September is upon us and minds turn back to learning. Whether one has chosen homeschool, private school, public school, or is embarking upon higher education through college or trade school, it’s vital that we come to a realization that we are putting our trust in those whom we look to for our education.
I’d like to take this opportunity to remind adults who have already graduated from the realm of “school days” that they are putting their trust and faith in those they turn to for their own “continuing education.” Such education isn’t relegated to the “3 Rs” of reading, writing, and arithmetic; it includes where we gather our information regarding world/national news, all things COVID, and other “scientific facts.”
The point is this, wherever we send our children – or ourselves – for learning is where we are putting our trust. Holiness writer of old, Samuel Chadwick, observes simply and correctly:
“We know because we trust – Even our knowledge rests upon faith. There is no knowledge without trust. Before we can learn we have to trust our teachers. We must accept from them what we have no power to prove. And when we have come to the full strength of our reasoning powers, we find that all knowledge rests upon certain fundamental trust, which no man can prove. The assumptions of Science and Philosophy are quite as great as the beliefs of religion. The things most assured begin by demanding our faith. The foundation of things demonstrated is in things not proven. Faith is the key to knowledge.”
Therefore, we must take great care in where we put our educational trust. God’s Word reminds us that “the fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Lest we think this has little to do with “real” education, let’s remember the greatest truth we are to learn, hold as treasure, and obey: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” (Deut. 6:4-5)
We must take great care to not read this as though we’ve heard it a thousand times. Its truth and our faith in that truth is meant to keep us fresh and vital. It’s meant to protect us and prepare us for both this world and the next. All other education is secondary to this lesson and must not run contrary to it or we and our children will lack wisdom, knowledge, and the fear of the LORD.
This truth has such importance attached to our lives that parents are given the divine obligation and mandate to not only have it “in thine heart,” but to “teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” (Deut. 6: 6-7)
This lesson for all of life is so important that it isn’t left to simple, though constant, verbal instruction. In the following two verses, God instructs us to keep this truth attached to our person and our dwellings, including the gate. We are to be constantly reminded (and be a habitual reminder to others) that there is ONE God and we are to love Him with EVERYTHING that we are.
With such a foundational and life-directing command, it is no surprise that it extends well beyond the school walls; we must recognize that loving God with all that we are is to be the boundary for all of life. Samuel Chadwick continues by pointing out that all our activities and relationships are based on faith.
“All our activities proceed upon a basis of faith. Commercial life could not live for an hour apart from trust. Destroy confidence, and trade is impossible. We buy and sell by faith. And who can tell how large a part trust plays in our domestic and social life! All friendships are held by trust. Every home is built upon trust. Where there is no trust there is no home. Suspicion, jealousy, distrust, and these things turn homes into places of agony and torment. Hell is a place where there is no faith. That is the secret of its despair.”
Our faith that “The LORD our God is one LORD:” and that we are to love Him with all that we are begins with belief. The Apostle’s Creed begins with “I believe.” Salvation begins with “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” To please God and come to him we must “Believe that He is.” Belief is more than mental ascent or acknowledgement; it’s an action word that’s tied to faith and trust.
“But if faith is the key to knowledge, knowledge is the essential faith. This paradox is not a contradiction. There is no knowledge without faith, and there is no faith without knowledge. Faith is an intelligent grace, not an ignorant assumption. Ignorant trust is superstition. Credulity is a very different thing from confidence. Devout ignorance is as disastrous as willful wickedness.” (S. Chadwick)
Better to test our faith before it is desperately tested. This is not to instill doubt but to grow true. “Consider your ways,” Habakkuk tells us. When we consider that our very salvation is contingent on truly knowing God – “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:3) – we should be compelled to ask, “Why do I believe what I do?” and be sure that our children understand too. How do we fulfill such a solemn task? We know and learn through hearing the Gospel, reading the Word, true prayer, and continuing to walk in obedience from love.
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