“We Know Better Sometimes, Don’t We?”

We Know Better Sometimes, Don’t We?

David Sproule

Did your children ever talk back to you?  Frustrating, wasn’t it?  Who did they think they were?  Why do children talk back to their parents?  It’s because they think they know better and/or because they want their way and are not interested in the parents’ way.  But, when we get older, we outgrow that “talking back” thing, right?

Interestingly, there are some who will not outgrow that “talking back” thing, even after they die.  There is an interesting account in Luke 16 of a glimpse into a scene of two men after they died.  Jesus tells of a rich man who died and went to “torments” (16:22-23).  He struck up a conversation with Abraham, whom the rich man was able to see “afar off” in Paradise.  He begged Abraham to send the beggar named Lazarus, who was in Paradise, to return to the rich man’s house and “testify” to his five brothers, “lest they also come to this place of torment” (16:27-28).

The rich man’s request was not going to be granted.  Abraham responded to him, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them” (16:29).  In other words, they have the Bible (at least the portion that had been written by this time).  Abraham said that the rich man’s brothers needed to listen to Scriptures, to which they had access.

The rich man’s retort is fascinating.  He was having a conversation with an apparent representative of God (for Paradise is called “Abraham’s bosom” in verse 22), and he was not satisfied with the information that was being given.  He quickly replied, “No, father Abraham” (16:30).  Can you imagine snapping back at a representative of God by saying, “No”?  That almost reminds you of your kids talking back to you, doesn’t it?  That’s what the rich man was doing.  “NO, father Abraham; BUT if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.”  You see, the rich man, like your kids, knew better than Abraham.  He was not satisfied with the response that his brothers needed to read the Bible, and so he offered his “better” solution with the word “But” to express its superiority.

Abraham calmly replied, “If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead” (16:31).  There was one way for his brothers to come to know the truth and avoid the fiery torments, and if they ignored that one way, there was no other option that would alter their course.

Do we sometimes think we know better than God?  Do we sometimes read God’s expectations for us and think, “No.  But this idea that I have would be better”?  May God help us to learn from the rich man that we do not know better than God.  May we read, accept, love and follow the Bible.