But the person who does anything presumptuously, whether he is native-born or a stranger, that one brings reproach on the Lord, and he shall be cut off from among his people. (Numbers 15:30)
What does it mean to act presumptuously? In Hebrew, the language used could literally be rendered as “with a high hand,” meaning that the person is deliberately doing something offensive to God. For instance, to publicly defy God and His commandments would be equivalent to blasphemy. Blasphemy would be considered deliberate and for that the person would be segregated from the rest of the congregation.
The rabbinic sage, known as Rambam, suggested that this particular command had ramifications for other commands. Specifically, he believed that this command applied to anyone who claimed that a particular instruction did not apply to him or that he has right to pick and choose which commands to obey. In Rambam’s mind, this way of thinking bordered on being blasphemous and, because of its potential to have a negative affect on others, was worthy of the same consequence — being cut off from the people.
This raises an interesting concept for believers. Considering that this instruction was for the “home born and stranger” — the stranger being those who have joined themselves to God’s people — are we permitted to pick and choose from Scripture what to obey and what not to? Frankly, I would argue that this way of thinking is potentially dangerous. I say that because of what Messiah said to the congregation of Laodicea — a word, by the way, that means, “the people decide.” This is the church Yeshua warned not to continue in a state of being lukewarm, which is to say a mixture of “hot and cold.” In fact, He encouraged them to repent lest they be vomited out of His mouth.
The point then is that, as His people, we must recognize that we are to live by EVERY word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD God. He has a reason for each and every instruction that He has given to us whether we understand it or not. So then, let us be as obedient children, quick to hear and heed what our loving Father says. Let us not be as the Laodiceans; people who thought they were smarter than God and could pick and choose what suited them.
Blessings and Shalom,