The term we commonly use for a collection of useful facts and data is ‘knowledge’. Honestly, the word is over-rated and, while it does have a magnificent and dignified ring to it, we often come away with the notion that gaining ‘it’ is sufficient unto its self. That is a concept flawed.
The beauty of God’s Word (the Bible) is that He not only provides us with knowledge, but ‘understanding’—the catalyst that gives life to knowledge. Peter reminds us in his first letter to the mission-ed church that the Old Testament prophets were abundantly blessed with knowledge (given directly by God), but they had very little understanding of the things they knew and shared—abundantly informed, yet deficient in perception.
Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven–things which angels desire to look into. 1 Peter 1:10-12
The Joy of Understanding
The prophets knew of two God-given truths: the suffering of Mount Calvary and the glory of Mount Olivet. Through them we learned prophetically of our Lord’s first coming (and His consequent torment on Calvary) and His second coming when He returns as our glorious and conquering King. What the prophets missed was the valley in between the two—the valley the Apostle Paul refers to in Romans 5:1-5. Through Paul’s explanation of God’s refining process we have understanding.
Paul explains (as does Peter) that Jesus wants nothing more for us than to be eternally blessed, just as He was. We read about an attribute of Christ Jesus (in Hebrews 1:9) that is often over looked.
You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”
There is no one happier than Jesus; He truly was, ‘The Man from Glad!” And that is what Jesus desires for us. The route to this eternal bliss is found only through Him and via His refining process. When we understand the progression (as prescribed in Romans 5), the motivation behind it all (Christ’s love for us), and the glorious destiny that awaits, it is only proper that we rejoice through it all. It is then we can declare with all confidence…
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
Something is Missing
There is a piece missing. We have knowledge and we have understanding, but if we are not utilizing that which we have, we lack wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to apply, with understanding, those things which we know to be true. It has been my experience that as I proceed ‘wisely’ with that which the Lord has provided, He provides more. In contrast, when I sit on my wisdom, the flow ceases.