Understanding “Understanding”

jigsaw-piece-understanding-signMaybe it’s me, but it seems that our society is growing in its arrogance – if that’s possible.

I’m no photographer, but I enjoy nature and people photography. At the top of Trail Ridge Road in the Rocky Mountain National Park, I found myself standing next to a woman with a monster lens, the kind that NatGeo photogs use. I felt unworthy standing next to her with my 70 – 300 zoom lens. I said, “Now that’s a lens!” She rolled her eyes. Not worthy.

Later that afternoon, I read Ps 49. The short story of the Psalm is this: regardless of life’s circumstances – rich or poor, white or black, blue or white collar, the most important thing about a man or woman is that they have “understanding.”

I wondered: what is the “understanding” God has in mind that distinguishes a person. If a poor man with understanding is better off than a rich man without it, what does that mean?

A quick search limited to just the Psalms revealed ten benefits to the one who has understanding God’s way. The one who values understanding . . .

  1. Discerns his errors (Ps 19:12). How crucial is that? How many people do you know who are completely ignorant of their condition before God? How many of them think that God loves and accepts them just because they are? They haven’t got a clue about why God would be angry with them at all. By the way, how often do you discern your own errors?
  2. Values the works of God, including his rewards (Ps 28:5).
  3. Receives God’s instructions and counsel about how to live life to the fullest and most enjoyable (Ps 32:8-9). This one is important!
  4. Submits to God as the clay to the Potter (Ps 33:15). So it this one!
  5. Fears the Lord and hopes in his lovingkindness (Pss 33:18; 107:43). Ditto!
  6. Knows God’s eye is on him or her for good and refuses to be stubborn (Pss 33:17; 94:7). Help, anyone?
  7. Knows righteousness will triumph over evil and so patiently, prayerfully waits on God (Pss 37:10; 73:17; 96:6-8). Comforting!
  8. Walks in the light of Christ and hates the works of darkness (Ps 82:5).
  9. Is teachable, obedient (and prays for help) and meditates on God’s word (Ps 119:27, 34, 73, 95, 100, 104, 125, 130, 144, 169).
  10. Is known by God (139:2). Easily the best of the ten.

That day at nearly 12,000 feet above sea level, I learned that understanding is better than a NatGeo camera lens any day.

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