BY PASTOR T. O. BANSO
Lack of knowledge is dangerous, but knowledge itself could be more dangerous if not handled well. Isaiah 5:13 says my people are destroyed because of lack of knowledge – the Knowledge of God. The New Living Translation says, “My people will go into exile far away because they do not know me.” That’s what their lack of knowledge of God cost them.
You probably have heard so much about the dangers of ignorance, but I want to share with you the dangers of knowledge because knowledge has its own dangers. That is not to make you desire ignorance. Rather, it is to make you better appreciate knowledge. It is to make you recognize the demand it places on you so that you don’t become a victim of the dangers of knowledge. What are the dangers of knowledge?
1. Knowledge puffs up. 1 Corinthians 8:1 says, “…But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church” (NLT). Love edifies, but knowledge makes proud. What knowledge do you have – spiritual, professional, or academic? Any of these can make you proud; it can make you arrogant. Your knowledge can make you feel that others should treat you specially, worship you, etc.
You have to be very careful. Use your knowledge in love and with humility. Don’t let knowledge make you proud. Satan became proud and lost his place. The Bible says, about Satan, “Your heart was filled with pride because of all your beauty. Your wisdom was corrupted by your love of splendor. So I threw you to the ground and exposed you to the curious gaze of kings” (Ezekiel 28:17 NLT). Did you see that? His wisdom was corrupted.
Your wisdom can be corrupted, too. I am sure you don’t want to experience what Satan suffered because of pride. If you are proud because of your knowledge, you can lose your place. Remember pride goes before destruction (Proverbs 16:18).
2. Knowledge can make you feel you know it all. Have you met a Mr. Know-it-all before? He feels he knows everything. It is true he has some knowledge, but it is a delusion to think he knows it all. No one knows it all. A wise person does not think or say he knows it all. Mr. Know-it-all does not learn from others. He feels he has nothing to learn from anyone. This is folly.
1 Corinthians 8:2 says, “Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much” (NLT). Be careful; don’t let knowledge make you feel you have all the answers. This is an error. Each person will only have some answers in different areas so that we shall always need each other and one another. Only God has all the answers.
Be humble to receive the answers that others have that you don’t have. The church members can have the answers that their pastor may not have, and the associate pastor can have the answers that his senior pastor may not have, and vice versa. It will be pride, especially on the part of the Senior Pastor or G.O to think that he has all the answers. Even God in heaven will laugh at such a claim! It is not in all cases that people have to sit you down before they teach you something. There is nobody that a humble person cannot learn from in school, business, ministry, etc. Nobody has all the answers. Even the teacher can learn from the student. He does not have to be an expert before he can teach; it’s just what he knows, the insight he has.
Hear what Jesus said about the Know-it-alls: “Abruptly Jesus broke into prayer: ‘Thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. You’ve concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people. Yes, Father that’s the way you like to work’ ” (Matthew 11:25-26 TM).
3. Knowledge can make you not to walk in This can make you become insensitive to others’ condition. Sometimes, those who have knowledge on certain matters assume that everybody has the same knowledge, and when those people disappoint their expectations they react negatively. Knowledgeable people do not always love! They are not always considerate and patient with people’s ignorance. Rather, they look down on others and become critical or judgmental. They end up injuring people with their knowledge, rather than healing them. They become a curse rather than a blessing.
They fail to realize that what they do by knowledge can become a sin to others. “It’s true that we can’t win God’s approval by what we eat. We don’t miss out on anything if we don’t eat it, and we don’t gain anything if we do. But you must be careful with this freedom of yours. Do not cause a brother or sister with a weaker conscience to stumble. You see, this is what can happen: Weak Christians who think it is wrong to eat this food will see you eating in the temple of an idol. You know there’s nothing wrong with it, but they will be encouraged to violate their conscience by eating food that has been dedicated to the idol. So because of your superior knowledge, a weak Christian, for whom Christ died, will be destroyed. And you are sinning against Christ when you sin against other Christians by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong. If what I eat is going to make another Christian sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live — for I don’t want to make another Christian stumble” (1 Corinthians 8:8-13 NLT).
Don’t let knowledge make you impatient and inconsiderate. Don’t let it make you not to show understanding with people. Use your knowledge to heal the people, not to hurt them more. Therefore, be careful how you use your knowledge. Don’t use your knowledge in a way that makes the people sad or in a way that makes the people query God or get angry with Him. You are not the source of your strength; God gave it to you. Use your strength in humility. Handle people’s wounds with care, rather than inflicting more pain.
If you don’t use your strength in humility, God will humble you so that you will learn not to see your strength as your own making but God’s gift. He can give it to any other person. You, therefore, don’t have to be proud about it as you use it in humility, in the midst of God’s people.
4. Knowledge can increase your sorrow, pain, grief and anxiety. It is ironical that knowledge can make a person sad, sorrowful, etc. “For the greater my wisdom, the greater my grief. To increase knowledge only increases sorrow” (Ecclesiastes 1:18 NLT). It is not always true that the more you know, the happier you will become. “Much learning earns you much trouble. The more you know, the more you hurt” (Ecclesiastes1:18 TM). When you did not have knowledge of the fact that something was bad, it didn’t pain you seeing people do it. Nevertheless, after this knowledge, it became painful to you; you became uncomfortable. That is one aspect.
Another aspect is that you can’t pretend that you don’t know what you know. Based on the knowledge you have, you don’t feel comfortable, allowing certain things to be done, except for selfish benefits. You cannot feign ignorance of the knowledge you have. You may wish you don’t know, but it’s too late! Because you know, it places a responsibility on you. Those without this knowledge don’t experience the pain, worry, etc. you have to deal with. To whom much is given, much is expected.
The other aspect is that while it is true that when you don’t know what you are supposed to know, you will suffer for it. It is equally true that when you know what you are not supposed to know, you will suffer for it. A man will be better off, not knowing certain things.
The Amalekite, who claimed to have killed King Saul, died because of his knowledge of how Saul died; he confessed with his mouth that he killed Saul at his request (2 Samuel 1:1-16). Because of the Bible account of how Saul died, different from what he said (1 Samuel 31:1-5), we don’t know if he truly killed him. If he had not known what he said, he wouldn’t have died.
Don’t pursue knowledge for knowledge sake. There is a kind of knowledge that is dangerous, destructive, and unedifying, which a child of God should not seek. Revelation 2:24 talks about the false doctrine called the depths of Satan. Avoid knowledge that’s contrary to the Word of God.
Get rid of books that are not good for you to read as a child of God. Don’t say you’re going to keep them, but not read them again. If you’re not going to read them again, why are you still keeping them? Burn them. Yes, burn all of them. At Ephesus, many people gave their lives to Christ and confessed their sins. Acts 19:19 says many of them who had been practising magic brought their incantation books and burnt them at a public bonfire. The value of the books was fifty thousand pieces of silver. That wasn’t small money then.
Be careful of the knowledge you acquire because it can cause sorrow, pain, distress, grief and care. Be guided by the Word of God in your pursuit of knowledge; selectively expose yourself to information. Acquire only the right kind of knowledge, not one that will deny you of your peace, rob you of your health and destroy your future.
5. Knowledge can make you to lean on your own understanding rather than trust in the Lord with all your heart and acknowledge Him in all your ways. The Bible says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT).
People of knowledge are more prone to depend on their knowledge than depend on God. They assume on God, and act presumptuously. They could be self-confident, and many times, overconfident. They could, most times, make God their last resort. In other words, they would only turn to God when their knowledge has failed them or when they’ve come to their wits end. This is unlike those who easily admit their weaknesses and don’t find it difficult to turn to God for help.
Thank God for your knowledge! However, it is wise for you not to depend on it because it can fail you. It’s safer and better that you trust in the LORD who does not fail; He knows His will for your life and the path you should follow. Your knowledge can mislead you. Put your trust in the LORD and let Him lead you in the path that will lead to the realization of His purpose for your life.
6. Knowledge of sin or the wrong you’ve committed can lead to guilt and fear, and even death. This happens when the person concerned considers the consequences or the gravity of his action. Adam and Eve are good examples. Their knowledge, the realization of their error, made them run away from God; they went to hide in fear. “The woman was convinced. The fruit looked so fresh and delicious, and it would make her so wise! So she ate some of the fruit. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her. Then he ate it, too. At that moment, their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they strung fig leaves together around their hips to cover themselves. Toward evening they heard the LORD God walking about in the garden, so they hid themselves among the trees. The LORD God called to Adam, ‘Where are you?’ He replied, ‘I heard you, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked’” (Genesis 3:6-10 NLT).
If they had no knowledge that they had sinned, they would not have reacted the way they did. It is hard to act contrary to the truth that you know and still feel all right; you cannot feel comfortable. You will lose your peace, except your conscience is seared or dead (1 Timothy 4:2). Under normal circumstances, your conscience will condemn you; your mind will not be at rest. You know that your sin will find you out (Numbers 32:23).
Judas Iscariot committed suicide after he betrayed his Master; there was no way life could have been the same with him again. He felt the only option left for him was suicide, which was a wrong action. “When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders. ‘I have sinned,’ he declared, ‘for I have betrayed an innocent man.’ ‘What do we care?’ they retorted. ‘That’s your problem.’ Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself’” (Matthew 27:3-5 NLT). Acts 1:18 gives a graphic picture of his death thus: “Judas bought a field with the money he received for his treachery, and falling there, he burst open, spilling out his intestines” (NLT).
You have heard it said that you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:32). But it is not to make you free to do what you like; rather, it is to make you free to do what is right! Make sure, as a child of God, your actions are consistent with the knowledge of the truth you have. A violation of the knowledge will rob you of your joy and peace. There is no peace for the wicked (Isaiah 48:22; 57:21).
7. Knowledge of the possible exposure of your wrong doing can lead to taking other steps to cover up or escape. In 2 Samuel 11, David killed Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband and one of his thirty-seven mighty men (2 Samuel 23:39), as a cover-up for his sin of adultery with Bathsheba and impregnating her. Until Bathsheba sent a word to him that she was pregnant, David had no problem. He quickly moved to cover up by recalling Uriah from the battlefront. He tried everything to make him go home, hoping he would sleep with his wife. If he did, he would have no reason to suspect that the pregnancy was not his.
However, this scheme failed, because, two times, Uriah refused to go home, even after David got him drunk. David eventually resorted to murder. Uriah was set up to be killed by enemy soldiers in the battlefront after David had sent him back with the letter of his death sentence! Uriah didn’t know the content of the letter.
David, his Commander-in-chief and Joab, his commander, betrayed him. Uriah the Hittite died for the sin of David and Bathsheba!
Initially, Moses thought nobody knew he had killed an Egyptian and buried him in the sand. However, the moment his crime was known, and Pharaoh wanted to kill him, he fled. “The man replied, ‘Who appointed you to be our prince and judge? Are you going to kill me as you killed that Egyptian yesterday?’ Then Moses was afraid, thinking, ‘Everyone knows what I did.’ And sure enough, Pharaoh heard what had happened, and he tried to kill Moses. But Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in the land of Midian. When Moses arrived in Midian, he sat down beside a well” (Exodus 2:14-15 NLT). Don’t try to cover up your sin; own up, repent and forsake your sin. Proverbs 28:13 says whoever covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.
8. A prior knowledge of what is going to happen to you or somebody else can cause fear or other emotional reactions. Ignorance, sometimes, has its blessing! That is why God does not reveal everything to us. He keeps some things away from us for our own good. “The Lord our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions” (Deuteronomy 29:29 NLT).
Don’t seek to know what God has decided not to tell you or show you. If God thinks you should know, He will tell you when you ask. If He decides not to tell you, trust that everything is under His control, everything will work together for your good and your future is secure in Him. With God, you’re in safe hands.
The knowledge of what God wants to keep away from you will only create anxiety for you if you procure it outside of God. It will also expose you to needless dangers. Don’t patronize false prophets, soothsayers, diviners, fortune-tellers or star-gazers. God told the Israelites, “The people you are about to displace consult with sorcerers and fortune-tellers, but the LORD your God forbids you to do such things” (Deuteronomy 18:14 NLT). In Jeremiah 27:14, he warned them not to listen to the lies of the false prophets. He is saying the same to you.
Conclusion: It is not enough to overcome ignorance, it’s also necessary to understand the dangers knowledge poses. You should pursue only the right knowledge and handle it wisely according to the Word of God.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The LORD be with you.
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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