Knowledge is power, so it is said. One of the great gifts of the Enlightenment was indeed the removal of knowledge from the monopoly of the church. Knowledge, when freed from the shackles of human power and control, can grow.
Knowledge, by the way, does not mean wisdom. Wisdom is something completely different (though it often looks similar). Societally, we value knowledge. We lift those up with lots of education. We often put them on a pedestal as if they are of greater value than we are. The problem truly comes when one views the knowledge they have as giving some authority, insight, and/or power that is not theirs.
Hannah’s prayer covers that to some degree as she talks about not boasting, or speaking arrogantly. She notes that God has all the knowledge. As God has all the knowledge, God is able to weigh everyone’s actions. No matter how much knowledge we have, or anyone has, we will never have all the knowledge of God even with all the technology we have now, and will have. Only God has the knowledge of all people and all situations.
As Elihu speaks, we should all be cringing. How could anyone be so arrogant they have complete knowledge? Sadly, this is exactly how many people speak and act. In fact, such speakers are given accolades. Lest you forget, that is exactly what we are getting in our politics these days, and it will probably be worse next year. That is unless we take a stand. This is not the stand of my way is THE right way, but the stand of I may not be right and should be open to others. This doesn’t mean we will all agree, all of a sudden. Often if we are willing to listen, the heart of our approach may change hearts. However, even if opinions aren’t changed, bridges can still be built instead of walls.
For Christians, it should be a deepening knowledge of God through Jesus and the Holy Spirit that we should seek, both in ourselves and in others. Peter reminds us that this is how we deepen our faith. If we keep increasing our knowledge of God…we won’t be useless. That means if we do keep increasing in our knowledge we are useful to God. Sounds pretty good.
1) Do you find yourself overly respecting those with knowledge?
2) How are you deepening your knowledge of God? Is it with purpose, or is it aimless?
3) How can we gently correct those full of knowledge, who are full of themselves?