Monday, February 13, 2017

Knowledge Without Wisdom

Elihu continued speaking:  “Let me go on, and I will show you the truth.
 For I have not finished defending God! I am telling you nothing but the truth,
 for I am a man of great knowledge. (Job 36: 1-2, 4 NLT)

Job's Suffering
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.  Wisdom is the loving use of what we know.  Job’s friends lacked the understanding of how to apply truth to his suffering.  They may have been more concerned about being right than helping their friend.

It is possible to say right things in the wrong way or to utter true sayings at an improper time or place.  Many of the things that Job’s counselors said were true but did not apply to Job.  The Devil knows the Word of God and is not shy about using it on us, out of context.  Just because something is true, does not mean it is right to say it.  Elihu and his friends made the mistake that you and I often make.  They assumed that life is a mere cause and effect relationship.  Job was suffering; therefore, he was being punished for his wrongdoings. The Book of Job teaches us that life is not that simple. Bad things happen to good people. In Job's case, he suffered due to his righteousness.

A telling point in this interchange is when Elihu said that he only tells the truth and he has great knowledge (v 4).  Anytime we think we have a corner on the truth; it shows our ignorance.  If you think you are wise, you are probably not.  The smartest thing Elihu could have done would have been to talk less and listen more. As Abraham Lincoln once said, “Better to remain silent and be thought to be a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” 

There is a sign that hangs on the walls of many our public schools. It says, “Knowledge is Power.”  This is very true, but it’s also right that knowledge alone is dangerous.  The Bible says that before knowledge you need to have virtue (2 Peter 1:5).  If we speak to people with our heads but without our hearts, it is like pouring vinegar on a wound.  Knowledge without wisdom, like truth without grace, never heals the hurting.  Unlike Job’s friends, let’s lovingly apply knowledge to those in pain.

Image used with permission by Google.

Ken Barnes the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing

Monday, February 6, 2017

The Crucible of Life

Life at times, even for a Christian, can seem difficult.  Often, life’s burdens can feel too overwhelming to bear.  In spite of this, trials have a refining effect on our lives, and in the end are always for our good.

Darlene Cunningham, the co-founder of Youth With A Mission, once stood gazing out over the wall that separated free and communist controlled Europe. She had heard of the suffering and persecution that believers in Christ were experiencing in Marxist controlled countries.  She was safe, and warm, and well fed, but not so for her brothers and sisters on the other side of the wall.  She cried out to God, “Where is your justice, Lord?”  The Lord answered her. He said, no, you do not suffer like they do, but you do not know me like they do either.  Salvation is free, but discipleship is costly.  Discipline, God crossing our will with his, is always good for us and without it, we will never experience his holiness (Hebrews 12:10).  Just as the dross rises to the top when silver is heated, so is our sin brought to the surface by the trials and tribulations of life.   When it’s happening, discipline is not pleasurable, but in the end, it brings the peaceable fruit of righteousness (v. 11).  God’s purpose in our suffering is always redemptive.

In our culture we have a quick-fix mentality that is pervasive even in our Christian faith. There is no shortcut to holiness.  The pathway to imparted righteousness always goes through the crucible of life.  The process is a lot easier if we accept rather than resist the goodness of God.

Image used with permission by Microsoft.

Ken Barnes the author of “The Chicken Farm and Other Sacred Places”  YWAM Publishing