To the “know it all”

Psalm 119:130 “The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.”

No one likes a know-it-all.  You know the kind.  You can’t tell them anything, because they are so enthralled with how much more they know than anyone else that they have no interest in hearing from those who are “lesser.”  It seems that not even God can tell them anything.  The Bible would call such a person a fool.  You see, one of the prerequisites for learning is to realize that we lack knowledge – and typically it’s only as we begin to learn that we realize how much we don’t understand. In other words, we usually don’t know how much we don’t know.  We often don’t realize how much understanding we lack.  So, what do we do about it? 

Obviously, if we want to learn something about some topic or skill, we have to go to someone who knows more than we do.  The more critical the need to know, the more important that we find someone with such knowledge.  For example, I’d like to know how to fish for trout with nymphs (at least I’ve always told myself that I’d like to know this), but I’ve never put much effort into seeking such knowledge out, and the truth be told, I’ve done just fine at fishing in other ways.

However, it’s much more critical that I know how to love my wife.  If I fail in that area, it has wide-ranging consequences for her, me, and the rest of our family.  Yet, I won’t seek such knowledge if I don’t first admit that I lack it.  In the words above from Psalm 119, God tells us that His words give light and understanding to the simple.  His Word can’t help the know-it-all.  It’s in the admission that we lack knowledge of the most important things in life that we make the first step toward acquiring wisdom for such things.  And about those most important things in life, the one who truly does know it all is God.  It’s called omniscience, and it’s an awesome thing. 

Think for a moment of the mind of the One who has given us the Bible.  He’s the same One who created the entire universe.  One of the ways He has spoken is in the language of our DNA.  Do you realize that if all the information in all the cells in your body’s DNA were typed out on paper, there would be enough pages to fill the Grand Canyon almost 30 times! Yet, this information is so compressed, that you can’t read it with an electron microscope.  Another way to think of this is that if all the information in one of the cells from each person that has ever lived was put in a pile, that pile would weigh less than an aspirin (! 

Compared to this incredible knowledge, can anyone, even Einstein, not think of themselves as “simple.”  But it is to the simple, those who realize that there’s much they don’t know, that God has promised to unfold His Word. If we really want to understand God’s infinite Word, it takes His infinite mind to teach us.  And the fact of the matter is that He really wants to teach us – if we really want to learn. 

You see, God will not force His knowledge upon us.  While Jesus often urged those to whom He spoke to “Listen!” (e.g., Mark 4:3 and Luke 9:44), He never forced them to hear if they turned away.  While He longs for us to know Him and to fill us with the knowledge of His Word, we must long for this same thing if we ever hope to learn.  As the Lord has told us through the prophet Jeremiah, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13).”  But it’s only the simple, those who realize how much they need Him, that will seek Him in this way.

So, does that describe you?  Are you longing to learn from the omniscient One?  Or are you satisfied that you know all you need to know about life, even in the face of the wisdom of God.

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