Knowledge of the Lord
Knowledge of the Lord is a frequent topic in Scripture. To be clear, knowledge is “information gained through experience, reasoning, or acquaintance.” On the other hand, Wisdom is “the ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting.” Read more the differences between wisdom and knowledge here.
In Proverbs, Wisdom is personified and portrayed as a woman, calling out daily in the streets to those who will hear her (remember the importance of hearing?). Some respond to her, while others reject her. Here, Wisdom describes the people who have rejected her:
Because they hated knowledge
and did not choose the fear of the LORD,
would have none of my counsel
and despised all my reproof,
therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way,
and have their fill of their own devices.
Proverbs 1:29-31, ESV
This proverb reads like a curse, right? It reminds me of this one:
Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
[this is the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil]
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you…(Genesis 3:17-18, ESV)
Because He wants to provide for us, God wants us to get His teachings into our hearts (Proverbs 4:5-9). He tells us to apply His wisdom and knowledge in our world, living our lives according to His Word. When we choose our own wisdom over His, we resemble our first parents, Adam and Eve. They disobeyed God, eating of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2:17). This tree…
“possibly indicates the extremes [of good and evil] and thus, the totality of knowledge. If so, the tree may have symbolized God’s OMNISCIENCE and the power associated with it. In partaking of its fruit, Adam and Eve reached for divinity but obtained guilt, shame, condemnation and expulsion instead.”
The teaching here is seen over and over in the Bible: when we desire to rule over ourselves and reject God’s authority, we are choosing a curse.
- We must not despise knowledge. In both Proverbs 1:29 and Genesis 2:17, Scripture uses the Hebrew word Da’at, or knowledge, which we see in these verses, too: “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings” (Hosea 6:6) and, “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints” (Prov 2:6-8). Knowledge of the Lord is a gift meant to increase our intimacy/improve our relationship with God. Therefore, despising intimacy with God is rejecting Him, personally.
- We must fear Him. We’ve talked about having a “healthy fear” of the LORD recently. Because we fear Him, we have great respect and reverence for Him. Fear reminds us that this is how He speaks of His enemies, “I will execute great vengeance on them with wrathful rebukes. Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I lay My vengeance upon them” (Ezekiel 25:17)…okay, is it just me? This totally makes me think of Samuel L. Jackson, in Pulp Fiction. Which, then, makes me think of how my children just call him Sam-yell Jackson (from The Avengers), which is just funny.
Responding to the Call of Wisdom
- We must respond to the counsel and reproofs of Wisdom. The Holy Spirit and the Word act, together, to teach the believer. In order to grow in Wisdom, we must hear the Word, and do it. As we conform to the Word, our hearts are remade in His image. The Holy Spirit enables this to happen. Intimate relationship with the Lord, changes us. We cannot come close to God and remain the same — encountering the Holy One rescues, redeems, renews and repurposes us.
- Rejecting the LORD and the gospel, means God will give us over to the consequences of our own choices. “For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries…For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay.’ And again, ‘The LORD will judge His people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:26-27, 30-31).
Because He loves us and wants us to know Him better, [by living in intimate relationship with Him] God gives us beautiful gifts—His Truth and His Wisdom. If we reject these gifts, we reject Him. If we submit to Him, we’re changed by knowing Him.
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