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When We Know Not

When We Know Not

The phrase “I know that I know nothing” is called the Socratic Paradox and is a well-known saying, but there is no record of Socrates ever speaking these words.   The saying is derived from Plato’s account of the Greek philosopher Socrates.  I’m not sure what this saying even means, because if you know that you know nothing – well, then you do know something.  

When we don’t know, we tend to stumble along and often fail or fall. Israel was a prime example of this.   This nation was known as the people of God.   This is because God chose the nation of Israel to carry out His plan to bring salvation to humanity. God set things up and as His plan was being carried out Israel was to know and to follow that plan.   However, we find in Jeremiah 8:5-9 that even though Israel had been informed, and had been given God’s Word, they still knew not.   Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return6 I hearkened and heard, but they spake not aright: no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? every one turned to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle. Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD.  8 How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us? Lo, certainly in vain made he it; the pen of the scribes is in vain. 9 The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the LORD; and what wisdom is in them

This passage also shows that God’s creation, with the exception of man follows the plans set up by God.   Why is it that man does not know? It was not because they were not told.   In Hosea 4:6 the Spirit directed Hosea to write why God’s people were destroyed and what their own actions would bring upon them.   My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

So that we do not misunderstand – Let us be clear.   God is not a respecter of persons per both the Old and New Testaments. From the O.T. we see this in the book of 2Chronicles 19:7 (to the Jewish nation only). Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts.    And, from the N.T. we find this in Romans 2:11 as well as other passages. For there is no respect of persons with God.   Therefore, He has given His Word to all men, if they will receive and accept it.

God’s forgetting the children of the nation of Israel would be brought on by the parents.   For, if parents reject the knowledge of God and do not pass it on to their children, the children will not know God, nor follow Him.   This is clearly what the Spirit had Paul write to the Roman brethren in Romans 1:28. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;    Even a casual reading of the verses that follow verse 28 shows the despicable activity in which many who refuse to retain God in their knowledge participate.

This is why God saw to it that the gospel was preached everywhere.   There is no excuse for man not knowing God’s Will for man. The Spirit had Paul inform the Colossians brethren of this in Colossians 1:23 as well as pointing out the importance of holding fast to the truth. If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; 

We also must also understand that choice is part of this equation.  Everyone that is of the age of accountability must make their own choice.   But, let us also acknowledge that each will be judged according to what they choose in this life.    2Corinthians 5:10 makes this abundantly clear.   For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.  Can we afford to not know?   The grace of God has been extended to us in that we have this present time to know and to choose well. Make the best of the time you have.   Read and know God’s Word, and do it.

                                                                                                                                 Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ


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