Yeager column: The light of knowledge
Talke no more so exceedingly proudly, let not arrogancie come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.
ó 1 Samuel 2:3 KJV
Hannah, the faithful mother of Samuel the prophet, sings a praise song of depth and wonder. Hannah declares: The Lord is God of knowledge. What does she mean? We sing praises to our God of mercy, power, and grace, but knowledge?
Not so much.
In the Garden of Eden, amongst all the magnolias, crape myrtles, Southern oak and sugar pine, God planted two notable trees ó the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
The old Snake Story gives tree number two kind of a bad rap, but the Bible certainly doesn’t mean that knowledge of good and evil is evil itself: It was through human disobedience that the Fall occurred, not through gaining knowledge.
In other places, the Bible seems quite keen that God’s people become people of knowledge ó In Joshua 1:8, in Hosea 4, in Romans 16:19.
My personal favorite is in Philippians 4: “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
As I understand it, all truth is God’s truth ó and wherever in God’s world people seek truth, good things happen.
And the opposite is true: In every instance of poverty, of abuse of spouse and children, of domestic violence, drug abuse, and fear that turns to hate that turns to violence so inevitably ó there, stalking like a shadowy villain is the specter of ignorance ó the absence of knowledge. Ignorance is a scourge of evil among us.
There’s good reason people called Jesus a teacher (John 1, 11, 13, 20, among many others). In 1 Peter 2, Jesus calls us out of darkness, into his marvelous light.
Education’s Latin root is “to lead out.” That is exactly what Jesus does, and expects us to do also.
I am not as concerned about “prayer IN schools” as I am about “prayer FOR schools.”
I worship the God of knowledge, and support the gaining of knowledge through worship and through education. The fruit of knowledge is all around us. Just this week in the international journal the Economist is a glad report on biotechnology in North Carolina ó way to go, Tar Heels! And this week’s Time magazine reports on a textile mill in King’s Mountain that is thriving and hiring in this economy. They are leading the way through hard work and sophisticated knowledge.
All of us, especially Christians, should be supporting the gaining of knowledge as best we can, because we don’t worship any god of ignorance, poverty, injustice, hate and fear, but rather our magnificent God of knowledge, who leads us out of darkness, into his marvelous light.
The Rev. Greg Yeager is pastor of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, China Grove.