Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Seek Knowledge As For Treasure

I flipped open my Bible this morning wanting to hear from God and read this:  "Hear, my son, your father's instruction And do not forsake your mother's teaching; Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head And ornaments about your neck."

Then I read: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction."

I continued to read through Proverbs 1 and 2 . . . about the importance of knowledge.  And not just importance, but necessity . . . of knowledge--of the knowledge of God.

Earlier this morning I had just been telling my wife how often I am struck by the lack of curiosity in people.  How I might mention to someone, "God is the all in all to me . . . always was. . . . I was dedicated Hindu of a kind once . . . grew up around and in Mormonism . . . have studied and practiced a variety of "spiritual paths" . . . but am now settled as a "born again Christian."

Then follows the blank stare, the distracted, wandering gaze and no follow up.  Maybe a "yeah, I took a class in comparative religions in college--that stuff interests me. . . ." But no more questions, no real interest, no curiosity.

Or, there are those who "know it all" already.  They are like water-tight drums, sealed and concluded.  They are done being taught.  They cannot bear instruction.  Among claimed believers it appears to me that the falsely converted, who but follow their own idol disguised as if it were The Lord . . . are likewise unteachable.  They are not much interested in debate, exchange, issues, growth in true spiritual knowledge . . . but are often quick to pontificate; while the genuinely convicted are always ready to receive, to hear, to learn more . . . about God . . . from His Word and from elders in the faith. "Doctrine divides" shout those who have settled into the small confines of a few self-supporting biases and precepts. . . .

"A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel," . . . Wisdom shouts in the street, She lifts her voice in the square; At the head of the noisy streets she cries out; At the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings: 'How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing And fools hate knowledge? '"

Fools hate knowledge.  Strong feelings and emotion, however, these they will follow.  Many professed believers mistake powerful emotional experience among a single-minded group . . . as being "spiritual" experience.  But often . . . what they are experiencing is nothing of the sort.  Oh, you could call it a "spiritual experience" . . . but of what spirit?  Fans who go to a concert of their favorite artist or band . . . have just as strong experiences.  We've all seen the crowds of teenagers losing their minds, crying, fainting, screaming, dancing, smiling, cheering . . . in old Beatles or Rolling Stones footage. . . . I've seen Star Wars movie fans similarly emoting and experiencing ecstatic states of mind and heart during premiers of the latest franchise release. . . .

This is what happens also in a large number of churches.  The object is purportedly different (Paul McCartney versus "Jesus") which . . . usually just tends to add a dose of self-righteousness along with the idolatry for the professing believer--but in either case, what is really being emotionally connected to and triggering the highly charged ecstatic states . . . is yet . . . just another idol, but in "spiritual" garb. 

In my first stint as a "Hindu" I remember talking to fellow devotees of "enlightened master" Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh . . . and later in another phase of life with disciples of Srila Prabhupada--and in both cases they went on rapturously about how "spiritually" profound it was . . . to be there with the other disciples, in the same room as "the master"--that the intense emotional/"spiritual" feelings and stimulating experience of it . . . was such obvious evidence of "the master's" divinely channeling being.  They too would cheer and dance and shout and cry and laugh . . . for hours at a time.

But intense emotional experience (though it be under the roof of a religious building and with similarly minded "spiritually" focused comrades . . . does not necessarily mean that something of God is occurring.  All of these kinds of states can be whipped up and manufactured by charismatic skilled men/women . . . and even helped along by the "powers and principalities of the air", "the forces of darkness", "spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places."

But beyond some powerful "experience"--especially an emotional one--few are curious to investigate further.  Who needs knowledge "when your heart tells you it is so"?

But God says, "My son, if you will receive my words and treasure my commandments within you, make your ear attentive to wisdom, incline your heart to understanding; for if you cry for discernment, lift your voice for understanding; if you seek her as silver and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will discern the fear of the LORD and discover the knowledge of God."

And then today is the added danger of so much constant distraction.  Rather than waiting in the quiet and searching out specific leadings, there is barely ever a gap of spiritual silence; but instead we seek daily a machine-gun fire of basically meaningless enticements and faux controversies as quick stimulation.  The endless seductions to the eye and mind and emotion offered by Twitter and Facebook, which drag the attention over here . . . now over there . . . back here . . . now this . . . look at this . . . constant noise and gossip and news . . . filling the soul . . . with pap that has virtually nothing to do with the real purpose and meaning of this very life in the first place.  For the most part it is no different than any other physical addiction which stands in the way of primarily honoring and glorifying God and pursuing deeper knowledge of Him.

10 for wisdom will come into your heart,
    and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
11 discretion will watch over you,
    understanding will guard you,
12 delivering you from the way of evil,
    from men of perverted speech,
13 who forsake the paths of uprightness
    to walk in the ways of darkness,
14 who rejoice in doing evil
    and delight in the perverseness of evil,
15 men whose paths are crooked,
    and who are devious in their ways.
16 So you will be delivered from the forbidden[a] woman,
    from the adulteress[b] with her smooth words,
17 who forsakes the companion of her youth
    and forgets the covenant of her God;
18 for her house sinks down to death,
    and her paths to the departed;[c]
19 none who go to her come back,
    nor do they regain the paths of life.
20 So you will walk in the way of the good
    and keep to the paths of the righteous.
21 For the upright will inhabit the land,
    and those with integrity will remain in it,
22 but the wicked will be cut off from the land,
    and the treacherous will be rooted out of it.
(Proverbs 2)

1 comment:

Mark said...

My curiosity was drawn to a stone,not so much for for the stone itself but for the message written there.

Quickly this stone became the white stone of knowledge,a true spiritual treasure.I told God I was going to share this stone with all Men.

God chuckled and said son you won't even be able to give this white stone away.

Here I sit arm outstretched with this stone in the palm of my hand as fools walk by.

Father is right!

Brother Thomas ©2015

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