Evildoers do not understand what is right,
but those who seek the Lord understand it fully.
Which came first, the head or the heart? Or which has more say, head or heart? You might ‘think’ or ‘feel’ yourself to go with your head or heart more. The reality is that none of us use our head or heart alone. We use both. There are no pure facts. What we know is based on what we love. In other words, our understanding is linked to what we love, what we seek. What happens in life is that what we love will determine what we understand. It’s not enough to just know the right thing/way on its own – the bare facts as you might say. Understanding relates to what we love, what we seek.
If understanding comes from what we love, then the path to understanding is an indirect pathway. It’s not that we seek understanding and find it. Instead, we seek God and get, or get given, understanding. Understanding comes as a result or as a gift as we seek the God who does the know the right fully.
The implication that I take away from this proverb is that my understanding is dependent on God’s Word for direction. But I don’t go to God’s Word looking for understanding, on its own. I need to go to God’s Word in search of him and in that seeking him, I’ll receive understanding from him.1
- I do want to address the elephant in the room. The Proverb could be taken as meaning only Christians get knowledge and that everyone else doesn’t. I don’t take it that way. Firstly, Christians knowledge will be faulty in this present age, because of sin. No-one will understand the ‘good’ fully until Jesus returns. Secondly, there is understanding for those who don’t seek God or for those who seek a different God. But it too is always provisional. What’s the difference then if both Christians and non-Christians can’t know fully? I see it as, God’s Word provides the foundation for us to know fully. It provides the standard that I check my own understanding against. God’s Word constantly reforms my knowing as I seek God. ↩