Cease listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge. (Proverbs 19:27)
The Hearing And The Doing
One of the first acts of life is the unconscious reaction to knowledge. As an infant, we may not fully understand the reasons why but we respond to words learning how to focus, speak and walk. Throughout adolescence we continue to respond to instructions learning how to take care of ourselves in the vast library of knowledge. Somewhere along the way we learn an ironic lesson of hearing knowledge but refusing to act on that knowledge. It gets worse the older we get. A spirit of rebellion enters our minds as we believe there is no need to listen to others for guidance. We become our own volume of knowledge and like Sinatra, “I did it my way.”’
The root of man’s failure has always been the inability to follow wisdom. This has been a problem on many levels. If man follows the wisdom of man it is foolishness. When man stops listening to the one who made him it is foolishness. Wisdom or knowledge is power. Refusing to follow knowledge will always end in disaster. The history of man is littered with the fragments of misery when knowledge is rebuffed.
Man has always enjoyed a healthy respect for his own knowledge rejecting the wisdom that is from above. The message of the proverb is the senseless act of listening to wise teaching with no intention of profiting by it. Whenever an answer is needed for a complex problem an expert is called in for consultation. It would be folly not to heed the wisdom of one who is well versed in the field of knowledge needed to solve the problem. The nature of man can only be answered by the One who is well versed in the needs of man: Creator Jehovah. Sadly, most reject the will of God. How tragic that all the answers of life are contained within the word of God and so few attend to its message.
The Bible is the mind of God revealed unto man. Everything we need to know about life is found in this simple revelation. Written by men across an array of generations the unity of purpose is clearly evident as the work of the Holy Spirit. No writing of man can come close to its content of wisdom. The single volume of knowledge that will empower man with an eternal glory is reviled as a book of myths and fairy tales. Paul writes that faith will come from a hearing of the word of God and without this message there can be no knowledge. The inescapable conclusion is the measure of our faith is determined by our knowledge of the word of God. Reading the Bible is not to garner stars in our crown for how many chapters we read each day but the power of change that takes place when we embed the teachings of Jesus Christ into our hearts. When we stop listening to the word of God we commit a most foolish act. Let the words abide in our lives. Let them change the character, refresh the spirit and make us in the image of our Father. Never cease from listening to the words of God. Live the words. Act upon its message. Let faith be seen in our living the knowledge gained in a study of His word.
Faith seeps out as knowledge seeps down. (John Haynes Holmes, Religion Today, ed. A. L. Swift, 1933)