, what are your thoughts? Did these people overstep their boundaries? 

These were examples of presumptuous people; some might call them arrogant, rude, overconfident, or prideful. A presumptuous person will intentionally take liberties believing that they are in the right. (Proverbs 21:2) says, “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but YAHWEH pondereth the hearts.” Meaning we naturally try to defend ourselves. Sometimes we do this in truth, sometimes with deceit, but persistent arrogance, and sometimes our sinful nature leads us to assume we are in the right. But, YAHWEH considers our heart which, according to (Mark 7:2122) defiles the body with “evil thoughts, adulteries, fornication, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness.” Let’s review two bible events that cover presumptuous sin, which brought forth the wrath of YAHWEH.

Uzzah and the Ark

YAHWEH tells the Israelites in (Exodus 25:121314Numbers 4:15, and Numbers 7:9) how to transport the Ark of the Covenant, which represented the physical manifestation of YAHWEH and His power. The Ark was only to be touched by the Levite high priest and transported by the Levites of the Kohath family. Great care and caution were essential when transporting the Ark because of its holiness; human hands could not move it. If the Kohath family touched the Ark, YAHWEH would strike them dead. Therefore, they could only touch the two poles and carry the Ark on their shoulders. Unfortunately, King David and his men did not follow the instructions of YAHWEH for transporting the Ark (2 Samuel 6:3678). They moved the Ark on a new cart pulled by oxen vs. having Levites from the sons of Koharh carry it on their shoulders by the poles. The oxen stumbled, causing the Ark to become unsteady on the cart. Uzzah, a Levite, knew the Ark should not be transported in this manner, let alone touched. Still, when the Ark appeared to be falling, Uzzah “put out his hand to the Ark of YAHWEH and took hold of it” presumptuously, and YAHWEH struck Uzzah for the fault, and he died.

Strange Fire

YAHWEH tells the Israelites, mainly the priest who, what, when, where, and how to bring fire before Him for worship (Exo 30:78Lev 6:121316:12). Fire and incense were to be offered at appointed times of day before YAHWEH and coals should only be taken from the brazen altar. Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, the high priest, decided to bring fire before YAHWEH how and when they wanted (Lev 10:12), assuming it would be acceptable. YAHWEH called it “strange fire” and consumed both of them with fire, and they died.

Hebraic Roots Bible (HRB):  There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end of it is the ways of death. (Proverbs 16:25 and Proverbs 14:12)

In both instances, the instructions were clear, and no ambiguity was present. All the Israelites, more so, the Levites, were utterly and adequately educated in these matters. Uzzah thought it was ok for him to take hold of the Ark because it appeared unstable. He presumed that if he did not step in, the presence of YAHWEH would suffer or be compromised. Uzzah also may have arrogantly assumed that his hands were cleaner before YAHWEH than the dirt or mud on the ground. He did not understand that the dirt on the ground could never be dirtier than a sinful human being defiled by sin. His quick-witted presumptuous overreach was a sin. Nadab and Abihu thought that common fire was sufficient, but they blatantly sinned in their reckless presumptuous neglect.

There are times when we are like Uzzah, Nadab, and Abihu, and we fail to recognize the holiness of YAHWEH, becoming too comfortable with YAHWEH and having an irreverent attitude. Many of us get so focused on our ways, our thinking, and the traditions of man instead of the sanctity and holiness of YAHWEH and His word. We frequently excuse our terrible actions and the actions of others because of what we think are good intentions; “God knows my heart” and “Don’t judge me” is what we say. We forget that our sinful nature wants to take liberties with the things of YAHWEH and that our human brains love to rationalize everything we do. Rationalization is “a disavowal defense mechanism which permits an individual to deal with emotional conflicts, or internal or external stressors, by devising reassuring or self-serving but incorrect explanations for his or her own or others’ thoughts, actions, or feelings, which cover up other motives.” If you know something is wrong, don’t assume or presume that YAHWEH is ok with you doing it your way because of your intentions. What you take for good intentions might be considered sinful to YAHWEH.

Hebraic Roots Bible (HRB): Go in through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many are the ones entering in through it. For narrow is the gate, and constricted is the way that leads away into life, and few are the ones finding it. (Matthew 7:13, 14)

By David Edwards