“Then Jehoahaz sought the LORD’s favor, and the LORD listened to him, for he saw how severely the king of Aram was oppressing Israel.” 2 Kings 13:4
“A little knowledge is a dangerous thing,” wrote Alexander Pope. Indeed we have some knowledge about a lot of things, but compared to what needs to be known, what we know is, in fact, very little. Even so, we all try to draw a definite conclusion based on the knowledge we possess, and act upon it as if it were the truth.
The crux of the matter is that we know either too much or too little of certain things at the same time. I guess we are still haunted by the curse of Adam’s sin - “you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die." Our knowledge or lack thereof both lead to death.
Knowledge indeed enlightens and illuminates, but it also darkens and misleads. It puffs us up so much that we believe what little bit we know about reality is all there is to know, causing us to mistake something partial as a whole, something partially real as reality itself.
A tsunami brewing somewhere causes us to think that there is a tsunami everywhere; an earthquake occurring at the corner of the world makes us believe that the entire earth is crumbling; and a famine happening in Africa causes to believe the entire population of the world is starving. We are indeed seeing reality dimly, as Paul put it: “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
May we never reach a general conclusion by arguing from specifics and mistake that the Lord is unloving and uncaring. In most cases, the Lord is still doing what he is supposed to do, sustaining and supporting each individual’s life in the entire world, and he will continue to do so for the years to come until the earth is no more.
What bothers us aren’t the norms, but the exceptions. If the Lord fails to come through for us one time, the numerous times he has done so don’t seem to matter anymore. The Lord is unmerciful and uncaring, we conclude. With the proliferation of mass media and internet connections, we are bombarded with news, and what make the news are the exceptions. This information and knowledge that we routinely receive make us more and more knowledgeable and ignorant at the same time. Do these lines by Eliot from Choruses of the Rock speak to you at all?
“All of our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance,
All our ignorance brings us closer to death,
But nearness to death, no nearer to God.”
“Then Jehoahaz sought the LORD’s favor, and the LORD listened to him, for he saw how severely the king of Aram was oppressing Israel.” From your viewpoint, was this deliverance the norm or the exception? Does the Lord listen to our cry for help all the time, or just some of the time?