Knowledge

“‘How can you say, “We know the score.
We’re the proud owners of God’s revelation”?
Look where it’s gotten you—stuck in illusion.
Your religion experts have taken you for a ride!
Your know-it-alls will be unmasked,
caught and shown up for what they are.
Look at them! They know everything but God’s Word.
Do you call that “knowing”?
“‘So here’s what will happen to the know-it-alls:
I’ll make them wifeless and homeless.
Everyone’s after the dishonest dollar,
little people and big people alike.
Prophets and priests and everyone in between
twist words and doctor truth.
My dear Daughter—my people—broken, shattered,
and yet they put on Band-Aids,
Saying, “It’s not so bad. You’ll be just fine.”
But things are not “just fine”!
Do you suppose they are embarrassed
over this outrage?
Not really. They have no shame.
They don’t even know how to blush.
There’s no hope for them. They’ve hit bottom
and there’s no getting up.
As far as I’m concerned,
they’re finished.’” God has spoken. (Jeremiah 8:8-12)

It is easy to overestimate one’s knowledge. A college student in his or her second year is called a Sophomore. It comes from two Greek words: sophos, wise, and mōros, stupid. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, because people easily believe that they know more than they really do. Seeing how much more they know than others, they become proud.

A genuine education has been obtained when the student realizes how little he knows—and how little he can ever know. Humility is the consequence of genuine knowledge, because only then can we see how small we are and how big the subject matter is.

The Israelites had received a little knowledge of God; they’d gotten some of his words. They mistakenly imagined they knew it all. Instead, they knew nothing, and what little they did know, they didn’t even use. They simply patted themselves on the back for what they’d gotten, as if what they had gotten was merely a pretty shiny jewel that sparkled and they could enjoy the light show.
God concluded that they didn’t deserve their scholarship any more. He would send them back to captivity in Babylon. They hadn’t learned anything yet—and their test scores were abysmal.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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