Least Among You – BT6
God opposes the pride of ‘wise and understanding ones’ but gives grace to the humble ‘leasts’
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In the last BLOG Topic we saw Isaiah 28:1-13 criticize the teachers of Christ’s time saying, “Ah, the proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim.” We also saw that “God opposes (a) the proud, but gives unconditional-favor-of-grace to the lowly humble (b)” (c). God’s restored “Plan A” from Exodos 20:18-21 of direct communication bypasses favoring the “wise and understanding” and gives complete equal and impartial access to “the least among you” by “un-hiding or revealing the secrets of the kingdom to even little children and keeping them hidden from the wise and learned.” Isn’t that what you want? <Notes> a) stands firmly against, b) the lowly who are teachable, c) 1 Peter 5:5 and James 4:6 citing Proverbs 3:34.
The “learned” Jewish bible scholars and Greek debaters have plenty of gnosis head-knowledge, but Paul says it only “puffs your head up with conceit” (a) and that these people are “puffed up with conceit and actually understanding nothing” (b). However, this gnosis head-knowledge is worthless compared to genuinely, experientially, relationally epiginosko knowing the mystery of God that is Christ (c), which evidently the uneducated “least among you” have unfettered access to! Which kind of knowledge do you want? <Notes> a) 1 Corinthians 8:1, b) 1 Timothy 6:4, c) Colossians 2:2; 1 Corinthians 2:2; 2 Corinthians 4:6, 10:5; Philippians 3:8; Ephesians 3:19, 4:13, Titus 1:1; Philemon 1:6; 2 Peter 1:8; 2 Peter 2:20; 2 Peter 3:18; 1 John 5:20,
It’s very likely that this proud, conceited arrogance of trusting-relying-faith in our own “might and power” of Zechariah 4:6 is a major roadblock to coming to Jesus and coming into the presence of God through the Holy Spirit, and that’s why it really defiles a man (a). The “pride that God opposes or stands His ground on” keeps us from surrendering control to the Lord – it keeps us from “lifting up holy hands (b) to God when we pray” or in worship (c) as a little child would to a Father to say, “Daddy, pick me up and hold me in your arms. Having been saved in the Church of Christ, it took quite a while in 1985 in a Spirit-filled charismatic church to surrender my pride and control to the Lord in order to finally be free to raise my hands to God as godly people have always done, just as obedient creation (d). <Notes> a) Luke 1:51; 1 John 2:16; Mark 7:21-23; Romans 11:20; 2 Timothy 3:2; James 4:6, 16; 2 Corinthians 12:20; Galatians 5:26; Philippians 2:3; 1 Timothy 3:6, 6:4; 2 Timothy 3:4; Romans 11:18; 1 Corinthians 4:18-19, 13:4; 2 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:7, b) 1 Timothy 2:8; Hebrews 12:12; Luke 24:50; Leviticus 9:22; Psalms 28:2, 63:4, 119:48, 134:2, 141:2; Lamentations 2:19, 3:41, c) Nehemiah 8:6, d) Habakkuk 3:10.
Gnosis head-knowledge doesn’t require a relationship because it’s just factual information! However ginosko, epiginosko, and epignosis knowledge absolutely does by definition is experiential, relational knowledge that requires pistis or pisteuo trusting-relying-faith in order to develop such a relationship! Scholars are rich in gnosis but often poor in epignosis. Little children and the other uneducated are poor of gnosis but rich in epignosis.
Gnosis can be cramped into your head, but relational knowledge is grown little by little through relationship! This relationship knowledge is all progressive! It’s gained one bite and one meal at a time while having supper with the Lord. That’s why it’s called “walking by the Spirit” (a) and “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed from trusting-relying-faith to trusting-relying-faith (b), just as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by trusting-relying-faith” (c). Paul tells us how the will of God is known: “walking as children of light . . . routinely/habitually testing/examining to genuinely prove (d) what is pleasing to the Lord” (e). It’s not gained from reading the bible as an “owner’s manual” as I’ve heard it preached and that “everything we need to know about life is in this book!” That’s not what the NT says! Hebrews 5:14 says that “solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil” – see New Covenant Ways – BT16. Do you want “fast-food drive-thru” gnosis or many “solid-food meals” in fellowship with Christ? <Notes> a) Galatians 5:16, b) an idiom meaning one step of trusting-relying-faith to the other, c) Romans 1:17, d) dokimazo by examination to prove what is genuine, (e) Ephesians 5:10.
Paidion little children and nepiois infants, the blind, the mentally handicapped, and many other “least among you” may hardly be able to read the bible, let alone study, memorize, categorize, doctrinize, theologize, rationalize, or any other –ize to become so-called “wise and learned.” And even if a teacher does all this for them and “dumbs it down” for them, it’s absolutely unnecessary! God wants to teach His little children the way our little children learn from loving parents – by waiting, watching, and listening! Not by reading a manual! That’s why the Lord so often tells us we must be humble, lowly, teachable, and trusting like little children!
Educated adults may indeed have gnosis head-knowledge but the uneducated, little children, and other “least among you” can still have heart–knowledge, which is exactly the emphasis of the New Covenant! However, we have to be careful that we don’t try to separate the nous mind from the kardia heart like the Greeks did, because the Jews who the NT writers were, saw the mind and heart as the same part of the inner being (a). It’s cute to say “the longest yard for God is to get it from our heads into our hearts,” but that’s not entirely correct! Nevertheless, God promises that unlike the old covenant the New Covenant would be completely-different-in-kind: I shall actually put My torah/nomos law/instruction within them and/coupled I will write it on their hearts (b). Paul explains that Christians are NOW the “epistle letter [of gramma writings] of Christ . . . eggrapho written/inscribed absolutely in fact not with ink but instead by the means of [the] Spirit of the living God, absolutely in fact not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (c) – see Logos Word of God – BT20. God’s unconditional-love is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit (d). Jesus explains that the “good soil [people] are they who [upon] akouo hearing/listening to understand/know the logos gospel message [of His] hold onto it firmly in an honest and good heart and/thus bear fruit with endurance” (e). The ones healed by Jesus are those who “noeo conclusion-making understanding with their heart, not just those who see with their eyes or hear with their ears” (f), so Paul prays for Christian’s “eyes of their hearts to be enlightened (g) that they may eido mentally ‘see’ to perceive/know . . . the immeasurable greatness of His Spirit’s enabling-power” (h). No matter who we are, we are called to an akouo listening, eido ‘seeing’ heart/mind-knowledge that goes far deeper than gnosis bible head-information! <Notes> a) Luke 9:47 “reasoning/dialogue/debate of their hearts.” Proverbs 7:3 says to “write God’s commandments on the tablet of your heart.” Ezra 7:10 says he “set his heart to study the Law.” Psalms 119:1 says “In In my heart I have hidden Thy imrah, logion divine oracle/brief utterance so I would not sin against You.” Yet, Paul says in Romans 12:2 that we are “transformed by the ‘making again a completely-different-in-kind’ nous mind” and in Ephesians that this “renewing” occurs “within the Spirit of your nous minds.” But in 2 Corinthians 4:16 Paul says “our inner man is being renewed” and in Ephesians 3:16 says that’s the place where we can be “strengthened with dunamis enabling-power through His Spirit.” In Romans 7:22, Paul, as a Jewish-Christian, delights in God’s Law in his inner man” – see Identity, b) Jeremiah 31:33-34 cited in Hebrews 8:10 and 10:16, c) 2 Corinthians 3:3, d) Romans 5:5; John 17:26; 1 John 4:12, e) Luke 8:15, f) Matthew 13:15; John 12:40; Acts 28:27, g) photizo: “enlightened, God sharing His life, exposing and overcoming darkness like the ignorance caused by sin” like a lamp giving light in Luke 11:36, Jesus being our light John 1:9 and Revelation 18:1, Christ exposing our hearts on judgment day in 1 Corinthians 4:5, and Paul’s revelation of the gospel to the Gentiles in Ephesians 3:9, h) Ephesians 1:18-19, cf. Hebrews 6:4, 10:32.
As Christian musicians, do we really believe the “anointing of the Holy One” requires a certain IQ from someone to learn directly from God? Or do we believe that without a bible translated in their language, even if they don’t have a written language yet, that people can’t be “taught by God?” I used to support Wycliffe and other translators because I believed this! But native missionaries filled by the Spirit tell a different story! The Jesus Film with audio in their language will do just fine, too! What did the early Church do in all the countries of the Roman Empire? They didn’t all speak or read Greek! Tongues and other “demonstrations of the Spirit of God in signs & wonders” work great just as Mark 16:14-20 said they would! Thousands of Muslims are being visited by Christ and angels and flocking into the kingdom! Little children empowered by the Spirit in Africa are leading thousands to Christ!
As Christian musicians, do we really believe that God requires people to become “wise and understanding” in order to “learn Christ?” If we do, then how are Christians under the New Covenant any different than Jews under the old covenant when it comes to the way we learn to know God? How is your ministry different from the Jews? If the gramma sacred writings never got the Jews anywhere but lost, even killing all their prophets and then their Messiah, do we think we will produce different results still “supposing that in the scriptures that we diligently search/study we will take hold of genuine, everlasting life?” Will we escape the prideful conceit of the biblical scholars? Do we want God to stand against our pride or give us grace as with little children, who don’t have gnosis head-knowledge but instead have a progressive, relational epignosis heart-knowledge. It behooves us to examine more deeply in the next BLOG Topics how to be more like little children in “knowing the Lord” directly!