Saturday, December 24, 2016

THEFT #26 - Stealin' Back the Clusters - Step I: Babble On, Babylon!

Out of all the things that bother me, "clusters" probably bother me most.  



People have a habit of forming "clusters" around each other in gathering places (restaurants, bars, even churches), in cities (outside and inside) and even driving in their cars (often because they have no choice, but just as often for no apparent reason).  I suppose we most often refer to large gathered groups of people as "crowds," but somehow that just describes the event, and gets nowhere the reason, near the purpose.

But "clusters?"  Now that begins to work toward some sort of purpose, whether consciously or not.  A "crowd" implies pushing towards something (usually the front of the crowd) but a "cluster" implies a desire to stay put in the group, to even be content there.


Yep, that's a "cluster" of bees alright.  I wrote about the bees on our house a few months ago, and--yes--I know the proper term is "swarm," but really, this is another example of a "cluster."  The difference between bees and people is that bees form clusters around a queen bee to keep her warm as she lays eggs.  I watched a beekeeper grab the queen from our house, put her in his special "bee-box," and then I watched all the rest of the bees fly down to cluster around her.   Probably instinct,but--at least--there was a purpose in line with the bees' nature.

But clusters of people?  Why?  I'm pretty content with the small cluster that forms my family of four people, but when we went to a theater to see "Rogue One" yesterday, I did that in spite of the cluster, not because of it.  Frankly, on the rare occasions that I get to a multi-theater complex, I try to go on the least clustered day at the least clustered time.

So let's creep on on the "why" by thinking about the first "cluster" in recorded Biblical history:  Babel !


OK, so this picture doesn't look like what we call a "tower," but let's remember that the tower wasn't the real point, but a symbol of something else"

      "1 The whole earth was of one language and of one speech. 2 As they traveled from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they lived there. 3 They said to one another, “Come, let’s make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.” They had brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar. 4 They said, “Come, let’s build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top reaches to the sky, and let’s make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad on the surface of the whole earth.”(Genesis 11:1-4 WEB)


Aha! We always talk about the "tower of Babel," but we see that these folks first built a city, and then a tower.  And what was their purpose?   Stated plainly:  To prevent being "scattered abroad on the surface of the whole earth."  They all spoke the same language and they just wanted to stay together in one place;  they wanted to "cluster."


But here's the kicker:  why were they specifically afraid of being scattered? 

"And God blessed them. And God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth." (Genesis 1:28)

And of course God repeated the same command to Noah after the flood:

"But you, be fruitful and multiply; spread out over the earth and multiply on it."
(Genesis 9:7)

 So basically "fill the earth" means "make more little humans and spread out over the whole earth!!!"   Instead, all of the descendants of the four couples who survived the flood are now directly and knowingly disobeying God by staying in one place, and why?  "To make a name for ourselves!"   Yikes!  They seriously wanted to defy God, "cluster" together their in their babbling city, and--I guess--become "famous."  (Although since this is the whole human race at the time, I'm not sure before whom they wanted to become "famous."  God, maybe?0

In the meantime, YHWH, who already knows the situation is said to "come down" to see the situation:
         "5 Yahweh came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men built. 6 Yahweh said, “Behold, they are one people, and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do. Now nothing will be withheld from them, which they intend to do. 7 Come, let’s go down, and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.” 8 So Yahweh scattered them abroad from there on the surface of all the earth. They stopped building the city. 9 Therefore its name was called Babel, because there Yahweh confused the language of all the earth." (Genesis 11:5-9; WEB)

                        And there they all are, looking confused.....

                                      And here they all go!!!

So all these famous folks never did reach high enough to touch heaven, and God STILL had to come "down" to them!   That should tell us already that their efforts are futile.  But wait, YHWH doesn't destroy the city nor the tower (contrary to popular mythology), but simply confuses their languages so they can't understand one another, or at least only small groups understood each other, and of course, they stopped building and........"scattered....on the surface of the whole earth."   I mean they are outta there!

All in all this is a pretty benevolent "punishment" for this arrogant bunch of flood survivors, but YHWH did promise that He wouldn't bring another flood, and even this bunch still had the rainbow!


Unfortunately, this tendency to "cluster" against the will of God shows up over and over again in Scripture, and in what we call "secular history" (although God is rarely mentioned).

So what unfolds in the Old Testament is that cities are almost always bad, and being in the "fields" farming or raising sheep and cows is almost always good.  In fact, there's only one city in the Bible that is ever totally good, and that one is in Revelation and actually made by God, and is, well, clearly large enough to avoid being "clustered."

I didn't realize this would be a multi-part blog, but I'm realizing its complexity more and more as I study it, so "here I stop, I can do no other."

But I'll be back with the next part of this, umm, blog "cluster" soon.

***So for now, here's another artist's conception of the babbling city.....


Buy for now - The Thief.





Saturday, November 19, 2016

Theft #25 - Stealin' Back Hell from Satan

"That doctrine is straight from the pit of hell!!!"

"It is better to rule in Hell than to serve in Heaven!"

Hell is the highest reward that the devil can offer you for being a servant of his.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/devil.html
"Hell is the highest reward that the devil can offer you for being his servant."

And so on . . .   These quotes, and many more imply that the place we call Hell
1) generates all manner of bad things, and 2) is ruled by Satan (aka the Devil).


And here a rather dapper Satan sits, looking every bit the calm and devious ruler of Hell.  One can find many myriads (that's "thousands" for you homeschoolers...hehehe) of such images with a simple Google of "hell, Satan."  The conception that Satan rules Hell is so ingrained into the consciousness of mainstream American Christians (which are the only ones I know) that it's just taken for granted.  The corollary above that Hell generates all kinds of evil is almost certainly derived from the assumption that Satan resides and reigns in Hell.

So, what'cha all think?  Are the above concepts true?  More specifically, are they true based on Biblical teachings?

Guess what????




Oh!  Look at that!!!   The "TRUTH-O-METER" says "FALSE."   And, for heaven's sake, both of these common concepts are absolutely and utterly false, if the Bible is used as the standard of truth about the person called Satan and the place called Hell.  You can search from Genesis through Revelation and find no verses ("zilch, zero, nada," to quote a vegetable) showing any indication either that Satan is in charge of Hell, or that Hell is the origin of evil. Both ideas are void of Biblical support.

So, I know I'm taking big leap of...ummmm......"faith" here by insisting that the Bible (the 66-book version) is the bottom line on truth about the devil, just as much as it is the bottom line on truth about God.  I'm not going to belabor the point, except to say that if you claim to be Christian, and the Bible isn't the bottom line of truth for you on God and Satan, you have a HUGE problem. 

Well, I guess here's the place where I say, "Now I'm not judging you, but....", right? 

Just as Jesus said that anyone who doesn't believe in Him is already condemned, it is equally true that anyone who doesn't accept the Bible as absolute truth is also--probably--still condemned.  Case in point:  How do you know what the heck you need to believe about Jesus if you don't accept the Bible as the source of absolute truth about Jesus?

If you DO accept the Bible as the source of absolute truth about Jesus, then it is logical to do the same for the truth about Satan.  (Ahem....) "Just sayin'......"

So, then, easy one first: If Hell is not the source of all evil, then what (or who) is?   Ready?   It's YOU!!!  (....well, and me, of course).  Bet you thought I'd say Satan, eh?  Well, he is definitely in the mix concerning the presence of evil, but if Adam hadn't sinned, Satan and his evil would be long gone.  So it's the persistence of sin in man that is really at the bottom of evil in the world, for now anyway.

Second, if Satan doesn't rule Hell (and he doesn't), then who does?   Hold on tight!   God rules Hell, just like he rules the rest of the created universe!  NOTE: I didn't say God rules in Hell, but that He rules Hell, or, if you like, God rules over Hell.

Consider Matthew 25:41 - "Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels." 

Get it?  Satan's ultimate destination is "the eternal fire," which-in context-is clearly what we normally call "hell," or Hades, or Sheol, of the Lake of Fire, etc, etc.  In fact, this place was prepared by God NOT originally for mankind, but for, well, "demonkind," if you will: for "the devil/Satan and his angels/demons."

 


"But Thief, are you saying that Satan is going to end up in Hell just to suffer punishment like everyone else there?"

Yep, Satan ends up in "hell" with the angels/demons who followed him in his evil, with no power left at all, and they are punished, well, for eternity.

But Satan's doom is not like that of "everyone" else in the fire, if you include humans.

***A few quick facts about Satan:

 - God created Satan originally good, like everything else in His Creation (see Genesis; Isaiah; Ezekiel.  *I'm not giving specific references here;  I believe my readers should able to find this stuff.)
- Satan grew arrogant and rebelled against God, and one-third of the angels followed Satan in his rebellion. (Isaiah; Ezekiel; Revelation).
- In his rebellion, Satan left heaven to come dwell on earth, but still has access to speak with God. (Genesis; Job; Revelation)
-While he is on earth, Satan and his demons mainly try to tempt humans to also rebel against God (Genesis, Job; Matthew, Luke; James; Revelation)
-There will come a time when Satan will, before his final judgment, be totally expelled from heaven to be on earth for a few years (Revelation).
- Satan and his demons will ultimately be tossed into the Lake of Fire (see above) to be punished forever.

That's the short version.   Please feel free read to read all about it!!!


I know, I know.  It's getting long.  Even I'm yawning a bit at this point.



One last thing for you humans to consider:  Jesus Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead, and is coming back.  Human beings who accept and truly believe this are redeemed from their sins and from the punishment for those sins, and will be with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit for eternity.  

Not so for Satan and his demons, for they cannot be redeemed.   Read that again:  Satan and his demons CAN NOT BE REDEEMED!!!   Jesus did not die for them.  When they chose to sin against God, their eternal punishment was determined by God right then and will not be changed.   ......think about it.  One third of a "race" or "species" of beings that were formerly angels of God that, once they fell, were immediately condemned forever with no chance of redemption . . . NO CHANCE!

I'd say we humans have it pretty good, so let's get the truth about God and Satan right, OK?   

It's all in the Bible.  Really!!!

Buy for now - The Thief.
Hell is the highest reward that the devil can offer you for being a servant of his.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/devil.html
Hell is the highest reward that the devil can offer you for being a servant of his.
Read more at: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/devil.html

Sunday, October 2, 2016

THEFT #24 - Stealin' Back Reformation Day - An Early Reminder



"Here I Stand, Justified!" - Romans 1:16-19 - A Preview for Reformation Day

Introduction - Explanation of Luther's 95 Theses and His Inevitable Trial


     On October 31, 1517, the day before All Saints, in the city of Wittenberg on the Elbe River, in the Electorate of Saxony, the following occurred:  A monk named Martin Luther, member of the Order of the Augustinian Eremites, appointed Doctor of Theology, Professor at the University of Wittenberg, District Vicar over the monasteries of his chapter in the Electorate of Saxony, and preacher at the City Church wrote two letters.  One was to the Archbishop of Mainz; the other was to the Bishop of Brandenberg.  In these two letters Luther protested against the charlatan and false conception of the indulgence as it was proclaimed in word and practice by the Dominican monk John Tetzel in behalf of an indulgence for the construction of the new St. Peter's church in Rome.  To both letters he attached 95 theses in which, in a scholarly manner, he explained how dubious the notions being disseminated by Tetzel about the essence of indulgences were, and in accord with the "old custom of scholars," he extended an invitation to discuss them in academic disputation.  Tradition has it that he nailed the Theses on the Wittenberg Castle Church door on the same day he sent the letters, which was another way of inviting academic debate.


     **Indulgences: According to medieval Roman Catholic teachings, Christ, Mary, and the saints had lived without sin.  They had also performed a great number of good works, which were stored up in heaven. Because the ordinary Christian ends this life with more sins than merits, a penalty must be paid, the church insisted:  the sinner must endure untold suffering in purgatory before being admitted to heaven.  Thus it was necessary for relatives and friends of the dead to have mass said, and to purchase indulgences in order to reduce the time spent in purgatory.  The pope alone could authorize the sale of indulgences that transferred the merits of Christ and the saints to the credit of the living and the dead. 

     John Tetzel was a major indulgence salesman working in Germany, who even had a slogan "As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the soul from purgatory springs."  Luther had been preaching against indulgences for about a year, but when Tetzel came to the Wittenberg, Luther felt more direct action was necessary, and so posted the 95 Theses.


     The Theses caused a furor both in Germany and in Rome, and as both scholars and peasants came to support Luther, the power of the Pope and his Cardinals came to oppose him.  Between 1517 and 1521 Luther wrote more and more books and materials which revealed that it was not indulgences he really opposed, but the entire Roman Catholic system of salvation by sacraments and merits, and ultimately he came to call the Pope himself Antichrist.  Although various attempts were made to convince Luther to retract his books and his statements, he would not budge, and in January of 1521 he was excommunicated, and in April of that year was summoned to the Diet of Worms, supposedly to be given one last chance to repent.


     When you read Luther's words during this period, the driving force behind his preaching and writing becomes clear:  he was dedicated to the Word of God, and the Word of God alone as the ultimate source of authority for the Christian, a position which flew in the face of Catholic teaching that the Pope and decisions of Councils had final authority even over Scripture, since only the Pope could truly interpret Scripture.



Romans 1:16-19

Theme Statement:   The Righteous Shall Live By Faith

1a.  The Righteousness of God Comes to Those Who Believe the Truth

     Rom. 1:16-17

          1b.  1:16

                   1c.  "Not ashamed" - Paul has never been to Rome, and in 1:15 he has just said that he is eager to preach the gospel in Rome as he has in other places. Paul is not ashamed of this Gospel, Luther says, despite 1 Cor. 1:22-25: 

                                      22For indeed Jews ask for signs, and Greeks search for wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness, 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (NASB)

                           Paul is not ashamed despite the fact that the gospel goes against every rule of human survival and self-interest.  Luther goes so far as to equate being ashamed to preach the gospel with unbelief: 

                                He who does not truly believe is even today not merely ashamed of the Gospel, but he also contradicts it, at least in his heart and in his action.  The reason for this is the following.  He who finds pleasure and enjoyment in the things that are of the flesh and of the world cannot have a taste or pleasure for the things that are of the Spirit of God.  Therefore he is not only ashamed to proclaim the Gospel to others, but he fights against it and does not want it to be spoken to him.  He hates the light and loves the darkness.  For this reason he does not suffer the salutary truth to be spoken to him. Moreover, to be ashamed of the Gospel is a fault of cowardice in pastors, but to contradict it and not to listen to it is a fault of stupidity in church members. This is obvious when the preacher is afraid of the power, influence, and number of his hearers and is silent concerning the essential truth and when the unresponsive hearer despises the lowliness and humble appearance of the Word.


                   2c.  Luther on "power of God for salvation":

                             That is, it is a power unto salvation for all who believe, or it is the Word that has power to save all who believe in it.  And this is given through God and from God.  It is as if you should say:  "This jewel has this power from God, that he who wears it cannot be wounded."  Thus the Gospel has this ingredient from God, that he who believes in it is saved.  In this way, therefore, the person who has the Gospel is powerful and wise before men, even though in the eyes of men he may be considered foolish and weak.


                   3c.  "To each one who is believing"

                             Or: "to each one who has faith," not simply each one who "believed," at some time in the past, who said a "sinner's prayer" and has gone no further.  This is an emphatic description of continuing faith.  The gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believed the gospel when he or she first heard it, and continues to believe despite all.



     2b.  1:17 - Context for Luther -

                   All the while I was absorbed with the passionate desire to get better acquainted with the author of Romans.  Not that I did not succeed, as I had resolved, in penetrating more deeply into the subject in my investigation, but I stumbled over the words (chapter 1:17) concerning the "righteousness of God revealed in the Gospel."  For the concept "God's righteousness" was repulsive to me, as I was accustomed to interpret it according to scholastic philosophy, namely, as the "formal or active" righteousness, in which God proves Himself righteous in that He punishes the sinner as an unrighteous person.

                    Though I lived as a monk without reproach, I felt that I was a sinner before God with an extremely disturbed conscience.  I could not believe that He was placated by my satisfaction.  I did not love, yes, I hated the righteous God who punishes sinners, and secretly, if not blasphemously, certainly murmuring greatly, I was angry with God, and said, "As if, indeed, it is not enough, that miserable sinners, eternally lost through original sin, are crushed by every kind of calamity by the law of the decalogue, without having God add pain to pain by the gospel and also by the gospel threatening us with His righteousness and wrath!"  Thus I raged with a fierce and troubled conscience.  Nevertheless, I beat importunately upon Paul at that place, most ardently desiring to know what St. Paul wanted.  At last, by the mercy of God, meditating day and night, I gave heed to the context of the words, namely, "In it the righteousness of God is revealed, as it is written, 'The righteous one shall live by faith.'"  There I began to understand that the righteousness of God is that by which the righteous lives by a gift of God, namely by faith. And this is the meaning:  the righteousness of God is revealed by the gospel, namely, the passive righteousness with which merciful God justifies us by faith, as it is written, "The righteous one shall live by faith."  Here I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates.  There a totally other face of the entire Scripture showed itself to me.  Thereupon I ran through the Scripture from memory.  I also found in other terms an analogy, as the work of God, that is, what God does in us, the power of God, with which He makes us strong, the wisdom of God, with which he makes us wise, the strength of God, the salvation of God, the glory of God.  And I extolled my sweetest word with a love as great as the hatred with which I had before hated the word "righteousness of God."  Thus that place in Paul was for me truly the gate to paradise.



          3b.  1:17 - Exposition


                   1c.  "the righteousness of God in it is being revealed"

                             Again, not "has been revealed," but "is being revealed," every time the gospel is preached.  Luther nails the essence when he says that God's righteousness, God' justice, can cause nothing but fear unless we recognize that the revelation is what Romans 5:1 calls "being justified/declared righteous by faith;" God's righteousness is revealed in the gospel as that which leads to salvation for those who believe in the gospel.


                   2c.  "from faith to faith"

                             NIV has "by faith from first to last" indicating that we receive God's righteousness by faith at every stage of our Christian life.  Now that may be true, but the expression is lit. "out of faith into faith," or "by faith for faith."  That is, in the gospel, the revelation of God's righteousness is understood not only by having faith, but that revelation is intended to lead to further faith, and faithfulness.


                   3c.  "The righteous one out of faith shall live."

                             Habakkuk 2:4  "Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith. (NASB)

                                The contrast in Hab. is with the proud one, the one who attempts to live according to his own resources and ignore God.  The righteous is the one whose whole life is dependent on and dedicated to faith in God.



2a.  The Wrath of God Comes Upon Those Who Suppress the Truth

     Rom. 1:18-19


          1b.  1:18 - Context for Us - Contrast with Luther's time:


                   1c.       Luther's "tower experience," his "conversion" took place after years of wrestling with a dreadful terror of God's presence because he had such an acute awareness of his own sinfulness and unworthiness.  He was delivered from this fear through his intense study of God's word, and his determination to discover what exactly Paul meant by "God's righteousness." He rejoiced over God's righteousness only after being convicted that God's wrath rested upon him, and that he was delivered from that wrath only by faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ.      Not many of us today, I don't think, take time to reflect on God's wrath toward those who oppose him, and that, literally, except for God's grace, we too would be under His wrath.


                   2c.       Also, Luther's stand against Rome pitted the authority of God's Word against the arrogant authority of men who set their own standards even above God's word.  Luther was willing to submit to any authority who could demonstrate that he was in error regarding God's Word.  Rome refused to deal on those terms;  the Pope and his cardinals simply asserted their authority by virtue of their position.  Luther reflected a mindset of his day that refused to accept authority without reason.  For Luther reason came from the Word of God.

                             If too much authority was the problem in Luther's day, the problem in our day is that we have trouble submitting to any authority at all except our own desires.  Not only in the world, but in the evangelical church we recoil against the whole idea of authority based on absolute truth.  We say we believe the Bible is the Word of God, but when it conflicts with our personal agendas and desires we find some way to rationalize it, to turn its powerful spotlight away from our light onto some other person, some other place, some other time.       

          2b.  Read Rom. 1:18-19 again:


                   "Suppress the truth" is lit. "hold down the truth."  Now the "truth" in this passage is not talking specifically about the gospel, but about "what can be known about God." God has made certain things clear to all men through creation, through His acts of power in history, sometimes through "personal appearances."  It is upon those who suppress that knowledge, that truth, that the wrath of God is being revealed in the gospel.

                   Now if God's wrath falls on those who suppress His truth in creation, which is not salvation truth, how do you suppose God reacts to those who know the truth of the Gospel, the truth of God's revealed Word, and yet suppress parts of it in their own lives?



Conclusion/Reflection


     Luther stood firm in the face of the strongest opposition from the Roman Catholic church and the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.  His commitment to the Word of God led to his understanding that he was righteous before God by faith in Jesus Christ.  Once he understood that, and he no longer feared God's condemnation, he certainly could fear no other man.


***Luther's Closing Statement at Trial

       At this I give my answer.

                Since then your Serene Majesty and your lordships require a simple answer, I will give you one without horns and without teeth, in these words.  Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures, or by evident reason, (for I put my faith neither in Pope nor Councils alone, since it is established that they have erred again and again and contradicted one another), I am bound by the scriptural evidence adduced by me, and my conscience is captive to the Word of God.  I cannot, I will not recant anything, for it is neither safe nor right to act against one's conscience.  Here I stand!  I can [do] no other!

                        God help me.  Amen.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

THEFT #23 - Stealin' Back Knowledge (After Finding Ignorance)

"I don't know...."

There, I said it, and I've said it lots of times in my life, and in a number of different ways. And I usually have that "Well, I'm thinking about it like I might know, but I'm really just hoping" look (which is really just "ummmm....").

 So I might say these sorts of things:
"I'm trying to remember....."
"I know I've heard about that, but....."
"It's on the tip of my brain..."
"I've read about that somewhere, but...."

Well, you get the point.  None of us wants to come right out and say, honestly and plainly:  "I don't know!"  We feel foolish, ashamed, embarrassed, stupid, and all manner of things that are utterly unrelated to simply not knowing something.  And all for nothing.

Here's a clue for you:  I don't know everything!  (Whew...there, I said it!)  But, well, you don't know everything either.  Sorry, but those are the facts, ma'am (or sir).  Despite the extraordinary capacity for learning that our God has given all humanity, plus the computer-trumping memory that He put alongside that capacity, we simply cannot know what we have not encountered, what we have not seen, heard, read, smelled, touched, etc. 


But take heart!   The courage to admit you don't know is, in fact, the one of the very first steps toward knowing.  In fact, saying "I don't know, " very often prompts our minds to find out what we don't know.  Indeed, if our ignorance is part of our daily work (job, vocation, etc), and the person asking us about something is a customer or colleague, we are obligated to find an answer.  We owe the person who asked at least "but I'll find out."

Of course, it goes beyond that. God has imbued the human mind with something we often call "curiosity."   We hear about something, it catches our interest, and we are "curious" to find out more.  

But "curious" is too weak a word for the way God drives us to seek knowledge:  The Bible uses words like "thirst" and "hunger" and "seeking" and "desire" in regard to knowledge, and in addition, it is clear that the Bible regards the quest of knowledge as a good thing.



Aha! In one short sentence, this classic Proverb makes it clear that seeking and acquiring knowledge are the products of the virtues of discernment and wisdom.  But which comes first: discernment or knowledge?  How does one learn to discern without knowledge?

The bottom line is that the way out of ignorance must start with a "primary" or "first" knowledge that must be sought and received, and that is not merely knowledge from God, but the very personal knowledge of God Himself. For the record, the knowledge of God Himself is not only the first step towards other knowledge, but is--in fact--that particular knowledge without which all other knowledge is pointless.  The knowledge of God Himself is quite simply a matter of life and death:

In other words, "first things first!"  God, the LORD, the Almighty, Yahweh, Jesus Christ, IS knowledge and the Creator and Possessor of all knowledge, and His knowledge is perfect just as He is perfect in His essence.  He not only existed "in the beginning" before all creation, as Genesis 1:1 tells us, but He IS "the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End" (Revelation 22:13).

Simply this:  Seek Almighty God in the Person of Jesus Christ, and know Him first, and that knowledge first gives you life, and in that life, the desire for all other worthy knowledge that leads to wisdom.  (More about knowledge versus wisdom in another post.)

But there's something else here:  "Fools despise wisdom and discipline."  So, fools despise wisdom.  They look down upon knowledge, especially the knowledge of God.  In fact, "The fool says to himself 'No God!' "  

This is what we commonly call "willful ignorance," and the Bible calls the willfully ignorant person a "fool."  This is radically different from the humble admittance of ignorance at the beginning of this post, because that with simple "I don't know," ignorance is properly accompanied by "but I'll find out!"

Not so for the fool, for the fool says not only "I don't know," but also "and I don't care!"  And in that careless attitude he or she also says "No God!"  No God for them to seek, no God to give them knowledge, no God to speak to them, no God to give them life, so they think, and simple ignorance becomes willful ignorance becomes foolishness, and in the end becomes........death.

So, how about this instead:  Proverbs 2:1-5  
"1 My son, if you will receive my words 
And treasure my commandments within you,  
2 Make your ear attentive to wisdom, 
Incline your heart to understanding;  
3 For if you cry for discernment, 
Lift your voice for understanding;  
4 If you seek her as silver 
And search for her as for hidden treasures;  
5 Then you will discern the fear of the LORD 
And discover the knowledge of God."

This clearly should be more than a one post topic, and I'm due to get rolling on this blog again, and the subject of "the knowledge of God" is more than worthy of learning and writing about.

So I'll be back with more of this.....  but, of course you eagerly say:
 And I humbly say......
Later friends - The Thief.