Often, we create imaginary scenes and then hold on to them as if they were real. The tragedy of it all is that it is so easy to believe lies and dismiss truth. Sadly, we can have faith in things that will assuredly fail while we ignore that which cannot fail. Though we easily fall into this trap because we are fallen beings, we have been given more than enough evidence to cast off our faulty imaginations and believe in the promises of God.
The lazy man says “There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the street” (King James Version, Prov. 22:13). The slothful man might not have seen the lion himself. He may have heard it from someone or perhaps even assumed it, but the bottom line is that he believed a lion on the street would kill him.
Most people in the world today are “heavy laden” yet like the slothful man they refuse the only real solution to their problems. They refuse to believe that Jesus loves them and will forgive their sins, and they continue to cling to false assumptions about the helplessness of their situation sometimes never accepting Christ’s pitying love for sinners. Tragically, they sometimes end up believing that their sinful choices are a natural part of them and since nothing can be done about their situation, they may as well live in sin, hoping for unconditional acceptance from God.
Even many professed Christians are no different because they have not surrendered to a loving God with all their heart, soul, and mind (Mat. 22:37). Nor have they presented their bodies “as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto” Him (Rom 12:1). Contrary to their sincere desire for righteousness, they still make ungodly life choices. Some consider their situation to be insurmountable, and others are remorseful with a strong desire to forfeit their indulgences for the sake of their God, but to these, sadly, the uncertainty of life beyond their decision continuously deters them.
THE DANGEROUS ASPECT OF IT
At first thought, the slothful man seems to be very pessimistic. But, his real problem is not the lion in the street. It is the lion within. It is that he feared the danger without, while ignoring the very real dangers within, his lazy spirit and the real lion, Satan. A guilty conscience can become like “a lion in the street”, while we ignore the reality of salvation offered by Jesus. Like the Prophet Zacharias we ask, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years” (The New International Version, Luke 1:18). Like Sarah who laughed over the wondrous promise to her (Gen. 18:12), we ignore or belittle the “eternal love” (The King James Version, Jer. 31:3) of God and do not claim His promises. In other words, we ignore the lion within that causes us to believe Satan’s lies about how God sees our situation.
A BIBLICAL TEACHING
John wrote, “Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, we have found Him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, come and see” (KJV, John 1:45,46).
In his search for confirmation of the truth behind John’s proclamation concerning Jesus, Nathanael had retreated to a secluded place in meditation and prayer. His question betrayed his prejudices and doubt about the new discovery. But Philip did not bother about providing evidence for his friend and merely invited him to “come and see” for himself. We read in Desire of Ages that if Nathanael had trusted in his prejudices and doubt, he would not have found Jesus, for “it was by seeing and judging for himself that he became a disciple” (White, 140).
While the Bible presents many lessons about how fundamentally important our faith is, (Heb 11:6; James 1:4-7), it also presents the need to “come and see” Jesus. Naaman, though he initially had a proud and lofty spirit, got his healing because he bathed in the River Jordan according to the instructions of the prophet Elisha. In addition, Mark tells us of a man who brought his child to Jesus and when he entreated “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief” his son was healed (Mark 9:22-27). Zaccheus made the effort to climb the tree so he could see for himself.
What “Come and See” really means
“Come and see” is a call to relinquish all false presumptions of one’s current condition and take the bold step to lay them bare before Jesus, just to prove Him. For example, the lazy man in the book of Proverbs preferred to believe his real danger was due to a lion in the street, while he clung to false presumptions about his true situation.
Why should we prefer to remain in sin or to be burdened by a guilty conscience, disgrace, disappointment, or stigmatization, when we can experience Jesus’s love and forgiveness? “Is any thing too hard for the Lord?” (Gen. 18:14). “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD” (Isaiah 1:18). Let’s reason and understand our real need for Jesus. Let’s reason and understand that He is waiting to offer us salvation and freedom from sin. Let us not forget that Naaman cast off his pride and bathed in the River Jordan. The father acknowledged his unbelief and his child was healed and Zacchaeus saw his need and climbed a sycamore tree, to see Jesus.