Summary: Isaiah tells us that "by His knowledge... he will justify many." What kind of knowledge is this and what can it mean to us. Powerful application.
OPEN: It was a retirement dinner and the speaker stood up and began to make remarks about the man they were honoring that night. He opened with these words:
"Tonight we honor a man who doesn’t know the meaning of the word dissemble,
who doesn’t know the meaning of the word fear,
who doesn’t know the meaning of the word quit.
And so, we’ve all chipped in together… and we bought him this dictionary.
(Expect groans and then apologetically say: “he didn’t KNOW the meaning of the words…”)
APPLY: As I was preparing for the sermon this week, one phrase caught my eye in the text. Look again with me at Isaiah 53:11
“After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his KNOWLEDGE my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.”
(pause) By His Knowledge…he will justify many
I got to thinking about “knowledge” this week and it occurred to me that in the US, knowledge is highly valued.
I mean, as a United States citizen, if you look hard enough, you can find magazines and books on practically every topic imaginable. And to hold all that knowledge, our nation has public libraries and college libraries and even the Library of Congress.
If you can’t get the information you want quickly enough that way, there’s always the internet where you can find reams of information
In addition… to help people know how to utilize all this knowledge, our nation has built public schools and Universities and colleges in every state of the Union. Yes… Knowledge is highly prized in our nation.
I. Apparently, God also considers knowledge as highly valuable.
In proverbs we find:
“The lips of the wise spread knowledge…” Proverbs 15:7
“The discerning heart seeks knowledge…” Proverbs 15:14
“Wise men store up knowledge...” Proverbs 10:14
And in Proverbs 8:10 we’re advised to “Choose… knowledge rather than choice gold.”
Knowledge is highly prized in Scripture…
BUT… (pause…) not all knowledge is good. Paul tells Timothy:
“Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge” 1 Timothy 6:20
And Titus is told some of the kinds of knowledge to be avoided: “… avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.” Titus 3:9
Not all knowledge is “good” knowledge. In fact, the very first time the word “knowledge” shows up in Scripture… Well, let’s do a quiz here. Does anybody know where the first mention of “knowledge” is made in Scripture? It’s in Genesis (give them time to come up with the answer).
That’s right. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The first mention of knowledge in the Bible refers to a knowledge that God didn’t want His people to have.
God told Adam and Eve "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." Genesis 2:16-17
Not all knowledge is good knowledge. And when Even ate of that tree, (and gave of its fruit to Adam) - and he ate…the result of the THAT KIND of knowledge led to:
· Sin which in turn led to
· separation from God
· it led to conflict
· It led to fault finding
That kind of knowledge (not just of what was good - but also of what was evil) led to pain and despair and hopelessness in a world that had been pure and undefiled and blessed by God
II. You might say: well then…
"Why on earth did God ever put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden to begin with???
Because God has gave Adam and Eve a choice. God has always given people a choice in life
· A choice as to whether or not to obey Him
· A choice as to whether or not they would live for Him
· A choice to follow that which is right or that which is wrong
· A choice as to whether or not to accept His kind of knowledge in their lives
Choice is one of the greatest gifts that God has ever given mankind
ILLUS: Victor Frankl lived for years in a concentration camp and he made this observation:
We who have lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - TO CHOOSE one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances - TO CHOOSE one’s own way.