Whatever our peers may think of us, in God’s view we are as small children, needing to be taught. Even after we have been learning for years, we are still small children in God’s view.
It is easy to reply to the questions of a very small child. But take that same mind 20 years later, after 20 years of study and development, and that mind may challenge you!—unless he became satisfied and stopped his own progress.
It is said that the less one knows, the more he is likely to think he knows. And total ignorance is—you guessed it. Total ignorance is total satisfaction.
If viewing the vast reaches of observable science humbles the healthy mind, how much more should contact with the thoughts of the eternal God and our Creator put us in our proper place. What did Paul say about God’s wisdom?
Ephesians 3:8 8Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace [knowledge] given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
Ephesians 3:10 10To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
Think of the “manifold wisdom of God.” Isaiah made the ultimate comparison.
Isaiah 55:8–9 8“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. 9“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Isn’t this true when we look into the depths of the Word of God? Here are words of life, words that whet our appetite for more and more. Shouldn’t they move us to aspire to the heights of God’s knowledge, the knowledge which, applied, will give LIFE? What did Jesus say about His own words?
John 6:63 63It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.
Jesus said His words were “spirit” and “life.”
We hear and use terms all the time that our child-like minds are too limited to comprehend or understand. Words like life, light, sound, radiation, gravity, magnetism. Such words put us in constant touch with infinity— infinite time, infinite knowledge, infinite power.
We think we know, but WHAT do we know? Our finite minds are stopped. We cannot comprehend infinity.
Because of this limitation, this barrier beyond which the greatest human cannot pass, God has to talk down to our level of comprehension. This makes His wisdom sometimes look like foolishness to us.
It is much like we answer a small child in a way that a child’s mind can understand. Call it baby talk? In the view of an angel, it is probably even less than this! The distance between angel comprehension and ours? Can you imagine it??!
No wonder Paul made this comparison:
1 Corinthians 13:11–12 11When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
Do we hear what Paul is saying? We are the small child now. Compare our child-level of comprehension to that of a man? Compare the view in the mirror to a face-to-face view? What a change!
Paul said it in that beautiful description of the reward that he wrote to the Corinthians—and all of us—that he quoted from the prophet Isaiah. We understand God’s terms, yet it is far more than we can comprehend:
1 Corinthians 2:9 9But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
What could God do but describe His promises in figures of speech—and hyperlink them to meanings that we, common men and women of any age, can interpret to our limited level of comprehension!
We can be sure Paul had a gigantic mind. God knew he needed it for the work He planned for him. Doubtless his parents saw it early and gave him the best opportunity in education available to a young Jew.
In his younger days Paul probably thought highly of himself, even as you and I. In Philippians he speaks of what used to be his pride, being a circumcised Jew. What was formerly his glory is now his shame. He says “Beware.”
Philippians 3:2–32Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! 3For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh,
He follows with a short bio:
Philippians 3:4–6 4though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
Blameless under that law, it all changed when the great experience on the Damascus road jarred him out of his self-satisfaction. Now his life became one of increasing knowledge, increasing humility, and increasing dissatisfaction with himself. This divine dissatisfaction made it impossible for him ever again to be content with himself or his surroundings—or his mental and physical attainments as a mortal, earthbound individual. Now he was aspiring higher. He wanted a body like Christ would be giving when He returns:
Philippians 3:21 21who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body
Paul wanted that incorruptible, immortal body that can be a resident in the new world, because, as Paul said again,
1 Corinthians 15:50 50Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.
It is all contingent on being eligible for a resurrection, which he was intent on attaining to:
Philippians 3:11 11if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Paul’s heart was on attaining the highest knowledge: of things eternal.
True, he learned to be content with what he had,
Philippians 4:11 11Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content:
But that was only as a temporary expedient. His heart was beyond, on the truly great things which God had promised. He could endure the present and be happy in it for the sake of the future. Like a student is willing to “go without” while working his way through school. But in the long-range view, he wanted the greater mind, the higher association, the knowledge God had promised.
His long-range view pictured the enlargement of his eager questing mind. Although his writings seem profound to us, he well knew that by comparison he was still the small child, working hard to get to the next level. He saw far more than he could comprehend. No wonder he exclaimed:
Romans 11:33 33Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!
There are highlights in Scripture of knowledge that one day will flash out in brilliant clarity when it is suddenly revealed in its fulness and we are given minds that can comprehend it. We do not even know what to imagine!
To one of our family, that “grown-up” knowledge will be less of a surprise than to the rest of us. John on Patmos saw the curtain lifted for a little time and was given in vision a glimpse, if brief, of things to come. Can we even imagine what that experience was like? Some of it he recorded for us, like a preview of the Holy City where there will be no more pain or sorrow or death. But there was something else—remember the seven thunders? What was John told at that moment?
Revelation 10:4 4Now when the seven thunders uttered their voices, I was about to write; but I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Seal up the things which the seven thunders uttered, and do not write them.”
The great angel said, You can see, but you must not write. Isn’t it strange that the thing we must not have is what we want most? But there may be good reason for this knowledge withheld.
1 – It might be knowledge we don’t need at this time. Or
2 – It might be knowledge too profound for us to grasp with our small, imperfect minds. Or
3 – It might be knowledge that should not be given out indiscriminately.
Whatever the reason, it is sealed until the day when the secret things will be revealed.
Meanwhile, let God keep His secrets from the children, and let us USE the knowledge He has given to the maximum of our mental strength! It is knowledge that will give us courage, hope, faith, and determination to go on to the finish. Then we can graduate to the higher level and look forward to receiving the FULL KNOWLEDGE of God when
Isaiah 33:6 6Wisdom and knowledge will be the stability of your times, And the strength of salvation; The fear of the Lord is His treasure.
Habakkuk 2:14 14… the earth will be filled With the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, As the waters cover the sea.