Your little believing children have more understanding than the most learned of the unbelieving philosophers and professors, scientists and educators.
We have the Word of God as the basis for this truth. For the psalmist, a believing child of God, declares, “I have more understanding than all my teachers: for Thy testimonies are my meditation.” Psalm 119:99. And as we pointed out last time, he is speaking here of unbelieving teachers who are enemies, for they do not meditate in God’s testimonies, nor keep His precepts.
In considering this wisdom, wherein even our little children excel, we may, first of all, retain that word, “more.” It is quite proper to translate it that way. The unbeliever has certain natural knowledge and understanding. The believer has an added knowledge and understanding. Because of his world-and-life view the believer does not always search the areas that the unbeliever will explore. He, the believer, has his affections set on the things above and seeks the things where Christ is seated at God’s right hand. The unbeliever, however, has nothing but this life and this earth. He has only its gold and silver, houses and land; and he has these for such a short time. He, therefore, must try to get as much out of them as he can and strive in as many ways as he possibly can to squeeze out of them a few fleeting and deceiving pleasures. He will, then, explore all creation with a vehemence not known to the Christian and with a sense of desperation from which the believer is free.
Nevertheless, the believer, because He knows and loves God and knows himself as God’s royal priesthood and steward, will seek to serve God with all this earthly creation, and will learn many truths. He will not close his ears either to the facts of creation which the unbeliever may have discovered. The psalmist of our text quoted above did not cast from him all that which his unbelieving teachers had shown him. And we do not shut our ears to the reports of the ungodly about their achievements and discoveries. We listen carefully and analyze the knowledge of outer space that is reported even by a man who will in his report blaspheme God and say he did not find God out there in outer space, and who then concluded that there is no God.
But we have an added, spiritual, knowledge and understanding that controls us in our evaluation and interpretation of what the unbeliever reports and knows. And that is what the psalmist means, for that is what we obtain out of God’s testimonies. The Netherlands Confession very beautifully sets forth the truth of our knowledge of God in its second article when it states that we know Him by two means: “First by the creation, preservation and government of the universe; which is before our eyes as a most elegant book, wherein all creatures, great and small, are as so many characters leading us to contemplate the invisible things of God, namely His power and divinity, as the apostle Paul saith, Romans 1:20. All which things are sufficient to convince all men, and leave them without excuse. Secondly, He makes Himself more clearly and fully known to us by His holy and divine Word, that is to say, as far as is necessary for us to know in this life, to His glory and our salvation.”
In that sense also we can understand the words of the psalmist that he has more understanding than his teachers. They had only the elegant book of the creation and preservation of God. This is enough to leave them without excuse in the day of days. But the believer has also the Holy Scriptures as an added revelation of God which causes him to understand what He sees of God in creation and enables him to believe in this God and to glorify Him.
And yet we have not said enough when we say that the believer has more understanding, or an added understanding. For what the unbeliever has is actually misunderstanding. And we ought to translate the text to read, “I, rather than my teachers, have understanding; for Thy testimonies are my meditation.” Or, if you will, “I and not my teachers have understanding; for Thy testimonies are my meditation.” O, that God’s people would only recognize that fact and not swallow everything that comes from the ungodly, unbelieving scientist! They may know something. They may know about matters that we do not know. They can teach us many facts about which we have no knowledge. But they do not understand the facts that they know. They have not wisdom and understanding. They are fools and nothing less than that! The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; and what a fool that man is who denies this fact! He does not even understand his own folly.
Quite often in Scripture the word translated as “more” ought to be translated as “rather.” We have a classic example of this in Hebrews 11:4. Abel did not offer up to God a more excellent sacrifice. Cain’s sacrifice was not pleasing to God at all. It was as Solomon says in Proverbs 15:8 “an abomination to the Lord; but the prayer of the upright is His delight.” There is nothing pleasing in the sacrifice of the wicked. It does not contain something excellent or even approach that which is excellent. But, Abel rather than Cain brought a sacrifice that was acceptable to God, because Abel came in faith. Turning back now to Hebrews 9:14 we have the same idea so that we ought to read, “How much rather (not more) shall the blood of Christ, Who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” In the preceding verse the author had stated that the blood of bulls and goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkled the unclean and sanctified them to the purifying of the flesh. Now we know that the blood of these did not in any way save us and could never be the basis for our confidence of salvation. But rather did the blood of Christ do all this. The statement of Paul in II Timothy 3:2ought to read, “Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” Ye cannot serve God and mammon. It is either God or mammon. And it is a case of loving God or the pleasures of the flesh. And so it is a case of having the fear of the Lord and being wise; or it is a case of not having that fear of God and being a fool in spite of all the facts of which one may have knowledge.
Just consider one example of such folly. The devil knows more about the events of the life of Christ here on this earth than you and I. He can answer some of the problems that still perplex us. He knows, for example whether the genealogy listed inMatthew 1 is that of Mary or of Joseph, and whether the one of Luke 3 is again that of Mary or of Joseph. He had been watching the royal line of David for a long time and understood at least that much from prophecy, that here was where he would have to be keeping his eyes. He can explain just how matters went when Matthew states that Mary Magdalene came with the women to the grave on the first day of the week, and when he leaves the impression that she was also there when the angel appeared. While John presents Mary Magdalene as coming alone after running to tell Peter and John that Jesus’ body was stolen. The devil knows all the texts in the Word of God that stress the cardinal truths of Scripture, as well as what texts can be twisted and taken out of context to militate against these cardinal truths. He knows much; and in his deviltry he is wise. And yet place him next to your child who believes; and the devil is a big fool. And hell is the place of fools and for fools. All those who enter its portals will also acknowledge that they are fools. In Jesus’ parable of The Rich Man and Lazarus the rich man admits his folly and pleads for one to turn his brother from that way of folly. What will all the detailed knowledge and skills which our children might learn from the world of unbelievers, or from teachers who sit at the feet of the unbeliever and pass on their philosophies to these children, do for them in hell? How will it assure them of escape from that and point to them the way to God’s kingdom?
As we stated a moment ago, the unbeliever has misunderstanding rather than understanding. He has folly instead of wisdom, even though he may have a head full of truthful fact. And teachers with misunderstanding of their subject can only mislead those whom they teach. Shall the blind lead the blind? Jesus asks. Shall the fool make your children wise? Shall those who do not understand life and their calling here below impart to your children a true understanding of these important matters?
And understand it well then yourself, that Christian instruction for our youth is not a little Bible explanation and memorization. It is not a few or even many lessons in the doctrines of the Church as they apply to our salvation. We come to this next time, the Lord willing, but meditating in God’s testimonies is far more than tracing the salvation that God has wrought for us in Christ. This is essential; and this the Church will strive to teach until the unbelievers in their folly will establish their kingdom of opposition to Christ and forbid that we preach and teach the Christ of the Scriptures. The day will soon be here when we may only preach the Antichrist, as the modernist church does, and as the merged factions, who throw away the truth to be big, are striving to realize in their own circles. But in the school where the child is taught the matters of his earthly life, he must be taught all things in the light of and by the light of those testimonies of God.
If we have no understanding of the matter, we are going to let the State pay us or our teachers for giving instruction in history, mathematics, science and the like apart from God’s testimonies; and we are exactly going to mislead our children into misunderstanding rather than into wisdom and understanding. It is to be understood that the unbeliever thinks that you can teach these apart from the Word; and therein he only makes it plain that although he knows fact, he has no understanding and wisdom. But an honest meditation in God’s testimonies will soon make plain to us that this is folly and that our little children with the fear of God in their hearts have a wisdom that excels that natural wisdom and knowledge of the world.
Well, once again, it is a matter of a few weeks and your children will have to be enrolled or will return to school. What will it be this time? Will their teachers be those who do not understand the principles of wisdom, or will they be those who meditate in God’s law? We seek always as far as natural things are concerned to seek that which excels. The inferior we pass by and reject. Why not do this with the matter of the spiritual instruction of your children? It is In His Fear to seek the fear of the Lord for them. It is folly to deny them this privilege when it is within reach.