As I pursued an engineering degree understanding basic concepts was an essential part of the program of study. An example I’ve used often is my failure to apply myself as a freshman to calculus and differential equations; I made grades well enough to pass the courses (usually) but didn’t get the deep understanding of the principals because I THOUGHT THE INFORMATION WAS OF NO VALUE TO MY FUTURE. It’s true- I don’t need to understand calculus to balance my checkbook but the people who designed the course of study in the engineering program knew I would need this information in future classes like dynamics, linear circuits analysis, thermodynamics, statics… When I got to those classes later in the program I understood the problems I was trying to solve, but couldn’t do the math to solve them; so I really struggled in important classes because of my lack of discipline and foresight.
As we read and study the Bible we will encounter the same issue. And we must be very careful about depending on our perceptions; our “wisdom and understanding”. Some examples: Why would the Israelites rebel so long after they had seen God’s miraculous delivery from slavery? Why would Jonah believe he could run away from God? Why would David, a man after “God’s own heart”, be instructed by God to kill so many people and why would he commit adultery with Bathsheba? Why would God instruct His prophet Hosea to marry a prostitute and have a family with her; and why would He instruct Hosea to pursue her after she ran off with other men?
I think we’re wired with a desire to understand what is going to happen down the road in our lives. We want to know and understand why bad things happen to good people. However, “’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” Is 55: 8-9. We have to accept that understanding is beyond our capability; we do not have the mental capacity to understand, nor do we have the knowledge of the future to comprehend God’s ways.
We turn then to trust. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” (Prov. 3: 5-6). Most of us learned these verses as kids, but how well did we absorb the concept of do NOT depend on your own understanding? In Matt 13: 14-15 Jesus Himself said, “ In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving, they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.”
Because of God’s infinite wisdom, knowledge, and foresight into the future, our job is to trust Him and know that whatever He is doing in our lives at this time is for our benefit because He loves us and wants what is best for us overall. We often trade momentary happiness and joy for future benefits and rewards as God prepares us for those times. Our job then is to “Trust and Obey” as the old hymn says
“When we walk with the Lord in the light of his word,
what a glory he sheds on our way!
When we do his good will, he abides with us still,
and with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”
Sure, we may never understand God’s commands and instructions for our lives and we may not even like what He has to say about what is right and what is wrong; but the Creator also makes the rules for the created and our job is not to understand or like it. Our job is to Trust and Obey.