- Mark Clarke
Ignorance Is Not Bliss
For years I have heard the term "ignorance is bliss". I even bought into the idea for some time as it supposedly means we can have the benefit of being "not responsible" for what we do not know. Hence the idea of bliss or "freedom of not knowing". Yet, there are important things that God wants you to know that having a closed mind can hinder. In this light, the idea of enjoying a convenient "blind side" could be highly detrimental. Just like knowledge, ignorance can be fostered and even nurtured in a number of different ways.
One of the ways is silence or "turning a deaf ear" to God's knowledge and principles. By "turning a deaf ear" we can block out the voice of understanding or as God (through Solomon), calls it "wisdom". He urges us in Proverbs 4:1 with the words "listen" and "pay attention". In verse 10, once more, He begins with the word "listen". In verse 20, again He demands "pay attention". Over and over throughout the book of Proverbs we are encouraged to be fully attentive to the voice of wisdom which is ultimately the voice of God, the author of wisdom.
A second way ignorance is maintained or even nurtured is through noise. In Proverbs 8:1 He says, "Does not wisdom call out? Does not understanding raise her voice?" In verse 4 He says, "I (wisdom) raise my voice to all mankind". This suggests that there is competing noise that can potentially "block out" the voice of knowledge or "wisdom".
Think about that for a moment. What are some of the noises of life that block out the voice of wisdom? It can be overall busyness or even the voices of people around you. If you believe the verses above we collectively agree on two things:
We must keep an open mind to whatever wisdom God wants to share with us.
We must guard against anything that may block the voice of God's wisdom.
Closed-mindedness can keep you blinded to things that may benefit you. It can also keep you from truths that you need to realize. Many of those truths can be positive. Here's what I mean: Each of us inherently has incredible potential as God has created us in His image. In other words we have the ability not just to reason, but to make choices and produce greatly as well as help others in the process.
In Genesis chapter 37 we read about a boy named Joseph whom God had incredible plans to use for amazing God-glorifying feats. God began sending Joseph unfathomable thoughts while he would sleep in the form of dreams. When Joseph would awaken the dreams were so imprinted in his mind that he could vividly describe them to his siblings and parents. They were lofty dreams of positional authority and power coming through himself.
At first the dreams appeared to his family as annoying, big ideas about himself. Yet, eventually the dreams became so powerful that when shared the family was offended as they depicted them as being subservient to Joseph. Joseph's family could only see him the way he presently was. They could not picture Joseph in any lofty position because in order for that to happen the world as they knew it would have to be an entirely different one.
What they did not realize is that an "entirely different world" was exactly what God had in mind. It was a world where there would be an abundance of food for seven consecutive years and then dire famine for seven more. It was a world in which the gift of interpreting dreams would be the most valuable gift in the world.
God had pre-ordained a fiery, purposeful process to prepare Joseph to be the container of that gift in order to save many lives, including his own family. Since Joseph's brothers were already the mean and jealous type, they would be perfect players in God's plan to begin that process. God needed some people who were menacing enough to catapult Joseph out of his cozy life, quilted with his father's favor, special gifts and acolades. God's plan included a hardening and refining process that would invoke a desperation for God beyond anything Joseph could have imagined.
God has a plan for each of us. Just like every person God used in the Scriptures to carry out His plans, He also has plans to use each of us. Joseph, without realizing it was "listening" to God through his dreams. His dreams were God's "voice of wisdom" revealing God's plans.
Today the "voice of wisdom" is the Word of God and the Spirit of God which lives on the inside of those who have trusted Jesus for salvation. He speaks to us in a few different ways:
Through His Word as we read and study it.
Through one of His chosen pastors or ministers through preaching.
Through His Spirit Who lives in those who have trusted Jesus for salvation.
What types of things does God share with us? Well we know God's overall plan for salvation because He allowed someone to share it with us at some point. Above that, God has specific plans for each of us that we should follow. In order to do that it is incumbent that we maintain a posture of "listening" to God to understand and obtain wisdom and specific direction. Think about each Bible character you can recall in Scripture and how God spoke to them. Samuel is a good example (1 Samuel 3:1-19). Although you rarely hear about God speaking audibly today He still speaks to us internally as that is where He resides.
Above the busyness, noise and people around us is the voice of God calling: "Listen and pay attention."
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