Truth, Understanding, Insight


20th August 2010, mgh


3) Knowledge in the Old Testament

The Psalmist wants judgement and knowledge and confesses a belief in Yahweh's commands.

Teach me good judgement and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments. (Psalm 119: 66)

In Proverbs there are frequent references to the need to acquire wisdom, understanding and knowledge as essential characteristics of the faithful. And more than this it is necessary, to increase 'knowledge and discretion' in order to obtain wisdom. Fear and reverence of Yahweh is the first step in gaining knowledge, but the foolish 'despise wisdom and instruction'.

To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1: 4-7)

In Proverbs 2, there is an appeal to search for knowledge with a strong desire and through prayer. It is like the search for treasure. Wisdom and knowledge are from Yahweh who 'gives wisdom: out of his mouth comes knowledge and understanding'. Where is this found? In the Word of God. The reward is salvation.

So that you incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; Yea, if you cry after knowledge, and lift up your voice for understanding; If you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hid treasures; Then shall you understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom: out of his mouth comes knowledge and understanding. He lays up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keeps the paths of judgement, and preserves the way of his saints. Then shall you understand righteousness, and judgement, and equity; yea, every good path. When wisdom enters into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto your soul; Discretion shall preserve you, understanding shall keep you: (Proverbs 2: 2-11)

These same ideas are captured in other sections of Proverbs.

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. (Proverbs 9: 10. See also Proverbs 15: 2,7,14)

There is gold, and a multitude of rubies: but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel. (Proverbs 20: 15)

Without knowledge there is no salvation says Yahweh in Hosea.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that you shall be no priest to me: seeing you have forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.(Hosea 4: 6)
For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. (Hosea 6:6)

Jeremiah was told to give the nation of Israel this warning and condemnation.

But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people: and walk you in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward. Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them: Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers. Therefore you shall speak all these words unto them; but they will not hearken to you: you shall also call unto them; but they will not answer thee. But you shall say unto them, This is a nation that obeyed not the voice of the LORD their God, nor received correction: truth is perished, and is cut off from their mouth. (Jeremiah 7: 23-28)

To reject knowledge meant that the nation of Israel would indeed become a desolation and only a few faithful would gain redemption and ultimate salvation which was to come through their Messiah and Redeemer, Yeshua. This message still remains the same for those today who seek redemption in this modern world.

Yeshua accused the Jews, who did not accept him as their Messiah, of not knowing the Word of God. They did not recognise the miracles that Yeshua performed as the sign of his Messiahship and Yahweh's power working in Yeshua. They were supposed to know their scriptures but because they failed to recognise him, this was evidence that they did not understand their scriptures. He then warns them that they needed to “search the scriptures”.

But I have greater witness than that of John(the Baptist): for the works which the Father has given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father has sent me. And the Father himself, which has sent me, has borne witness of me. You have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. And you have not his word abiding in you: for whom he has sent, him you believe not.
Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. (John 5: 36-39)

For those who seek salvation, the message remains the same, “search the scriptures”, which is, the Word of God.

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