Todays readings.. 1 kings 22, Jeremiah 49, 1 Corinthians 8&9
Our reading of ch. 8 in 1st Corinthians begins with an interesting use of the word ‘knowledge.’ Paul says, “knowledge puffs up” [8 v.1]. We can be proud of what we know – and this undermines our wise use of that knowledge – depending on what that knowledge is about. Paul then says, “If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.” [v.2,3]
What is Paul’s point? What should we know as we ought to know but we do not yet know? A further question is, ‘What is it to be “known by God?” Surely, it is to have a relationship with him! Job spent all his life trying to understand God’s ways and have a relationship with him; when ultimately “the LORD answered Job” it was with a question, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge” [ch. 38,v1,2] Job knew God in human theory and he spoke of him “what is right” [42 v.7] but he in the end confesses, “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye sees you.” [v.5]
What kind of “eye” was this? Paul makes the point in writing to the Ephesians, “having the eyes of your hearts enlightened” [2 v.18] Have our hearts developed “eyes.”? In the previous verse Paul had made the point that in “remembering you in my prayers” he had asked that “God … the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him…”
There was only one who had a full knowledge of the Father! There is a significant verse in that wonderful prophecy about Christ in Isaiah ch. 53 and we may fail to grasp its’ full significance: God says, through Isaiah, “… by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.” [v.11] Our Lord knew God in the fullest sense.
Returning to Corinthians we see that Paul is challenging the thinking of the believers there – who had formerly been idol worshippers. The idols had been real to them! Was God now real to them instead? Was their faith so real that they were starting to “know” and have a relationship with him. Were the “idols” and the “worship” they had practiced still distracting them: evidently it was, with some. The world around us is full of the worship of idols – human idols! Are they threatening to distract us in various ways?
Is God’s word coming ‘alive’ as we read it – driving out the distractions of today’s idols? Let’s focus our minds on the point Paul made to the Hebrews, “… the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” [4 v.12] Is that happening to us as we read and understand? Are we “known by God?” .