1 Corinthians 3:18-19 - Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, "He catches the wise in their craftiness."
Somewhere along the line, many people have concluded that when the light of faith goes on in a person's heart, the light of knowledge in their brain has to be put out.
Now, you should know, nowhere in Scripture does God condemn the acquisition of knowledge. It is only when experts elevate human knowledge over godly wisdom -- that's when they become foolish.
Now understand, I have a deep appreciation of human knowledge.
Because Sir Alexander Fleming saw the curative possibilities of penicillin in a Petri dish, I survived pneumonia when I was five. The knowledge of Jonas Salk and his team offered our children freedom from polio. Other smart folks have given our households microwave ovens, automobiles, light with the flip of a switch, central air-conditioning, Band-Aids®, computers, nail clippers, CDs, and videos to preserve family memories.
No, God isn't against human knowledge. He who gave us brains to think is pleased when we put them to use. But when earthly experts elevate human knowledge over God's wisdom, they become foolish.
Take a look at the Bible. I'll show you what I mean.
Adam and Eve were intelligent enough to name and, I suppose, remember the names of all the Creator's creatures. God asked them to do that. But when the first family thought they were experts and elevated their wishes above God's will, they got into trouble.
Before the flood, God had no problem with humans using their intelligence to subdue the earth. He said that was their responsibility. But when those humans thought they were wise enough to put their pleasure seeking above God's wisdom, the Lord was greatly grieved (see Genesis 6:5-6).
The Lord was glorified by many of the things His prophet Moses did. But when Moses thought himself an expert -- wise enough to improve upon God's plan to give water to the wandering Israelites -- things did not go well (Numbers 20:5).
Time and again, Scripture tells us that when a man thinks he is expert enough and has wisdom enough to displace God, the Lord turns the tables. When experts elevate human knowledge over godly wisdom, they become foolish.
And what should we do to become truly wise? That's simple: trust in the Lord with all your heart and don't lean on your own smarts (see Proverbs 3:5-6). Believe Him when He says that Jesus is the only way of salvation (see John 14:6). Trust Him when He says that there is no other Name under heaven which can save (see Acts 4:12). Rely on His Word which tells us "the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from every sin" (1 John 1:7b).
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, many thanks to You for giving us the ability to think. Forgive us for those times when we might think we know more than You. Grant us a spirit of humility and respect to You for Your many graces and gifts. This I ask in the Name of Him who is the greatest gift of all. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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