Today is Father’s Day and my Dad has always encouraged me to be a seeker of knowledge… first in medieval history, then genealogy, and now Biblical languages and history. Knowledge opens up the whole world for exploration.
This week my oldest daughter, Grace, graduates from High School. In her pursuit of knowledge she will be attending to Crandall University in the Fall. I hope I can be as much of an encourager to her as my father has been to me.
The word knowledge, da’at, (דעת), from the verb yada (ידע), to know, has a heavy footprint in the Bible. It began in the Genesis story with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:9) and continued on as something God wants us to seek with His guidance.
An intelligent heart acquires knowledge [da’at], and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge [da’at].
If God is all knowing, it’s in our best interest to get to know God as much as we can. Of course, YHWH knows us, inside and out, but how much do we truly know Him?
YHWH, You have searched me and known me [wa-teda]. You know [ya’da’ta] when I sit down and when I get up; You understand my thought from far away.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, YHWH, You know it all [ya’da’ta kullah].
You have encircled me behind and in front, and placed Your hand upon me. Such knowledge [da’at] is too wonderful for me; it is too high, I cannot comprehend it.
God knows all, but we don’t. Although we are called to seek the knowledge of God, we cannot know everything. There are mysteries that will always remain a mystery, and that’s okay. But that does not mean we should stop seeking knowledge. What God wants us to know will be revealed to those who seek.
God saw knowledge as highly valuable and a lack of knowledge was a huge detriment to His people:
[YHWH:] My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge [ha-da’at].
Since you have rejected knowledge [ha-da’at], I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the Law of your God, I also will forget your children.
If we don’t seek God’s knowledge, we won’t find it.
Hosea lived in the kingdom of Israel during the years of the Assyrian threat (during the 730’s and 720’s BCE). He prophesied that their rejection of God’s knowledge would cause YHWH to turn away from them and the enemies of His people to flourish. But YHWH did not abandon them forever. Like a good Father, He let them make their own terrible choices, He let them feel the consequences of their choices, and then He relieved them of the suffering they had put upon themselves:
“Come, let’s return to YHWH. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, that we may live before Him.
So let’s learn, let’s press on to know [la-da’at] YHWH!”
YHWH rescued His people over and over in the Bible, but the greatest rescue came when He raised His own Son on the third day so that humans could live in the Presence of YHWH when our day on earth was done. Yeshua said:
“I am the good shepherd, and I know [Greek: ginosko] My own, and My own know [ginoskousi] Me, just as the Father knows [ginoskei] Me and I know [ginosko] the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice; and they will become one flock, with one shepherd. For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it back. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it back. This commandment I received from My Father.”
Following YHWH’s plan, Yeshua died so we could live. He laid His life down and He took it back… and He did it because He knows us and He loves us.
The Bible is all about relationship. YHWH knows us already, now He wants us to know Him… It’s all He wants from us:
[YHWH:] For I desire loyalty rather than sacrifice, and the knowledge of God [w-da’at Elohim] rather than burnt offerings.
He wants our loyalty and love and He wants us to have a relationship with Him. Let us devote time to get to know YHWH as much as we can. It’s a life changer and a life giver. Knowledge is power and pure power belongs to God. Seek it out and He will share it with you.
For more on the Hebrew concept of knowledge, click below:
Next week: GRIEF