Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Bible, Knowledge and You - Part Two

In our study last month we learned how the Bible defines knowledge, the source of knowledge and the value God places on it. This month we'll jump into the book of Proverbs and discover it's take on knowledge. Proverbs is one of my favorite books and I'm excited to learn more about it's treasures together!

Into Proverbs!

To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. (Proverbs 1:4)

Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:3, 5 & 6)

Right from the start, God tells us the purpose of Proverbs is to give knowledge and discretion to the young. He also gives us the top two best ways to find knowledge: God's Word and asking for it.

God's Word: Have you ever thought of how practical the Bible is? What it has to say about biology, history, nutrition, astronomy, economics, broken relationships and what God expects from us? We've already touched on how God is the fountainhead of true knowledge, but how do we know how to separate true knowledge from the false? The answer is His Word. The Bible must be our filter that lets the pure air of truth through while straining out the toxic fumes of falsehood. Granted, the Bible may not give us every detail of world history, but the Bible as a history book gives us the framework for how to interpret history. It may not tell us how how many light years Regulus is from Earth, but what it teaches about the stars has proven true. The Bible even exposed science laws that modern science is just now catching up to.

Asking for it: The second best way to grow in knowledge is to ask others. This is probably the hardest one for me. I've missed too many opportunities to grow in knowledge because I was either too shy, too lazy or too proud to ask. But one of the best questions you and I could ever master is “How do you do that?” Quiet politeness never helped anyone learn something new. And the thing is, most people love the opportunity to share what they know. So be bold in pursuing knowledge. If you have a question, ask.

They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge. Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.( Proverbs 8:9 & 10)

In God's sight, knowledge is better than the choicest gold and silver. Could this be an important insight for moderns living in a feeble economy? Could it be that while the world is staring at the stock value of gold and silver, that knowledge of how to provide for oneself and others might be the greater protection against either a local or global crises? Food for thought.

Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction. (Proverbs 10:14)

What is it wise men search for and lay up for, like a squirrel storing food against January's cold? Knowledge! How motivated are you and I to follow the way of wise men?

Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish. (Proverbs 12:1)
Smite a scorner, and the simple will beware: and reprove one that hath understanding, and he will understand knowledge. (Proverbs 19:25)

Are you grateful when your dad corrects you on how to mow the lawn? What about when Grandma tells you to sit up straight? Does your spirit readily see the wisdom in their instruction or do you inwardly bristle that they are telling you what to do? Our love of knowledge is tested by our love of instruction. To love instruction is to be grateful to the one who reproves us, but to resent it reveals our foolishness.

Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open his folly. (Proverbs 13:16)

Prudence is highly esteemed in the Bible and here the prudent man is characterized by his knowledge. To “dealeth” means to “trade, market”, such as when we say a man deals in horses or real estate. Knowledge is the prudent man's trademark that guides his way of living.

Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge. (Proverbs 22:17)

I love this word picture about a common, yet sometimes despised, avenue for knowledge. It's in bowing down our ear and listening to the little elderly lady in the wheelchair tell about being frugal during the Great Depression or listening when great-grandpa tells his best gardening tips, that so much knowledge is gained. So many times we are like Rehoboam who preferred the counsel of his friends over the older advisers. Thus we miss untold gems of knowledge because we don't bow down our ear.

A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength. (Proverbs 24:5)

To increase in knowledge is to increase in strength. No wonder the Proverbs 31 woman is characterized as being girded with strength – she must have known knowledge was a jewel above rubies.

And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches...So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off. (Proverbs 24:4 & 14)

The blessings of the words of knowledge overtake us in many ways one of which is in financial resources. Ultimately it is God Who gives power to get wealth, but the Bible does link it as a side benefit to increasing in knowledge. As these verses show, God wills for His children to be storehouses of knowledge for their good and His glory. Anything else that follows is a bonus.

We've just waded ankle-deep into the vast pool of Proverbs. We didn't even cover how the lips reveal a man's level of knowledge (Proverbs 15:2, 4 & 17) or the diligence it requires by the one who seeks it (Proverbs 18:15). Maybe one of your goals this week could be doing your own word study on knowledge and learning more about this amazing gift. Word studies are very simple to do using either a concordance or go to Bible Gateway (type "knowledge" into the search bar) https://www.biblegateway.com/. It would make my day to hear what you learn, so feel more than free to share in the comments! (smiles)

 "To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion."

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