Knowledge is Power

We have seen that thought expressed in all sorts of outlets; from posters in a public library to being played out in a show or a movie (Spoiler alert, in Indiana Jones 4, the treasure of the aliens wasn’t gold…it was…knowledge.) To me it always just seemed like one of those age-old adages, but there is a long history of this idea. Thomas Jefferson used this phrase many times in writing letters trying to establish a state university. Thomas Hobbes in the 1650’s utilized it in his writings about establishing states and what that would mean. Sir Francis Bacon, the man to whom the phrase is attributed, originally used it in the context of his religious writings. We could even see a close form of it in Proverbs 24:4, where we read “A wise man has great power, and a man of knowledge increases his strength.”

I am not a highly educated or time-tested philosopher, and full transparency, I had to look up almost every example above. (Not Indiana Jones…that one was unfortunately burned into my brain.) But if we actually apply that phrase to the not-so philosophical or not-so time-tested, I contend that it becomes even more apparent. If, for example, you know the single greatest fear of a friend or family member, you have a power. A power to protect them or encourage them in a setting where that fear is present, or even a power to fill their room with fake spiders or snakes if you wanted to go the other direction. If you have the knowledge of their past, you have a power. A power of understanding why they may do or believe certain things, and even yes, a power to hold it against them if you wanted to go the other way. If you know CPR, you have a power to help in dire situations, if you know investments, you have a power of understanding finances and risks, if you know cooking or baking, you have a power of feeding the hungry and spreading some joy around, if you know advanced mathematics, you have a power that 95% of us don’t! (Lucky you to be in the other 6%.)

If knowledge of those things truly is power, then just imagine what power and blessing it is to know God. To know the creator of the universe, to know His goodness, to know His mercy, and to know His sacrifice. To know his Spirit, to know His promises, to know His character. To know those things, but also then have a power to share them with a hurting world. Knowledge is power, yes, but may we never forget that knowledge itself begins in the fear of the Lord. (Proverbs 1:7)
Caleb Smith, Pulpit Minister

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