We're talking about faith this week, and if you haven't caught on by now, the phrasing of the titles of these posts should seem fairly familiar to you - they are the criticisms that God has waged against His people, and their idols, for centuries.
They have eyes to see, but they don't see. They have ears to hear, but they don't listen. They have a mind to know, but they don't seem to be catching on. (If your Christian spidey sense is tingling right now and you're thinking, "Wait a minute because..." hang tight. I'll hit you tomorrow.)
For now, we're talking about the minds that we have to know.
Faith is, at its core, not really an intellectual venture, but what we know about God certainly comes into play. In times of trial or trouble, it's helpful to be able to remind ourselves of who God is, who we know Him to be, who He says He is. Sometimes, that knowledge is the rope that we keep holding onto that keeps us from falling into a dark spiritual abyss. (And sometimes, it's the rope we hold onto while we're in that abyss.)
There are a lot of folk who like to say that you can't know God. That you need expert help in understanding God or knowing anything at all. There are those that say that what He seems to say isn't what He's actually saying at all - we're seeing this one a lot more in our current world. Persons who try to reinterpret the Bible according to some kind of new-found (gnostic) perspective and tell you that everything you even thought you knew was wrong.
Like when they try to tell you that Isaiah was written by three different authors across a bunch of different time spans.
All they really want is to raise enough doubts in your mind about your ability to understand God or to know anything about them that they get to step in as the authority and indoctrinate you into believing whatever they believe, whatever suits the ultimate purpose they have in teaching the way that they do. Often, this is some pet project they have - "social justice" is a big one right now. Often, these teachings do not correct the Word of God; they diminish it.
But if you protest that you think it's simpler than all that, they'll tell you that you're wrong and that that is exactly the problem with your faith. With the faith. With the church. Whatever, until they get you to listen to them and accept their "authority" unquestioned.
If you've been around here for very long at all (this blog, I mean), you know that I don't buy into that. I don't believe that the God who knit you together in your mother's womb and knows every hair on your head would make you incapable of understanding Him on your own. I don't think that's the way He works.
He says in His Word that if all of the people of the earth fell silent, the rocks would cry out in worship. Rocks. Brainless, thoughtless, mindless rocks (so far as we know). And they understand the glory and the goodness of God? Then, of course we can understand it, too.
That's what our brains are for. That's what our minds are for. He tells us plainly to love the Lord with all our minds...because He's given us minds for exactly this - to know, to worship, to love. So this is another essential element of our faith.