Are You Ignorant?

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…
—Hosea 4:6

It’s an inaccurate cliché—ignorance is bliss. Hosea specifically states that a lack of knowledge can actually destroy you. Ignorance is a blessing blocker. And even though they are often used interchangeably, ignorance and stupidity are not synonyms. Stupidity means lacking in intelligence, foolish or idiotic.

In contrast, ignorance is the state of being uninformed, uneducated or unaware—without knowledge. It’s like the difference between a restroom and a bathroom. They have some similar traits, but they are not the same. A person can actually act in ignorance and stupidity simultaneously. The trust be told, most stupid people aren't ignorant at all (that’s another article). But what you don’t know can hurt you, leave you in financial ruins and cause you to miss out on God’s best for your life.

If you've been walking in a state of ignorance, you are vulnerable. A lack of knowledge causes you to be easily led astray. And, ignorance doesn't give you a free pass. Let me give you an example. Being ignorant of the law is no excuse for breaking it. If you are pulled over and given a citation for driving 40 mph in a 30 mph zone, you can’t use the excuse that you didn't know what the speed limit was to evade the ticket. It’s similar to saying, “Lord I didn't know I was supposed to tithe. Can’t you just bless my finances anyway?” No. Your ignorance had placed you under the curse.

The first place a Christian should go for knowledge is the Word of God. Solomon wrote in Proverbs 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” According to this verse, it’s the foolish (or stupid) person who despises wisdom, not the ignorant. Jesus said that the truth would set us free. And, Paul told Timothy, “Study to show thyself approved unto God….” Paul also started phrases this way on more than one occasion, “Brothers, I would not have you ignorant….” Our greatest weapon against the enemy is the Word of God in our mouths. We can not be ignorant where it is concerned. Jesus overcame the enemy with the Word (Matthew 4:3-12) and we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony (Revelation 12:11). But how can we, if we are ignorant of it?

Examples from the Word

I want to share some occasions in the Bible where people were ignorant of the Word. They were being blocked from receiving the blessings of God. Notice how they reacted, how they corrected it and the results of their actions.

Josiah was just a young boy when he became king (2 Kings 22). He had begun to make some repairs on the temple when the Book of the Law was found and read to him. When he became aware of all the ways they were not obeying God, he was immediately distraught.
When the king heard the words of the Book of the Law, he tore his robes. He gave these orders to Hilkiah the priest, Ahikam son of Shaphan, Acbor son of Micaiah, Shaphan the secretary and Asaiah the king's attendant: "Go and inquire of the LORD for me and for the people and for all Judah about what is written in this book that has been found. Great is the LORD's anger that burns against us because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book; they have not acted in accordance with all that is written there concerning us.”—2 Kings 22:11-13
The previous generation had been led astray, and now the people were walking in ignorance. Yes they were also being disobedient, but remember the traffic ticket example. Once Josiah inquired of the Lord, the report came to him that his life would be spared, and he would be buried in peace.

Nehemiah had a similar experience after rebuilding the wall in Jerusalem (Nehemiah 8). When the people heard the words from the Book of the Law, they wept. Their hearts and minds were being enlightened by the Word of God. They had been operating in ignorance, and it grieved them.
Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, "This day is sacred to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep." For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law. Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." The Levites calmed all the people, saying, "Be still, for this is a sacred day. Do not grieve."
—Nehemiah 8:9-11
After the celebration, the people repented and rededicated themselves to the Lord. Study the final chapters of Nehemiah. It is a great example of what should be done when someone comes out of ignorance into knowledge.

And finally, the prison guard in Acts 16. I love this story! Paul and Silas were in chains in prison praying and praising God! They weren't in the today’s version of the United States Federal Penitentiary either. This was a scene I’m sure none of us would want to find ourselves in—and they were praising God! As a result (and because of the Blessing of the Lord on their lives), the entire prison was shaken and everyone’s shackles were loosed! Hallelujah!
And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?—Acts 16:27-30
This ignorant prison guard came into the knowledge of the Living God. What did he do next? Read the rest of the account. He gathered his entire household to be saved and baptized. He cleaned the wombs of Paul and Silas, fed them and rejoiced in God! If the man was stupid, after being freed from ignorance he would have completed his suicide or attempted to recapture the prisoners. There’s the difference.

Notice in each example the reactions of the people when they realized they were ignorant. They wept and repented. They chose God’s way and simultaneously chose His Blessing. You will never rise above the level of your knowledge. What you don’t know can block the Blessing of God from your life and destroy you. Don’t be ignorant and don’t be destroyed—get in the Word and get some knowledge today!

Be blessed friends, and have the perfect day everyday!

—Shon Stevens is a writer and professional fitness instructor. Shon lives in Texas with her husband and two children.

Psalm 138:8
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