Cruising Route 66
Knowing What’s Up
This is what He showed me: The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb line in His hand. And the LORD asked me, “What do you see, Amos?”
“A plumb line,” I replied.
Then the Lord said, “Look, I am setting a plumb line among My people Israel; I will spare them no longer.”
The key to wisdom is knowledge, but knowledge without the wisdom and the will to apply it is pathetic self-indulgence. It’s hitting the snooze button so many times the alarm stops going off. It’s choosing to be ignorant. The books of Amos and Obadiah are proclamations of the knowledge of coming judgment, something the people chose to ignore.
Amos speaks of God’s judgment upon the people of Israel because they have broken their covenant with God. Obadiah speaks of God’s judgment upon Edom, Israel’s neighbor, because of their pride and their ambivalence toward Israel.
In both cases, these are people who have a robust and rich history with God, but over time they became disastrously unaware of what God expected of them. They had become comfortable and disconnected from the knowledge of their Creator and, over time, rejected Him altogether. Does this sound familiar?
Even though they were people who had been “built true to plumb,” God was about to drop a plumb line once again so that they might see that they were no longer true to His standard. It was time for a wake-up call.
God’s plumb line for the New Testament church is His Word. In order to stand true, we must measure up to the standard which He has set for us. In order to do that we must know what that standard is, and be willing to make ourselves available to it while it is still available.
The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign LORD, “when I will send a famine through the land– not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD. Men will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the LORD, but they will not find it. Amos 8:11-12
There are many reasons why we must wake up and take stock of what God is showing us. We must realign our lives to the plumb line He is laying before us. Let me give you just a few essential reasons why waking up and knowing what’s up is important and why we must be grounded and spiritually informed.
#1: Knowledge gives substance to our faith. If we don’t know the truth of the gospel, we don’t have anything to rely upon. Without Christ then what do you put your faith in, and how solid is its foundation?
Without the knowledge of the truth, you must rely upon emotion, feelings, or on someone else’s opinion. It’s dangerous just going along with the crowd. Without being grounded in God’s Word, we shift with every good book we read or fall back upon every old tradition we know.
Without knowledge and understanding, we will live in a world of wishful thinking and empty dreams. The result is a faith that lacks substance. This brings us to the next reason we need to be grounded in the truth.
#2: Knowledge stabilizes us during times of trouble. When we know what God expects from us and what we can expect from Him, we have a base to stand on when the bottom drops out. When we face trouble without any hope in sight, panic will always be the result.
I’m not talking about an acknowledgment that God exists but rather taking the time to invest in getting to know Him. Knowing about Him but not knowing Him causes us to be unstable when caught off guard by the strong crosswinds of adversity. A clear understanding of the truth equips us with an essential, calming fortitude when we are tested.
Going to God’s Word and finding what we need leads us to the next essential reason to be grounded in the truth.
#3: Knowledge enables us to absorb God’s Word accurately. When we know the standards, principles, and themes of Scripture, we are better able to grasp the divine wisdom and insight God wants to instill into our lives. God didn’t provide us with an instruction manual to cause confusion, fear, or division but rather to build peace, order, and unity.
Without the knowledge of the truth, we fail to intelligently and wisely handle the Bible and glean from its pages the guidance we need in life. Knowledge of the doctrines gives us confidence. It keeps us from tangents and transgressing the integrity of truth, which leads us to the next reason to be grounded.
#4: Knowledge equips us to detect and confront errors. When you know where you stand spiritually, no one can easily knock you off course. With knowledge of the truth, you have your heading, and you know where you are going. When you hear a word that is inaccurate or erroneous, you know it without needing someone else to point it out to you. Truth is truth, and anything other than that becomes obvious.
The easiest pray is that one who is ignorant of the danger and does not know the way to escape. Knowledge equips you so you are not easily fooled or swayed by a loud voice or strong personality. You have taken the time and trouble to know what’s up! With the knowledge of the truth, you cannot be intimidated by the bully of our souls or sucked into any of his lies.
#5: Knowledge makes us confident in our daily walk. Find a person who stumbles along in their Christian faith, and you will find a person who isn’t exposing themselves to a constant intake of God’s Word.
The first thing that gets set aside when we look heavenward and question God’s involvement in our lives is His Word. That’s when we rely only upon what we surmise rather than what we know. The learning process gets stifled and interrupted. The flow of knowledge gets put on hold. We simply go back to sleep because it’s more comfortable. Biblical knowledge and personal confidence are like Siamese twins, inseparably linked together, attached at the heart.
#5: Knowledge filters out our fears and superstitions. A good foundation of spiritual truth separates fact from fiction. I think we would be amazed if we knew just how many people operate their lives from a platform of superstition and fear.
God’s truth has a way of silencing those misleading voices that shout fear into our hearts and attempt to siphon our spiritual energy and immobilize us. The teaching and the understanding of biblical doctrine is as rare as it is valuable.
Take note, doctrinal knowledge is not an end in itself but a means to an end. Without the knowledge of the truth, you have no foundation on which to stand, and when the winds of adversity an confusion blow, you will be swept away with it.
Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
II Timothy 4:2-4
Until next time,