Certain renowned Israelites rebelled against the Lord in Numbers 16 by claiming that Moses and Aaron took upon themselves too much authority (Numbers 16:3). The Lord quickly showed that by refusing to follow His spokesmen, these renowned men of the congregation were actually refusing to follow Him and would be punished. The Lord caused the earth to open up and swallow these rebels, confirming their guilt. Moses introduced this punishment as proof that he was simply acting by God’s authority and not of his own accord. Numbers 16:28 reads, “And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the LORD hath sent me to do all these works; for I have not done them of mine own mind.”
If Moses had acted of his own mind, these charges would have been true, but those who made the false charges were actually the ones concocting false concepts in their own minds. Sadly, there are many today who are of this same stripe. When it comes to religion, they practice that which has been invented in their own minds or the minds of their predecessors. Those who follow the spiritual footsteps of Moses by precisely following the Lord’s pattern (Exodus 25:40) are similarly regarded as control freaks and legalists by the “of-my-own-mind” multitude. The reality, just as it was with Moses, is the opposite. The rebels were the ones seeking to go beyond what God had ordered by seeking to be priests (Numbers 16:10). Those today who innovate and deviate from what God authorizes in the New Testament go beyond the limits and seek too much authority for themselves as well.
Consider our perfect example, Jesus Christ, in this regard. If anybody had the right to impose His own will, teach His own thoughts, and practice that which come from His own mind it would be Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Did Christ of His own mind devise what He should do? On the contrary, the Son of God made some intriguing statements in regard to the fact that He would not go beyond what the Father instructed. In regard to His words and deeds, He said in John 8:28-29, “When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things. And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.” It is clear that Jesus taught only what the Father gave Him and nothing beyond it from John 12:48-50, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.” In regard to His deeds, He practiced what the Father commanded (John 14:31).
If Jesus would not go beyond the instructions of His Father, why should we take it upon ourselves to devise doctrines and practices of our own minds? The Holy Spirit and the apostles He guided into all truth were not even given that prerogative, but simply taught and practiced what they had received from the Son and ultimately the Father (John 16:12-15). Let us follow this example so that God is glorified rather than men, and let us teach others to do the same with all authority, God’s authority (Titus 2:15).