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. 

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