We had been putting off cleaning and straitening up the garage for a number of months. It needed to be done in the worst way. My wife had said to me the day before that we needed to tackle that project. I dreaded it but knew it had to be done. Things were sitting around that had not been used for who knows how long; most everything was disorganized; it just needed an old fashioned cleaning. I have a difficult time finding those things which are right in front of me sometime, but when it is out of place it gets even harder for me to find. It took a few hours to make some headway on the project.
After completing that project I needed to tackle the damage the wind had done in our yard just a few days earlier. A pile of limbs had been blown all over the yard which needed to be put in a place for the town to collect and some damage to another one of our ever so fragile Bradford Pear trees needed to be cleaned up. I used my wife’s pruning shears as much as I could. They don’t work on limbs greater than two inches in thickness so I did what I could and drug all those limbs to the front of the lot for collection.
We had made a lot of progress. My wife wanted to putter in the yard and I needed to get a shower, I really needed one, and print the worship folder for Sunday. Things were going swimmingly it seemed. It came time a couple hours later to go to the church and doing the printing. I put my pocketbook in my pocket and reached for my keys.
Now where were those little rascals? What did I do with them? I have been assigned a drawer in the kitchen for things that need a place to stay till I collect them the next morning. That’s where they should have been but the keys were not there. Perhaps I had left them in my pants pocket. No, they were not there. I looked everywhere but they were not to be found. After Rachel had finished her shower I solicited her assistance in locating my keys. The set of keys included keys to the house as well as another key for the office. I have a tendency to get frantic by this time and I did. After searching for more than an hour my wife suggested I use her keys and go ahead to the church and print off the bulletins; which I did.
I tell you this story so you might realize the importance of not losing the greatest key of all. Don’t even misplace it. Life is much better managed with this key in your possession. What am I talking about? Turn your attention to Jesus words:
- "Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who were entering." Luke 11:52 (NASB)
Yes I am talking about the key of knowledge:
Appropriate to consider in the season of graduation. Actually it is not a graduation from learning but a graduation to learn. I solicit that twelve years of education do not provide one with an education but the tools one can use to get an education. But knowledge is the key. Parents want to give their kids an education but have we not learned that an education is not given it must be earned? Education provides us enough knowledge to find enough truth to live by. Yes, even enough truth to be saved.
- the ability to think and to rethink;
- to search for the answer and to know where to look;
- the desire to know.
According to Hosea’s words which he said was the word of the Lord; there were three things lacking in the land in that day. I actually don’t think we have made a lot of progress in changing that problem, even in this day of higher learning. There still remains a lack of faithfulness, kindness, and knowledge of God in the land. A society suffers when there is an absence of those three things: faithfulness, kindness and knowledge.
- Listen to the word of the LORD, O sons of Israel, For the LORD has a case against the inhabitants of the land, Because there is no faithfulness or kindness Or knowledge of God in the land. Hosea 4:1 (NASB)
I have noticed in some of the programs on TV about days of some time ago that people would go to their desk; pull out a piece of paper; take the old quill type pen and dip it in the ink well; write the message they needed to write; and neatly fold the paper for delivery by the messenger. It seemed to be a ritual of sorts. They revered in some small way their ability of write, read and communicate. We sometimes forget just how important that is and how blessed we are to have that ability. We do take that for granted I think. David had taught Solomon and Solomon had learned from his instruction. My father taught me.
- My father taught me, “Take my words to heart. Follow my commands, and you will live. 5 Get wisdom; develop good judgment. Don’t forget my words or turn away from them. 6 Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you. Love her, and she will guard you. 7 Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment. 8 If you prize wisdom, she will make you great. Embrace her, and she will honor you. 9 She will place a lovely wreath on your head; she will present you with a beautiful crown.” 10 My child, listen to me and do as I say, and you will have a long, good life. 11 I will teach you wisdom’s ways and lead you in straight paths. 12 When you walk, you won’t be held back; when you run, you won’t stumble. 13 Take hold of my instructions; don’t let them go. Guard them, for they are the key to life. Proverbs 4:4-13 (NLT)
Oh how I remember and how I appreciate the teachers I had as I came up in school and in church too. But there again, they did not give me an education, I earned it. I thought about what they had said; made a point to remember it; and added it to my life-long-education.
|Why do I preach so much about what we need to know? What we know provides the basis for what we do. There is another dimension to this line of thought. It involves the end of time and the man of sin.
- This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. 10 He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10 (NLT)
In a day and time when higher learning is talked about so much and its benefits are hailed as necessary; it is strange that people are not really interested in coming to a knowledge of truth. Paul warned Timothy about this: Always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 2 Tim 3:1-7 (NASB) We have lived and continue to live in a time when knowledge is doubling at a remarkable rate. Daniel the prophet seemed to hit the nail on the head when he linked this to travel.
According to the seniors in my day; knowledge had made leaps and bounds in their time. Much of the hard work they had to do when "they were kids"; had been made much easier by modern inventions. But now I have also learned that the same is true for my day. When I first started in ministry I had to use a mimeograph machine. You had to use a typewriter to cut letters into a sheet which then could be stretched around a drum filled with ink which would bleed through and make an impression on a clean sheet of paper. That’s how a bulletin was prepared. Graphics could be made, but it was a difficult and time consuming process. When the sheet was ready for use on the mimeograph machine, it had to be installed ever so carefully and properly if you were to get a good copy. I have had to literally start all over because of a glitch of some sort. Now with a computer it all is so much easier and so much better, once you learn how.
- "But you, Daniel, keep this prophecy a secret; seal up the book until the time of the end, when many will rush here and there, and knowledge will increase.” Dan 12:4 (NLT)
Knowledge has made so much possible. Communication with our friends is at our fingertips. We don’t have to wait until we get back to our homes or to the office to communicate. But with all the advances we have made; are we coming to a knowledge of truth? I’m talking about the truth that Jesus spoke of when he said:
- "If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine;32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." John 8:31-32 (NASB)
Getting into the word; continuing therein where truth can be found and can be believed and lived. I would expect Solomon to say something like this: Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs 4:7 (KJV) He could have had a long life, riches, or the life of his enemies; but he chose wisdom instead.
Do we need to be reminded what happens when we forget God? When we leave him out of our education? All too often our kids move away to get an education and forget the things which at one time were so important. Places of learning were at one time places of worship. Later generations choose to forget the reason for their existence in the beginning.
- My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee. Hosea 4:6 (KJV)
Don’t turn your back on the greatest education any human being could have. I’m not talking about an education which assures a person of an additional $50,000 a year in income. I’m talking about an education that has a promise of life everlasting. It is the key of knowledge: the ability to know God; understand his truth; to be a child of God; to have a home in the kingdom of God and inherit the earth when Jesus comes.
- 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; Romans 1:28 (KJV)
- "Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! 5 "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 "These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.7 "You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.8 "You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. 9 "You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. 10 "Then it shall come about when the Lord your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you, great and splendid cities which you did not build, 11 and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you eat and are satisfied, 12 then watch yourself, that you do not forget the Lord. Deut 6:4-12 (NASB)
Oh, by the way; my lost keys. My wife found them while I was gone to print the bulletins at the church. On the key chain was a very small flash drive which I was afraid I would lose so I attached it to my key ring. I had used it in my computer to prepare the bulletin. Naturally the keys were attached. The keys were attached to the flash drive which had been inserted in the USB port in the computer. Now you know the rest of the story. Don’t loose your keys. Don’t reject the key of knowledge. Seek it; find it; embrace it; and invest in it.
- Buy truth—don't sell it for love or money; buy wisdom, buy education, buy insight. Proverbs 23:23 (MSG)