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Do You Understand?

by Pablo Giacopelli |

A few years ago on my way to South Africa, I read in a magazine on the plane about whales. The article was a very long one so I gathered much knowledge about them.

Next to me was a man that had visited and interacted with whales on more than one occasion. He didn’t seem to know as much as the magazine yet there was a wonder in his eyes and an expression on his face as he told me about them, that captured me in a way that the magazine with all its knowledge and information never did.

Once I arrived in South Africa I naturally went to the same place he spoke about where the whales come to mate and often come very close to the shore. I will never forget the first time I saw one of the huge sperm whales playing, jumping, splashing, and caring for its young. This experience led me to see the whales in a completely new light as I had been clearly touched within my heart in a way that reading that magazine could have never done for me. I began to see what that man had shared with me and understood why he seemed so excited when he told me. The interesting thing is that today I still remember everything I learned from spending time with him and the whales whereas I have forgotten everything I read in that magazine on my way to South Africa.

The Pharisees like the magazine had knowledge and lots of it. They professed to know and yet they still plotted the event that led to Yeshua being killed. The disciples on the other hand had an understanding which led them to continue following Yeshua even after He was crucified. They celebrated the very life that those self-proclaimed experts on God wanted to kill and destroy at all costs.

When we only seek knowledge and information what we are really doing is seeking to empower and strengthen our mind to try and impress others and feel superior. When we seek understanding our aim tends to be more about empowering and strengthening the life within our hearts as we seek primarily to relate. Those of us that have only knowledge and information about God rarely involve ourselves with our true selves, others, or even God. Yet those of us that are able to understand is because we have taken the time to be involved. Personal gain and being right for us is nowhere near as important as the personal touch and experience of an intimate real time relationship with God.

A great example of the difference between these two approaches is seen in the life of a man in the Old Testament called Job. At the beginning of his story we see someone that on the surface their behavior appears to suggest that they know and understand God. Yet his response when everything goes against what is important to him, as it always is with most of us, we see him confessing that what he had pretended to know and had influenced his behavior was nothing more than a collection of rumors he had heard from others about God. Yet it is only when the true nature of this apparent database about God is exposed through adverse circumstances, that Job is finally able to hear and see the God he had collected so much information about.

I wonder today how much of our relationship with God is based on what others say and write and how much of it comes because we have seen and heard directly from the King?

Yeshua came to open the way that we may be able to understand and relate and not so that we could memorize and tell. Think about that one for a bit. Let it sink in deep within you as I believe it has the power to transform your walk, that for so many of us is often dry and dead like the magazine I read.

Finally consider - Suggesting that we know God because we know what the Bible says is the same as suggesting that we know the owner of a restaurant just because we know what is on the menu.


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