"And she came in to him, and he lay with her."
II Samuel 11: 4, Amplified Bible
"The Fallacy of the Assumed Premise"
"Power doesn't corrupt people. People corrupt power."
Have I ever felt that because of a position I held this gave me the power to behave in a certain way?
What "rights" do I possess when I have authority over another?
"The power which is supported by force alone will have cause often to tremble."
"Nearly all men (and women) can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's (or woman's) character, give him (her) power."
The great pastor Charles Haddon Spurgeon once observed, "The adulation of multitudes has laid thousands low." We need only to look around us today to see these truthful words coming true in the lives of pastors and politicians - in celebrities and home-town nobodies. All it takes is the praise of knowns and unknowns alike, and the ascension into power for some individuals, whether it is corporate or political, soon becomes a stumbling block to what was a down-to-earth person we thought we knew and liked, who instead becomes a power-mongering tyrant.
Recently, I read an article by a Christian leader who, although I've never met him, I've learned to greatly admire through his articles and columns. He was sadly commenting on the way Christian leaders, rather than taking on a "servant" role, have become not only accustomed to, but demanding of the high-life style of living. His thought was reinforced last night when I received a call from my college roommate. During our marathon discussion she related an experience she had traveling a week ago when she just happened to run into some individuals who had been at the same Christian conference she attended. These individuals were pleading for money for their "mission" work on Sunday and then flying out to their home on Monday, First Class. Don't get me wrong, she wasn't judging their travel style for this was just a conversation between two dear friends. However, the bottom line of our discussion became, "How should we live? What would Jesus do? Would He ask for money for missions one day and then live like a king in palatial grandeur the next?"
I ask these questions not so we may look out and judge others' behavior but so that we will look inward and evaluate the lives we choose to live. And this is where the fallacy of the assumed premise comes into play
It was nearly thirty years ago, as a young teenager when I first read this phrase. An assumed premise is an idea or belief that we have that may or may not be true. And in the case of the "fallacy" of the assumed premise - what we think doesn't bear the fruit of truth. If we look at our text today, we get one of the clearest examples of the fallacy of the assumed premise, ever!
As we have studied about David, we have repeatedly seen that he was the frequent recipient of hero worship - specifically "women worship." In I Samuel 18: 7 (Amplified Bible) the Bible tells us, "And the women responded as they laughed and frolicked, saying, ‘Saul has slain his thousands and David his ten thousands.'"
This handsome warrior who now held the position of King of Israel had heads turning as the flattery of both women and men was showered upon him. And here's where David began falsely to make the "assumption" or he got the mistaken belief, that the regular rules that applied to everyone else, didn't apply to him anymore. However, if you think David was alone in being trapped into believing he could behave a certain way and get away with it because of his wealth and power, let me point out that the world today is full of examples of individuals who behave in lock step with David.
This man, whom we are told had a heart that yearned for God, when confronted with the options that power and wealth afforded him, fell so far that he came to believe he had the right to take, to use and to possess whatever and whomever he wanted - and this included the wife of another man. David was working under the fallacy of the assumed premise that as king, his position gave him rights and privileges unavailable to others. What foolishness!
Lest we believe everyone has to fall into the grasp of power and wealth until the false notion that their position gives them rights others don't have, I want to go back and remind us of another young man - handsome, well-built, and super-successful. Genesis 39:2 (Amplified Bible) describes this man, Joseph, in the following manner, "But the Lord was with Joseph and he, though a slave, was a successful and prosperous man." We are also told in Genesis 39:7(Amplified Bible), "Then after a time his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph, and she said, ‘Lie with me,'" Not much different from David who "cast" his eyes upon Bathsheba and then used his position of power to "seize" her and "lie" with her.
The reason I use these two stories as parallel events is that they are both examples of the powerful making the assumption they have rights because of who they are and the rulership they have over another. It's the fallacy of the assumed premise played out in real-everyday life - I can get and take and have whatever I want because of who I am and the power and position I have.
What a mistake for anyone to believe that an earthly position…that earthly wealth…and that earthly praise gives anyone the right to do what is wrong.
Ephesians 3: 20 is one of my favorite passages in Scripture for it is a reminder that the right to use power belongs to "Him Who…is at work within us." This is the power that does for us "above all that we dare ask or think." And it is the same "Power" that will keep us from falsely believing an assumed premise that will destroy not only our lives - but the lives of others.
"Now to Him Who, by the action of His power that is at work within us, is able to carry out His purpose and do super-abundantly far over and above all that we dare ask or think, infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes or dreams. To Him be glory."
Ephesians 3: 20, 21, Amplified Bible
"The pinnacle of the Temple is a very lonely place.
You will not be waiting for me there.
your disclosure of God,
take the lowliest path.
Your tabernacle among us is in the cave and the cottage.
I must come down like Zacchaeus
if I would have you dwell with me,
on the country roads of Galilee,
in the villages and on the shore
down among the cares,
and sufferings of ordinary men -
there we shall find you.
‘O teach me your ways
and hold up my going in your paths
that my footsteps slip not.'
Your paths are well-trodden.
Along them you and your saints have carried
healing and love
to ordinary men and women where they are.
Teach me to serve them as you serve -
Your saints never presumed to grasp at
their spiritual privileges,
or use them for their own advantage:
nor sought extraordinary grace.
They loved to follow you along ordinary ways.
Help me to love those ways too.
Your spirit is not given that we may escape
life's friction and demands,
but so that we may live the common life
as you would have it lived -
in earth as in heaven."
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00. Or by calling Transformation Garden at 1-888-397-4348.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.